Hay Festival Winter Weekend returns with new Hay Castle venue

Hay Festival Winter Weekend is back to bring writers and readers together for a year-end wonderland of in-person events to inspire, examine and entertain, 24-27 November, in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

Now in its 23rd year, this year’s event will take place at the newly renovated Hay Castle where an eclectic mix of speakers and performers will offer conversations, candle-lit storytelling, comedy, music and family workshops. 

The full programme is scheduled for release on Tuesday 27 September with priority booking for Friends of Hay Festival. Visit hayfestival.org/winter-weekend for the latest details. 

More intimate than the spring edition, Hay Festival Winter Weekend sees the Welsh booktown’s independent shops, cafés and markets offer a warm welcome to Festivalgoers within the stunning surrounds of the Brecon Beacons. 

This year’s venues will include Hay Castle’s Great Hall and Clore Learning Space, in addition to St Mary’s Church. Meanwhile, events will be shared in audio form at hayfestival.org/hayplayer to embrace the Festival’s growing digital audience.

Speakers at the event over the years have included writers Bernardine Evaristo, Damon Galgut, Jeanette Winterson, Rose Tremain, Lee Child, Douglas Stuart, Robert Macfarlane, Siri Hustvedt, Chibundu Onuzo, Matt Haig and Horatio Clare; campaigners and journalists James O’Brien, Laurie Penny, Elizabeth Day, Bryony Gordon, Jonathan Freedland, David Olusoga, Katya Adler, Luke Harding, Oliver Bullough, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Helena Kennedy and Gina Miller; actors Miriam Margolyes and Emerald Fennell, musicians Elton John and Skin; scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock; comedians Dawn French, Matt Lucas and Shazia Mirza; broadcasters Fi Glover and Jane Garvey; and Hay Festival President Stephen Fry. 

Hay Festival international director Cristina Fuentes La Roche said: “We’re back at the change of season for Hay Festival Winter Weekend 2022, a Festival of joy and optimism to enthral curious minds of all ages. With a new home in the centre of Hay-on-Wye at the stunningly renovated Hay Castle, we’re putting together an ambitious programme to imagine the world anew and fill the closing days of 2022 with conversation, laughter and friends.” 

Novelist Jeanette Winterson said: “It’s the time of year we need some internal sunshine and that’s what this is. It’s a place where there’s light and there’s warmth and a lot of fun.” 

Once again, the Festival will draw on public nominations to crown the Hay Festival Book of the Year following past wins for Deborah Levy’s Real Estate in 2021, Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist in 2020, Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five in 2019, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s Inventing Ourselves in 2018 and Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane’s The Lost Words in 2017.

Hay Festival Winter Weekend is supported by lead sponsors Visit Wales and Baillie Gifford. 

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