Hay Festival marks 19 years in Colombia with programme to inspire hope

Hay Festival has announced its 19th programme in Colombia with events in Jericó (20-22 January), Medellín (23-24 January), and Cartagena de Indias (25-28 January) featuring 180 speakers from 25 countries ranging global literary stars, Nobel Prize-winners and internationally acclaimed performers.

The Festival will see writers and readers come together in-person and online to explore our changing world, while giving voice to some of the biggest issues of our time, including the global crisis in democracy, the future of the Amazon, and the ongoing tech revolution, while showcasing an array of award-winning fiction and non-fiction.

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 2024, kicking off a global calendar of 65 days of activity encompassing Panama, Mexico, Peru, Spain, the US [Ukraine?] 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 a regional media partnership with El Pais America, national media partnerships with RCN TV and Radio and El Tiempo, and an international collaboration with BBC Mundo.

Julie Finch, CEO of Hay Festival, said: “We begin 2024 with a programme packed with vision and hope for the future spanning Hay Festival Jericó, Hay Festival Medellín and Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. This broad spectrum of events offers new perspectives on the past, critical analysis of the present, and a space to dream about our collective future. With free workshops and conversations that will broaden participation and inclusion, Hay Festival continues to reach wider than ever before. Join us.”


Leading voices of world literature join acclaimed Colombian writers to share their new work in conversations with Javier Moro (Nos quieren muertos, about Venezuela), Julia Navarro (Una historia compartida), Eduardo Romero García, Irene Solà (Te di ojos y miraste las tinieblas); Gabi Martínez (Delta), Alana S Portero (La mala costumbre), Tabitha Lasley (Sea State),  Geoff Dyer (The Final Days of Roger Federer), In Koli Jean Bofane (Matemáticas congoleses), Benjamín Labatut (The Maniac), Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Las niñas del naranjel), Hisham Matar (My Friends); André Aciman (Homo irrealis: Essays), Adania Shibli (Minor Detail) Giuliano da Empoli (El mago del Kremlin).

Acclaimed Colombian novelists illuminate contemporary Latin America in a series of discussions featuring Margarita Rosa de Francisco (Margarita va sola), Jorge Franco (El vacío en el que flotas), Gloria Susana Esquivel (Contradeseo), Gilmer Mesa (Aranjuez), Amalia Andrade (No sé cómo mostrar dónde me duele), Juan Gabriel Vásquez (La traducción del mundo), Erna von der Walde on 100 years of La vorágine, Héctor Abad Faciolince (Salvo mi corazón, todo está bien), Ricardo Silva (El libro del duelo),, Humberto de la Calle (La inverosímil muerte de Hércules Pretorius), Javier Ortiz Cassiani and Daniella Sánchez Russo.

Two new Hay Festival books will be launched: Verdades compartidas is a collaboration between Hay Festival and the International Center for Transitional Justice, published by Planeta, in which 10 authors reflect on the Colombian peace process, and Exploradores, soñadores y cazatesoros is a collaboration between the Santo Domingo Center of Excellence for Latin American Research (SDCELAR) of the British Museum and Hay Festival, in which six Latin American authors share short pieces exploring the complex, compelling and political stories of the acquisition of the collection.

Scientists, activists and historians join forces to explore some of the world’s biggest challenges, including doctor Arnoldo Kraus; indigenous rights activist Josefa Sánchez; environmentalists Brigitte Baptiste, Manuel Rodríguez Becerra and Jorge Comensal; Nobel Prize-winning chemist Venki Ramakrishnan; classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes; neuroscientist Anil Seth; historians Simon Sebag Montefiore and Alfonso Múnera Cavadía; anthropologist Carl Henrik Langebaek; explorers Eliane Brum and Wade Davis; and architect Salvador Rueda. Meanwhile, Andrea Wulf and William Ospina discuss the legacy and impact of the 18th-century explorer Alexander von Humboldt in the Eccles Centre platform.

Philosophers and thought leaders offer space to tackle today’s complex questions, including essayist Rebecca Solnit; economists Mariana Mazzucato and Philip Blom; historian David Olusoga; podcaster Vanessa Rosales; philosophers Mauricio García Villegas and Dahlia de la Cerda; lawyer Philippe Sands; and comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax.

Leading journalists and politicans convene to explore global affairs, truth and the changing media landscape, including former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, Tina Brown; El Espectador columnist Laura Ardila; El Estornudofounder Carlos Manuel Álvarez; Los Danieles columnist Ana Bejarano; The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson and Patrick Radden Keefe; La Silla Vacía director Juanita León; Silvana Paternostro; World Policy Institute fellow Silvana Paternostro; former Secretary of State for Sports of Spain Irene Lozano; Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna Misha Glenny; Los Danieles columnists Daniel Samper Ospina and Daniel Samper Pizano; Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Moisés Naím; and CNN’s Alfredo Meza.

The role of cultural institutions in challenging global narratives is explored in conversations with curators Laura Osorio Sunnucks, Will Gompertz, Wanjiru Koinange and Angela Wachuka; author Velia Vidall and art historian Katy Hessel.

Hay Festival’s South to South conversations continue between writers, thinkers and cultural managers from the Global South, organised with support from Open Society Foundations and featuring festival founder Tsiti Dangarembga, essayist Pankaj Misra and writer Wanjiru Koinange. Meanwhile, the Lviv BookForum series of events continues to amplify Ukrainian writers globally as philosopher Volodymyr Yermolenko talks to historian Serhii Plokhy.

For younger book lovers, HAY FESTIVALITO and HAY COMMUNITARIO feature free workshops, talks and activities with writers and illustrators from around the world including Irene Vasco, Elisa Guerra, Juliana Muñoz Toro, Gerardo Meneses, Valentina Toro, Raúl Ballesteros, Jose Andrés Gómez, Rocío Bonilla, Álvaro Ortiz, and more.

And there is performance, music and entertainment with conversations and performances featuring musicians Kevin Johansen and Phil Manzanera; Julio Victoria and the Live Band; Tei Shi; Comfenalco Symphony Orchestra; pianist Teresita Gómez; and the Creole Group.