Together again! Hay Festival 2022 early-birds out now

Hay Festival has today announced 22 early-bird events for its 35th spring edition, taking place in person at a revamped Festival site 26 May-5 June 2022 in the booktown of Hay-on-Wye.

Offering a taster of a programme full of new perspectives on a changing world, early-bird events include Festival President Stephen Fry sharing the latest in his series of mythical retellings, Homecomings, economist Mariana Mazzucato on Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism, environmentalist George Monbiot with Regenesis: Feeding the World Without Devouring the Planet, public health specialist Devi Sridhar on Preventable: The Politics of Pandemics and How to Stop the Next One, and historian David Olusoga with the 2021 Raymond Williams Lecture: Is History Under Attack?

Novelists Caryl Lewis (Drift), Julian Barnes (Elizabeth Finch), Julian Clary and David Roberts (The Bolds Go Green) join the line-up to discuss their new work, while Deborah Levy talks her living autobiography series, and Bernardine Evaristo presents her Manifesto.

There are performances from the ‘first lady of folk’ Kate Rusby and comedians Simon Amstell and Reginald D. Hunter, along with a conversation with Jarvis Cocker on his memoir Good Pop, Bad Pop, while a new collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour sees a run of nine performances of Julius Caesar in a specially commissioned open-air theatre at the newly renovated Hay Castle.

Tickets are on sale now to Friends of Hay Festival at before they go on general release at noon on Thursday 2 December. The full Festival programme will be released in April 2022.

Hay Festival international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche said: “With the town still a-buzz from Hay Festival Winter Weekend, we’re delighted to share this preview of the treats to come at Hay Festival next May. Just in time for Christmas, here is a promise of spring and a spark of hope for the year ahead. We can’t wait to welcome see you again.”

Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas, bringing readers and writers together in sustainable events to inspire, examine and entertain over 11 days in Hay-on-Wye, in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Returning for its first in-person spring event since 2019, the Festival programme will feature more than 600 award-winning writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in conversations, performances and debates, while HAYDAYS events for families give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.
Events will take place at the main Festival site on Dairy Meadows, in St Mary’s Church, and in a new Festival theatre in the grounds of the restored Hay Castle. The main Festival site will be free to enter, with a range of pop-ups to explore, including the Festival Bookshop; HAYDAYS courtyard; Wild Garden; Make and Take Tent; a host of exhibitors, and market stalls, cafés and restaurants.

Two free Programme for Schools days open proceedings on Thursday 26 May (KS2) and Friday 27 May (KS3&4), blending live performance, workshops and storytelling in specially curated sessions, while a range of education initiatives – the Beacons Project, Hay Compass, Hay Academy, Hay Levels, free tickets for students in tertiary education, and Hay Festival Scribblers Tour – will engage thousands. 

Winners of the Hay Festival Medals 2022 will be celebrated on stage. Awarded annually since Britain’s Olympic year (2012), and crafted locally by silversmith Christopher Hamilton, the Hay Festival Medals draw inspiration from the original Olympic medal given for poetry. Past winners include Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, George Monbiot, John le Carré, Laura Marling and Ahdaf Soueif.

While the countdown to Hay Festival in Wales is just beginning, Festival events further afield are already in full swing. In January, Hay Festival Cartagena gets underway and in February, Hay Festival Scribblers Tour takes writers direct to schools across Wales in free events featuring YA star Jenny Valentine, novelist Kiran Millwood Hargrave, spoken word artist Steven Camden, actor, playwright, screenwriter and director Manjeet Mann and children’s author, performance poet and playwright Joseph Coelho.