An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal has been awarded to Hay Festival international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche by HM The Queen. Announced at the opening of Hay Festival Arequipa in Peru (7-10 November), the medal was given in recognition of her services to education and culture in Latin America.
Since her appointment as international director in 2005, Fuentes La Roche has organised over 100 editions across five continents, and directed a series of projects promoting emerging talent from around the world, organising significant anthologies of new work by international writers: Bogota39 in 2007 and 2017/18, Beirut39 in 2010, Africa39 in 2014, Aarhus39 in 2017, and the upcoming Hay Festival Europa28 in 2020.
A not-for-profit organisation founded in Wales, Hay Festival is one of the best-known literary brands in the world today. Over the next 12 months, Festival editions are planned in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and, for the first time, the UAE and Croatia. Each operates an extensive programme of regional outreach and education with a global audience of hundreds of thousands.
Fuentes La Roche said: "I am surprised and honoured to receive this award. Recognition for the work we do here and around the world is wonderful. The conversations we have at our events have never felt more vital."
Born in Madrid, Fuentes La Roche previously worked at Canning House – the House of Latin America in London promoting cultural understanding between the region and the UK – and was Director of National Events at Arts and Business for five years. She has a Bachelor of Business and Administration degree from the Autónoma University Madrid in Spain and a Masters degree in Cultural Management from Birkbeck College, London.