Line-up announced for Hay Festival Scribblers Tour 2023

Hay Festival brings five exceptional Young Adult (YA) writers direct to thousands of Year 7-10 school pupils across Wales next year with the free Scribblers Tour, 6-10 February and 13-17 February.

Now in its twelfth year, Hay Festival’s Scribblers Tour aims to engage and encourage the next generation in storytelling and conversation, inspiring empathy and creativity.

Compèred by YA novelist Jenny Valentine, sessions for Year 7-8 pupils will feature interactive activities with novelist Maz Evans and prize-winning poet Matt Goodfellow, while sessions for Year 9-10 pupils will feature sci-fi writer Femi Fadugba and New York Times bestselling author Caroline O'Donoghue.

Events will be hosted at five Welsh universities – University of South Wales, Swansea University, Aberystwyth University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Glyndwr University – offering pupils a chance to visit their nearest university and experience a taste of life on campus.

In addition, on Friday 17 February a special Hay Festival Scribblers Tour event will take place for adult learners at University of South Wales with programming details to be announced soon.

Julie Finch, Hay Festival CEO, said: “Hay Festival Scribblers Tour gives thousands of young people a chance to meet their writing heroes and get creative, bringing the Hay Festival experience direct to them. These free Festival days bring together partner universities, Hay Festival’s creative network and young people, to embark on an imaginative journey sharing stories through the power of writing, reading and listening, developing dialogue and celebrating talent, both established and new. We’re delighted to welcome this inspiring line-up of writers to our 2023 programme. Jenny Valentine, Maz Evans, Matt Goodfellow, Femi Fadugba and Caroline O'Donoghue make for a bold new team to guide pupils on their creative journeys.”

Hay Festival Scribblers Tour and Scribblers Cymraeg are funded by the Welsh Government and are part of Hay Festival’s wider outreach and education work that includes the free Programme for Schools, Hay Academy and the Beacons Project in the UK, and Hay Joven, Hay Communitario and Hay Festivalito internationally.

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “It’s great to see Hay Festival Scribblers Tour inspiring pupils with workshops by writers and poets, and offering them an opportunity to visit local universities. I hope to see lots of young people getting involved and discovering a passion for storytelling, reading and writing.”

Hay Festival is one of the world’s leading literary charities, running Festivals to inspire, examine and entertain globally, featuring Nobel Prizewinners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians, environmentalists and musicians. Over the past year, the Festival earned 1.5 million web visits and passed one million event views online, while its social media following climbed to 328,000, making it one of the most impactful literary events in the world.

For more information visit And to support Hay Festival’s continued work to reach new audiences, become a Hay Festival Friend, Patron or Benefactor today at

About the speakers

Jenny Valentine is an award-winning writer for Young Adults. Her first novel Finding Violet Park won the Guardian prize in 2007 and since then she has written many books, including Broken Soup and Fire Colour One, as well as young fiction series Iggy and Me. Her work has been published in 19 countries. In 2017 she was the Hay Festival International Fellow, spending the year meeting and learning from teenagers all over the world. She lives in Hay-on-Wye.

Maz Evans is an author, scriptwriter, playwright, journalist, lyricist and poet. She is the author of the bestselling Who Let the Gods Out?, VI Spy and The Explodling Life of Scarlett Fife, which have collectively sold to 22 countries worldwide and received over 20 award nominations, including the Carnegie Medal, Branford Boase, Books Are My Bag, Waterstone’s Children’s Book of the Year and Indie Children’s Book of the Year. She brings her children's creative writing workshop, Story Stew, to schools all over the UK.

Matt Goodfellow, from Manchester, spends his time writing and touring the UK and beyond – visiting schools, libraries and festivals to deliver high-energy, inspirational poetry performances and workshops. Before embarking on his poetry career, Matt spent over 10 years as a primary school teacher. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, and his book Bright Bursts of Colour won the North Somerset Teacher’s Book Award and was shortlisted for the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award).

Femi Fadugba is a physicist-turned-novelist who was born in Togo and gained a Master's degree from Oxford University in Quantum Physics. He started to write in order to communicate scientific ideas and theories through fiction rather than academia.His debut novel The Upper World is to become a Netflix movie. He lives between London and Baltimore, USA.

Caroline O’Donoghue is an Irish author, journalist and host of the award-winning podcast Sentimental Garbage. She has contributed to Grazia, The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Buzzfeed, Vice and The Times. On publication of her first novel, Promising Young Women, in 2018 she was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards’ Newcomer of the Year and the Kate O’Brien Award. Her next adult novel, Scenes of a Graphic Nature, was published by Virago in 2020, and the paperback edition was chosen as the Waterstones Irish Book of the Month in July 2021. Caroline’s YA debut, All Our Hidden Gifts, was published by Walker in May 2021, with the sequel, The Gifts That Bind Us, following in 2022.

Explore the full schedule of free workshops here.