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We are grateful to our colleagues and friends who have written to us. We recognise that the killing of Moisés Sánchez, the 15th journalist to have been murdered or disappeared in Veracruz since 2010, has caused unbearable pain and rage.

As the Committee of the Periodistas de a Pie say, the Hay Festival has brought some of the greatest champions of freedom of speech to Zacatecas, to Mexico City, and to Xalapa. We stand by the words of our writers like Wole Soyinka, Carl Bernstein and Salman Rushdie, who have come to Xalapa and have been clear and passionate in their messages of condemnation for the targeting of journalists in Veracruz.

We have always felt that we have more authority and impact to shine a light on these atrocities against freedom of speech by standing on stage on the ground where this situation continues to unfold. We believe in engagement with the local reality not withdrawal; we believe in speech not silence and vacuum. The festival brings together thousands of people, the majority of them students, in a place where freedom of expression can be discussed and promoted. The response from many, many people in Xalapa makes clear that this is a platform that is treasured and rare.

We are committed to Mexico, to celebrating the creativity of its publishers and writers. We work with a wide coalition of partners here, and the writing community is the essential element in that coalition. We can only move forward together.

The response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre was not to close the magazine but to print 5 million copies. That is our model. This year we will keep the October dates and ramp up the festival into the interactive digital sphere rather than a physical location, so that we can reach not just our friends in Xalapa but we can invite everyone who is online in Mexico to join the conversation. We will bring Mexican writers to our international festivals across the world through our Mexico 20 project, and we will continue to develop the dialogue with all our partners to determine the best way forward on the ground in the future.

Hay Festival Xalapa


HAY FESTIVAL XALAPA PROMOTES CULTURE & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Literature, visual arts, cinema, music, geopolitics, journalism, the environment... all go together with dialogue and celebration.

'The warmth of humanity', Hay Festival Xalapa in The Telegraph

'One of the great excitements of Hay's international festivals is getting to know major writers who are often barely known, if at all, in Britain.' Michael Jacobs, The Telegraph

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Xalapa 2014

  • Salman Rushdie
  • David Safier
  • Margo Glantz
  • Rithy Panh
  • Juan Bonilla
  • Katie Kitamura
  • Álvaro Enrique
  • José de la Colina
  • Killoffer
  • Joumana Haddad
  • Alan Weisman
  • Concha Buika
  • and many more...