Hay Festival 2022 closes after triumphant return

Hay Festival 2022 closed Sunday 5 June after a triumphant return with more than 500 in-person events over 11 days bringing readers and writers together in a programme to inspire, examine and entertain. 

This year’s event was the first in-person Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye since 2019 and launched the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around some of the biggest issues of our times alongside a vibrant programme of music, comedy and performance for all ages. 

Award-winning writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators took part from around the world, including in-person appearances from Hillary Rodham Clinton, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Stephen Fry, Nicola Sturgeon, Minnie Driver, Monica Ali, Jimmy Page, Damon Galgut, Ben Okri, Bernardine Evaristo, Bill Bailey, Bryn Terfel, Serhii Plokhy, Caryl Lewis, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Corinne Bailey Rae, Áine Ní Ghlinn, Alice Roberts, Amy Liptrot, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Cressida Cowell, David Baddiel, David Harewood, David Olusoga, David Spiegelhalter, Ed Balls, Edmund de Waal, Elif Shafak, Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, George Monbiot, Gillian Clarke, Ian Rankin, Inua Ellams, Jacqueline Wilson, Jay Blades, Jarvis Cocker, Jenny Packham, Joe Wicks, Julian Barnes, Lady Hale, Lemn Sissay, Lenny Henry, Lyse Doucet, Mariana Mazzucato, Mieko Kawakami, Oliver Bullough, PJ Harvey, Reginald D Hunter, Sheila Hancock, Simon Amstell, Zelda Perkins, and an all-star Letters Live cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Events took place at the main Dairy Meadows site, in St Mary’s Church in Hay and in a new Festival theatre in the grounds of the recently restored Hay Castle. 

Partnerships with Adult Learning Wales, Strong Young Minds, The National Literacy Trust, Head4Arts and The Family Place made this one of the most accessible Festival editions yet with targeted projects to attract harder-to-reach communities. The free Programme for Schools on Thursday 25 May and Friday 26 May attracted 20,717 attendances with thousands more live-streaming online. 

A selection of events were livestreamed to Online Festival pass holders, while free Festival highlights were shared by media partners including the BBC, Sky Arts and TikTok.

International Director of Hay Festival, Cristina Fuentes La Roche, said:

“This fortnight we made up for lost time. Together again, we connected over 11 days of debate, discussion, laughter and music with stories to inspire, to challenge and imagine the world anew. We were blessed with glorious sunshine and even warmer audiences as writers and thinkers took us far around the world, and deep within ourselves. Thank you, Haymakers, for a thought-provoking Festival of wonder and hope.”



1. ELIF SHAFAK The Island of Missing Trees

2. ELIZABETH BINGHAM AND MARY MORGAN Remarkable Churches near Hay-on-Wye

3. MARIANA MAZZUCATO Mission Economy


5. JESS PHILLIPS The Life of an MP

6. BILL BROWDER Freezing Order

7. JAY BLADES Making It

8. LAURA BATES Fix the System, Not the Women

9. DAVID HAREWOOD Maybe I Don't Belong Here

10. OLIVER BULLOUGH Butler to the World


1. FEMI FADUGBA The Upper World

2. JACQUELINE WILSON The Magic Faraway Tree: A New Adventure

3. YVETTE FIELDING The House in the Woods

4. CRESSIDA COWELL The Wizards of Once

5. DR RANJ Brain Power

6. JOE WICKS The Burpee Bears

7. NATASHA BOWEN The Skin of the Sea

8. MICHAEL MORPURGO When Fishes Flew

9. STEPHEN MANGAN AND ANITA MANGAN The Fart that Changed the World

10. LENNY HENRY The Boy with Wings

Hay Festival 2022 was supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford and Visit Wales. The free Programme for Schools and the Beacons Project were supported by the Welsh Government. 

Hay Festival 2023 will take place 25 May–4 June.