Hay Festival celebrates 18 years in Colombia with programme to inspire hope

More than 180 speakers and performers include Nobel Prize winners Serge Haroche, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Oleksandra Matviichuky , Maria Ressa and Joseph Stiglitz; novelists Bernardine Evaristo, Rachel Cusk, Andrei Kurkov, Leonardo Padura, Jean Baptiste del Amo, Parinoush Saniee, Giovanna Giordano, Dolores Redondo, Deborah Levy, Alia Trabucco, Lucía Lijtmaer, Laura Restrepo, Ricardo Silva, Carolina Sanín, Daniela Sánchez Russo, Margarita García Robayo and Lydia Cacho; journalists and thinkers Yayo Herrero, Santiago Beruete, Pablo D'Ors, Richard Firth-Godbehere, Oded Galor, Esther Paniagua, Ivan Krastev, Moises Naim, Carole Cadwallar, Dan Saladino; and more…

Hay Festival has announced its 18th programme in Colombia with events in Jericó (21–22 January), Medellín (24–25 January), and Cartagena de Indias (26–29 January) featuring 180 speakers from 21 countries ranging global literary stars, Nobel Prize winners and internationally acclaimed performers.

The Festival will see writers and readers come together live in-person and online to explore the ways Colombia has changed over the past 18 years, while giving voice to some of the biggest issues of our time, from the crisis in democracy, increasing inequalities, and the climate crisis to the role of culture in the spread of new ideas, while showcasing an array of award-winning fiction and non-fiction.

In-person tickets are on sale now at hayfestival.org/cartagena, where events can also be streamed free, live online, and on replay. Students also have free access to in-person tickets.

These are the first Hay Festival events of 2023, kicking off a global calendar of conversations that also encompasses Mexico, Peru, Spain, the US and the UK. HAY JOVEN for students, HAY FESTIVALITO for young people, and a series of events in communities across Latin America, in partnership with Plan International, ensure that events reach the broadest possible audiences, live and online.

Since its first year in 2006, Hay Festival Cartagena has welcomed more than half a million book lovers to the Festival. Attracting more than 50,000 people annually, the Festival enjoys wider cultural impact across Latin America thanks to regional media partnerships with RCN TV and Radio, El País, El Tiempo, Arcadia and an international collaboration with BBC Mundo. Last year’s hybrid edition reached more than one million people online.

Cristina Fuentes La Roche, director of Hay Festival, said: “We begin 2023 with Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, Hay Festival Jerico and Hay Festival Medellin in Colombia, offering an inspiring in-person programme of artists, thinkers and innovators. This broad programme of events offers new perspectives on our presents and bold ideas for our future, reaching outwards into communities with free workshops and conversations that will broaden participation and inclusion. Join us as we imagine the world anew together.”


Leading voices of world literature join acclaimed Colombian writers to share their new work in conversations with Nobel Prize for Literature-winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman Other), Rachel Cusk (Outline), Jean Baptiste del Amo (The Son of Man), Deborah Levy (Real Estate), Giovanna Giordano will present her novel (Un vuelo mágico), Leonardo Padura (Personas decentes), Dolores Redondo (Esperando al diluvio), Parinoush Saniee (Los que se van y los que se quedan) and Miguel Brieva, while the 2022/23 Cymrawd Rhyngwladol Hay Festival / Hay Festival International Fellow Hannan Issa continues to share her poetry on the global stage.

Acclaimed novelists illuminate contemporary Latin America in a series of panel discussions featuring Lydia Cacho, Brenda Navarro and Yasnaya Elena Aguilar, Alia Trabucco, Olga Montero Rose and Mariana Travacio, while Colombian writers Laura Restrepo, Ricardo Silva, Carolina Sanín, Juan Esteban Constaín, Andrés Felipe Solano, Paula Marcela Moreno and Margarita García Robayo present their latest work alongside debut writers Daniela Sánchez Russo and Teresita Goyeneche.

The latest ideas in science are showcased alongside issues around the global climate crisis in conversations with Dan Saladino (Eating to Extinction); Juan José Borrell and Moises Wasserman; eco feminist Yayo Herrero; philosopher Santiago Beruete; oceanographer Cristina Romera; and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Serge Haroche.

International affairs are drawn into focus while global society is reimagined in conversations with historian Richard Firth-Godbehere; anthropologist Catalina Cortés Severino; philosopher Laura Quintana; Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa; economist Oded Galor; educator Elisa Guerra; entrepreneur Jacqueline Novogratz; political scientist Iván Krastev; former IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno; analyst Farid Kahhat; and the Nobel Prize in Economics-winner Joseph Stiglitz.

Hay Festival’s global collaboration with Ukraine’s largest book festival Lviv BookForum continues with further events supported by Open Society Foundations including conversations with lawyer, activist and 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner Oleksandra Matviichuky; artist and writer Victoria Amelina; and the writer, novelist and essayist Andrei Kurkov, who will narrate in first person the terrible impact of the conflict.

Journalists behind some of the most shocking recent investigations share updates and reflections in discussions with tech reporter Esther Paniagua and The Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr; plus there are conversations with political commentator Moisés Naím, Óscar Martínez, Emma Graham Harrison, Jon Lee Anderson, Ronna Rísquez, Bruno Paes Manso and Patricia Nieto on the importance of free journalism to build the future and to support democracy.

More global Hay Festival projects are celebrated with the Baillie Gifford Big Platform of Ideas showcasing Oded Galor, while the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award platform shares a tribute to indigenous and local libraries.

For younger book lovers, HAY FESTIVALITO and HAY COMMUNITARIO feature free workshops, talks and activities with writers and illustrators from around the world including Carmen Alvarado, Indhira Serrano, María del Mar Ramón and more.

And there is performance, music and entertainment from Juan Esteban Aristizábal, Juanes, Andrea Echeverri, La Pacifican Power, Daniel Samper Pizano, Hugo Candelario González, and Bahía Trio, while award-winning director Laura Mora presents her new film, The Kings of the World.