New "earlybirds" unveiled for Hay Festival 2019

A new round of "earlybird" events for Hay Festival 2019 have been announced today for the 32nd edition, 23 May-2 June, offering a taste of its biggest ever programme of evening entertainment.

Two stars of the silver screen join the line-up. Comedian Jimmy Carr brings his new show Terribly Funny, while there will be conversation with campaigner, filmmaker and Strictly winner Stacey Dooley.

Three late-night music events have been unveiled, including performances from legendary French supergroup The Gipsy Kings and the Scottish-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys.

As a special highlight, visionary musicians will bring the words and images of Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris’ award-winning The Lost Words to the festival stage with Spell Songs.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: "There’s some joy and real energy here. As we begin to finalise the programme of debate and conversation, it’s a delight to offer up some great nights of pure pleasure."

These six new events join a bold selection of sessions already announced, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winner Jared Diamond (Upheaval); Nobel Prize-winner Venki Ramakrishnan (Gene Machine); travel writers Robert Macfarlane (Underland: A Deep Time Journey) and Horatio Clare (The Light in the Dark, Something of his Art); award-winning novelists Leila Slimani (Adèle), Anna Burns (Milkman), and Markus Zusak (The Book Thief); children’s favourites Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo) and Michael Rosen (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt); comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig; and all-star performances of Diaries Live and Speeches Live.

Tickets are on sale now to Friends of Hay Festival here or via 01497 822 629. Public booking opens 9am on Saturday 26 January.

Hay Festival is the world’s leading festival of ideas, bringing readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events across the globe. Over 600 award-winning writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators are expected to appear at the late spring festival in events across 11 days, while HAYDAYS and #HAYYA programmes will give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.

The Festival site is free to enter, with ticketed events in 10 tented venues, plus a range of sites to explore, including the Festival Bookshop; the HAYDAYS courtyard; the Hay Festival Wild Garden; creative workshops in the Make and Take Tent, the Scribblers Hut, The Cube and the Mess Tent; market stalls, cafés and restaurants; and a new Serious Reading Room.

The full Hay Festival 2019 programme will be announced on Friday 29 March 2019.