Hay Festival unveils free schools events alongside Beacons Project 2022 and new student ticket offer

Hay Festival has today revealed the free Programme for Schools for this spring’s edition, bringing writers and young readers together in-person and online for a series of inspiring interactive activities and workshops, 26-27 May, ahead of the main programme 26 May-5 June 2022. 

Parents and teachers can explore the programme online now at hayfestival.org/schools with priority booking open now to all state schools in Wales.

KS2 events on Thursday 26 May see Wales Book of the Year 2021-winner Caryl Lewis introduce her new novel, Seed and Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell present Wizards and Magic. Anthony Horowitz discusses The Diamond Brother Detectives: Where Seagulls Dare; TV scientist Ben Garrod launches Extinct; Maz Evans offers VI Spy: Never Say Whatever Again; BBC Radio 4’s Rich Knight talks If I Ran the Country; Iszi Lawrence tells the stories of real-life heroic women in Billie Swift Takes Flight; engineer Roma Agrawal shares How Was That Built?; MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman launch the fifth book in their bestseller Adventures on Trains series, Sabotage on the Solar Express; Piers Torday discusses his prequel novel The Wild Before; Nadia Shireen introduces the weird and wonderful animals of Grimwood; and Elle McNicoll presents her magical fantasy Like a Charm.

KS3/4 events on Friday 27 May see Welsh poet and playwright Eric Ngalle Charles perform Homelands and Nigerian-Welsh writer Natasha Bowen offer her unforgettable love story infused with West African mythology, Skin of the Sea. Jacqueline Wilson discusses Baby Love; television’s first lady of the paranormal and presenter of Most Haunted Yvette Fielding talks The House in the Woods; novelist Alex Wheatle shares Kemosha of the Caribbean; Christine Pillainayagam debuts her hilarious novel, Ellie Pillai is Brown; Femi Fadugba presents his debut title, The Upper World; Louisa Reid shares the unique power of the verse novel with Wrecked/Gloves Off; Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates launches her new novel, The Trial; Jeffrey Boakye presents What is Masculinity? Why Does it Matter? And Other Big Questions; “Queen of Teen Thrillers” Sophie McKenzie talks Truth or Dare; and podcaster and author Alexis Caught offers Queer Up: An Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Life, and Mental Health.

For those who can’t access the free events in person, sessions will also be streamed free online, with closed captioning available in Welsh and English at hayfestival.org/schools, and available free after the event on Hay Player at hayfestival.org/hayplayer.

The last full in-person Programme for Schools at Hay Festival 2019 saw more than10,000 pupils attend from primary and secondary schools across England and Wales, while digital editions over the past two years have reached more than 160,000 pupils with free events online.

Alongside today’s announcement, the Festival has also opened applications to the Beacons Project, a free creative residency for budding Welsh writers aged 16-18, and unveiled a new 25% reduction in ticket prices for all those in further education. Full details can be found here.

Aine Venables, Hay Festival Education Manager, said: “Following two years of enormous challenges for young people in Wales and the wider UK, we’re delighted to be back offering in-person inspiration alongside a vibrant digital offer for 2022. With the return of our free Programme for Schools and Beacons Project alongside our new student ticket offer, we’re on our way to making this year’s Festival our most accessible and inclusive yet. Join us.”

Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas, bringing readers and writers together in sustainable events to inspire, examine and entertain in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Returning for its first in-person spring in two years, the Hay Festival 2022 programme will launch the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around some of the biggest issues of our times in a programme of conversations featuring more than 600 award-winning writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators.