Hay Festival Cartagena 2019 programme released

Hay Festival has today announced the programme for Hay Festival Cartagena, 31 January-3 February 2019, with global literary stars, Nobel Prize-winners and internationally acclaimed performers leading a programme that encompasses 130 speakers in 150 events over four days.

Speakers and performers include: novelists and writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, Madeleine Thien, Yoko Tawada, Luna Miguel, Kim Thúy, Manuel Vilas, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Laura Restrepo, Álvaro Enrigue and Mircea Cartarescu; Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi; campaigners Bianca Jagger, Michael Pollan and Lydia Cacho; academic Sarah Churchwell; lawyer Philippe Sands; director general of the New York Times, Mark Thompson; physicist José Ignacio Latorre; sculptor Doris Salcedo; architect Amanda Levete; Doctors Without Borders co-founder Jean-Christophe Rufin; Colombian actor Manolo Cardona; and journalist Enrique Santos Calderón.

This will be the festival’s 14th year in Cartagena with writers and readers coming together to give voice to some of the biggest issues of our time; from climate change to migration, #MeToo to #FakeNews. Meanwhile, award-winning performers will keep the show going until late.

HAY JOVEN for students, HAY FESTIVALITO for young people, and a series of events in communities across Colombia, in partnership with Plan International, ensure events reach the broadest possible audiences.

Attracting more than 50,000 people, the festival enjoys wider cultural impact across Latin America thanks to local media partnerships with RCN TV and Radio, El Pais, El Tiempo, Arcadia and an international collaboration with BBC Mundo.

Two other editions in Colombia – Hay Festival Medellín (30 January-1 February) and the inaugural Hay Festival Jerico (25-26 January) – will run alongside the festival, with programmes to be announced later in the year.

Tickets go on general sale Friday 7 December 2018 at hayfestival.org/cartagena.

Cristina Fuentes La Roche, international director of Hay Festival, said: “Hay Festival Cartagena sets the tone for our most ambitious year yet with a programme led by some of the world’s greatest living storytellers. We’re taking on some of the biggest questions of our time and exploring new ways to meet the challenges ahead. It will be a party, too, with music and laughter. Since before Marquez and to the present, Cartagena is a city to dream in; join us.”


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reflects on the relationship between journalism and fiction, in a talk that centres itself in the planet’s South, moving from Gabriel García Márquez to today’s literary heroes.

Some of the world’s best contemporary writers talk about their latest works, including best-selling British novelist Zadie Smith (Feel Free); Akutagawa Award-winner Yoko Tawada (Memoirs of a Polar Bear); Fernando Ampuero (Mientras arden los sueños); Carolina Sanín (Somos luces abismales); Leonardo Padura (La transparencia del tiempo); Luna Miguel (El funeral de Lolita); Kim Thúy (Vi. Una mujer minúscula); Boris Izaguirre (Tiempo de tormentas); Rawi Hage (Beirut Hellfire Society); Pablo Montoya (La escuela de música); Jorge Franco (Rosario Tijeras); Sergio Ocampo (Es mejor no preguntar); winner of the National Literature Prize 2018, Diamela Eltit (Puño y letra); Manuel Vilas (Ordesa); Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Canciones para el incendio); Madeleine Thien (Do Not Say We Have Nothing); Laura Restrepo (Los Divinos); winner of the Premio Herralde de Novela 2013 Álvaro Enrigue (Ahora me rindo y eso es todo); Moises Naím (Dos espías en Caracas); and Formentor Award 2018-winner Mircea Cartarescu.

Leading writers debate some of the biggest issues of our time: Diamela Eltit, Patricia Lara and Laura Restrepo discuss fiction as a tool of dissent; Brigitte Baptiste, Lydia Cacho, Diamela Eltit, Karmele Jaio, Philippe Sands and Morten Strøksnes debate the impact of #MeToo; while Métis writer Cherie Dimaline joins Brazilian-Canadian journalist Ingrid Bejerman to talk indigenous languages, and sociologist and writer Azriel Bibliowicz talks to writers Santiago Gamboa and Esteban Carlos Mejía about narrating origins.

Poetry takes centre-stage in the first Hay Festival Cartagena Poetry Gala with Piedad Bonnett, Mircea Cartarescu, Karmele Jaio, Tamara Kamenszain, Winston Morales Chavarro, Ioana Nicolaie, and Maria do Rosário Pedreira.

The relationship between words and pictures is explored: Paula Bonet, Juan Gedovius and Keco Olano talk about the art of illustration; and author Mario Mendoza talks to Colombian illustrator Keco Olano about the reinvention of his 2002 novel Satanás as a graphic novel.

