Hay Festival Querétaro goes hybrid for sixth edition

Hay Festival has today announced the line-up for the sixth Hay Festival Querétaro in Mexico with more than 170 speakers from 19 countries set to take part, 1-5 September 2021, including Nobel laureates Svetlana Alexiévich, JM Le Clézio, Joseph Stiglitz and Esther Duflo; writers Muriel Barbery, Javier Cercas, Mónica Ojeda, Cristina Rivera Garza, Juan Villoro, David Grossman, Verónica Llaca, Amin Maalouf, Hervé Le Tellier, Pilar Quintana and María Dueñas; poet Mererid Hopwood; journalist Anne Applebaum; historian Margaret MacMillan; scientists Facundo Manes, Elizabeth Kolbert, Carla Santana Torres, and Avi Loeb; philosophers A.C. Grayling, Tamara Tenembaum and Edgar Morin; fillmmakers Diego Luna, Tamara Tenenbau and Ken Loach; pianist James Rhodes; and musicians Solovino, La Maganza, Saxodia, Armando Servín Jazz Quintet and La Rumorosa Blues.

Launching the very best new fiction and non-fiction, while tackling some of the biggest questions of our time, the programme blends Nobel laureates, award-winning writers and journalists, global policy makers and innovators in 87 activities live and online over five days. 

Explore the full programme, book tickets, and register for free streams at hayfestival.org/querétaro.

Physical events will allow readers and writers to connect again face-to-face within strict health and safety protocols, while the free digital streams ensure the Festival remains open and accessible to the widest possible audience globally.

Cristina Fuentes La Roche, Hay Festival international director, said: “This year’s Hay Festival Querétaro programme is a culmination of all we have learnt in this past year, pairing live face-to-face conversations with accessible, free, digital streams. This new hybrid format allows us once more to partner the very best international thinkers with the local talent of Querétaro and its neighbours, offering conversations, debates and performances that could happen nowhere else. Join us again, live or online, as we imagine the world.”


Rising stars of Mexican literature join with established names to launch their new fiction. Award-winning writer and columnist Javier Cercas presents Independencia; award-winning illustrator and cartoonist Paco Roca presents his latest graphic novel Los surcos del azarDaniela Tarazona talks Isla partidaElvira Valgañón presents her short story collection Línea de penumbraVerónica E. Llaca talks El llanto debajo del llanto; Ana Negri presents her literary debut, Los eufemismosÉlmer Mendoza talks Ella entró por la ventana del baño; Sabina Berman talks about her new novel, HDPPablo d’Ors and Mónica Nepote talk Into the Country of SilenceCristina Rivera Garza presents El invencible verano de LilianaRosa Beltrán talks Radicales libresJuan Villoro launches La tierra de la gran promesaAntonio Ortuño presents his most recent book, a collection of short stories entitled Esbirros; plus two special events with Granta Magazine celebrate the latest selection of rising literary stars in Spanish.

Critically acclaimed writers from around the world present new work and examine the power of literature in challenging times as Nobel laureate J.M.G. Le Clézio discusses his latest release, Chanson Bretonne; Booker Prize-winner David Grossman presents his new novel Life Plays With Me; Priz Goncourt-winner Amin Maalouf presents his latest novel Nos frères inattendusDavid Foenkinos launches his new novel DelicacyHervé Le Tellier presents his new novel L’Anomalie; writer and director Philippe Claudel presents his latest bestseller La petite fille de Monsieur LihnSantiago Roncagliolo talks Abril rojo; Muriel Barbery talks A Single RoseFernanda Melchor presents PáradaisMaría Dueñas talks SiraJuan Gabriel Vásquez talks Volver la vista atrásPilar Quintana talks Los abismos; and Welsh poet Mererid Hopwood continues her digital journey with the Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Cymru Greadigol Hay Festival/ Hay Festival Creative Wales International Fellowship.

Global affairs are drawn into focus in conversations with economists Joseph Stiglitz (Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy) and Nobel Prize-winner Esther Dulfo (Good Economics for Hard Times); Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich discusses her life in activism; journalist Anne Applebaum talks Twilight of DemocracyEl País presents a conversation with Colombian Truth Commissioner Francisco de Roux.

Mexico today is discussed by a panel comprised of Mixe linguist, writer and activist Yásnaya Elena Aguilar, the actor, director and activist Diego Luna, and the writer and journalist Antonio Ortuño; meanwhile, a special screening of the documentary La vocera, directed by Luciana Kaplan, focusses on the extraordinary story of María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, the first indigenous woman to run in Mexico’s election in 2017.

As the world counts down to COP26 in the UK this autumn, the climate crisis also takes centre-stage as historian Philip Blom talks Nature’s Mutiny and Was auf dem Spiel steht, tackling a previous period of climate change and what that meant for society; the Argentinian writer Pola Oloixarac joins French writer Patrick Deville to discuss their shared work of writing the Amazon rainforest; and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Kolbert asks what can be done to stop and repair the damage being caused by humans with her new book, Under a White Sky

Philosophers take stock of the world around us as A.C. Grayling discusses The Good StateCarissa Véliz talks Privacy is PowerTamara Tenembaum talks El fin del amor. Amar y coger en el siglo XXI, challenging our views of romantic love; Jean-Luc Nancy philosophizes Sexistence; and one hundred years since the birth of Edgar Morin, the great French philosopher joins the programme to introduce a conversation between two Latin American intellectuals, Juan Villoro and Nelson Vallejo Gómez on the relevance of his work today.

Experts share the latest ideas in STEM as astronomer Avi Loeb talks Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond; scientist Remedios Zafra presents her most recent publication, Frágiles. Cartas sobre la ansiedad y la esperanza en la nueva cultura, which explores the complex dynamics behind immaterial and creative work; Anne Boyer discusses her Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness; and Argentinian neurologist Facundo Manes discusses El cerebro del futuro¿Cambiará la vida moderna nuestra esencia?

History is reimagined as Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan discusses her latest release, War: How Conflict Shaped Us; the writer and translator Ilija Trojanow presents his history of Bulgaria, Macht und Widerstand; and film director Ken Loach joins Isabella Lorusso to discuss their collaboration, Fighting Women, a compilation of interviews of Spanish women who took part in the Civil War.

Talento Editorial, the Festival series offering the latest thinking from the book industry, features booksellers in Mexico and Spain on the effects of the pandemic on sales; independent publishers on how smaller publishers have fared; marketeers on promoting books in a pandemic; and leading e-book providers on the rise of digital.

Hay Joven, the Festival’s free annual events for university students, will take place digitally with sessions featuring conversations around global inequality and discrimination, along with workshops from BBC Mundo, artist Luz del Carmen Magaña on painting with perspective and Braulio Guerra Mendoza on writing short stories.

Hay Festivalito, the Festival’s strand of talks for young people, will also take place live and online with Argentinian cartoonist Liniers, radio presenter Tere Alcántara, writer and journalist Laura Castellanos, illustrator Brenda Castellanos, writer Ignacio García Servín, illustrator Sandra Serrano and writer and musician Juan Gedovius.

Evening concerts will keep the Festival’s party spirit alive with exclusive performances from Afro-funk and Latin stars Solovino, spoken word stars La Maganza, jazz from Saxodia; and the closing night concert with Armando Servín Jazz Quintet and La Rumorosa Blues; meanwhile pianist and writer James Rhodes discusses his memoir Instrumental, where he exposes the child abuse he suffered and praises the healing power of music; US jazz expert Ted Gioia joins Latin American music expert Julieta Venegas to discuss his new book, Music. A Subversive History; and Café Tacvba guitarist and writer Joselo Rangel talks about the links between music and literature.

Hay Festival Querétaro takes place with the support of principal sponsors La Alcaldía de Querétaro, regional sponsors and supporters SURA, AECID and AC/E; principal global partners the Welsh Government and Visit Wales; media partners BBC Mundo y El País; education and outreach partners Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and Universidad Autónoma de México; and supporters Embajada de Colombia, Istituto Italiano de cultura, Instituto Goethe, Embajada de los Estados Unidos de América, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Blue Metropoli and Cálamo. 

The Festival follows the recent hybrid edition in the UK, which saw 135 countries tune in, while further events are scheduled to take place around the world this autumn: Segovia, Spain (16-19 September 2021) and Arequipa, Peru (28 October-8 November 2021), and Hay Festival Winter Weekend returns to the heart of Hay-on-Wye live and online 24-28 November 2021.

Explore the full Hay Festival Querétaro programme and sign up for the free livestreams here.