Scribblers Tour 2023 reaches 5,000 pupils across Wales

Hay Festival Scribblers Tour closed on Friday 17 February after bringing five exceptional YA writers direct to more than 5,000 Year 7-10 school pupils across Wales.

Fifty-eight schools took part in the inspiring free, in-person events hosted at University of South Wales, Swansea University, Aberystwyth University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Wrexham Glyndwr University.

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, while offering pupils a chance to visit their nearest university and experience a taste of life on campus.

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

In addition, on Friday 17th a special Hay Festival Scribblers Tour event took place for adult learners at University of South Wales, led by award-winning novelist Caryl Lewis.

Julie Finch, Hay Festival CEO, said: “Hay Festival Scribblers Tour has given thousands of young people a chance to meet their writing heroes and get creative, bringing the Hay Festival experience direct to audiences all over Wales. These free Festival days brought 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 with the response. These projects are more important than ever.”

Dionne Rondel, KS2 teacher at Brynllywarch Hall School, said: “Yet again the Hay Festival Scribblers Tour was an inspiring and engaging event for the young people involved. For our learners at Brynllywarch, engaging in these events is vital. Not only does it give them an opportunity to engage with writers and authors, something they would never have previously shown interest in, but they also socialise with other young people and begin to understand that university is an option open to them.”

“Because of the Scribblers Tour we have seen our learners develop more pleasure in reading, feel that their input is valued and develop the confidence to share their thoughts, ideas and writing in front of hundreds of other learners, one of which upon joining us at Brynllywarch was a selective mute.”

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.

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