Global affairs are drawn into focus: Bianca Jagger, Gustavo Gorriti, and Luz Mely Reyes discuss Latin America’s migration crisis; colonel and expert strategist Pedro Baños talks geopolitics; economist Deirdre McCloskey presents Bourgeois Equality; historian Diana Uribe looks at the geopolitical present and future; Enrique Santos Calderón offers his first-hand perspective on the peace process during the government of his brother, Juan Manuel Santos; and US academic Sarah Churchwell (Behold, America), French-British lawyer Philippe Sands (East West Street), and director general of the New York Times Mark Thompson (Enough Said) look at globalization in crisis.

Bold ideas are interrogated: activist Michael Pollan launches his new book: How to Change Your Mind; activist and writer Lydia Cacho explores ideas of masculinity around violence; German philosopher, journalist and writer Wolfram Eilenberger talks (Zeit der Zauberer); Spanish physicist José Ignacio Latorre talks quantum physics; and Buddhist nun Kankyo Tannier talks The Gift of Silence.

Personal stories are shared: Shirin Ebado, the first Muslim woman and first Iranian person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize (2003) presents her autobiography, Until We Are Free; winner of a Premio Princesa de Asturias Alma Guillermoprieto talks about her work reporting on drug trafficking and femicides; Piedad Bonnett offers her intimate testimony of loss (Lo que no tiene nombre); and Colombian economist, writer and engineer Alejandro Gaviria presents Hoy es siempre todavía, the moving story of his lymphoma battle.

Art’s role in the world is probed: sculptor Doris Salcedo talks about her career; architect Amanda Levete looks at design in the modern world; and British craft-campaigner Sarah Corbett talks dissent through creation with Craftivism.

Contemporary Colombia is analysed in conversations with journalists Antonio Caballero, Enrique Santos Calderón, María Jimena Duzán, Patricia Lara, Juan Carlos Pérez, Sergio Ocampo Madrid, visual artist Santiago Rivas, lecturer Carolina Sanín, and president of the Truth Commission, Francisco de Roux; meanwhile Venezuelan Luz Mely Reyes; Brazilian Natalia Viana and Ecuadorian Sabrina Duque look at freedom of the press in Latin America.

Nature and the climate crisis are illuminated: scientist Ángela Posada Swafford discusses her early voyages to the Antarctic; anthropologist Castaño Uribe probes Colombia’s environmental policy; botanist Carlos Magdalena talks The Plant Messiah; Norwegian historian, writer and photographer Morten Strøksnes presents his voyage to capture the boreal shark, Shark Drunk; and Brigitte Baptiste, biologist and director of the Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, joins Michael Pollan, to talk food and climate change Global health is brought into focus: co-founder of Doctors Without Borders Jean-Christophe Rufin talks about his impressive career; and Dale Bredesen, research director of neurogenerative diseases at the Faculty of Medicine of UCLA, presents The End of Alzheimer.

Stars of stage and screen perform and discuss their work: Colombian actor Manolo Cardona talks about his unique role in the film Rubirosa; while British documentary filmmaker Kate Horne presents her new film The Witness about the Colombian photographer Jesús Abad Colorado.

Hay Festivalito for younger readers offers up conversations and readings from stars of children’s literature, including Pilar Lozano, Celso Román, and Irene Vasco.

And a vibrant programme of music and late-night entertainment sees Latin Grammy-winner Wilfrido Vargas present his autobiography Me volviste loco, Wilfrido; Café Tacvba guitarist Joselo Rangel offer his short story collection One Hit Wonder; lead singer of Monsieur Periné Catalina García, Latin Grammy-nominee Mónica Giraldo, saxophonist David Sánchez, and singer-songwriter Totó la Momposina, offer their personal playlists.

Hay Festival is one of 10 European cultural institutions participating in the global Wom@rts project, aiming to highlight the contribution of women to cultural heritage and diversity, and to tackle gender inequality by supporting their work globally. Between 2018 and 2021 a series of festival events will be co-programmed with Wom@rts to interrogate these issues, including a series of talks at Hay Festival Cartagena.

Meanwhile, Hay Festival Creative Wales International Fellow 2018-19, editor and writer Dylan Moore will continue his global Hay Festival travels, joining the Colombia line-up to present a series of interviews, lectures and workshops on displacement. Moore is editor of the welsh agenda, the magazine for the Institute of Welsh Affairs think-tank, and English teacher at Llanwern High School in Newport, Gwent. His debut book, Driving Home Both Ways (Parthian), is out now.

Find out more and explore the full programme here.