29th Hay Festival comes to a close following 11 days of literary celebrations

Photo Credit: Sam Hardwick

Photo Credit: Sam Hardwick

Event highlights available via the festival’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. BBC World News’ Talking Books from Hay will televise our interviews with novelists Marlon James, Peter Carey, Tahmima Anam and Lionel Shriver throughout June. There are events and interviews on BBC Arts now, including talks from Sam Mendes, Maxine Peake and Russell T Davies, Caitlin Moran, Susan Calman, Michael Palin, Sarah Millican and Hannah Dunleavy, and Gregory Doran, and BBC shows recorded on site, including BBC Two’s Artsnight, BBC News’ Click, BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week, Front Row and World at One; BBC Radio 3’s The Essay, The Verb and Free Thinking

The 29th edition of the Hay Festival in Wales closed Sunday 5 June after another landmark year, buoyed by appearances from the world’s leading writers, scientists, musicians, comedians and global leaders under near constant Welsh sunshine.

Running Thursday 26 May to Sunday 5 June, the festival opened with two days of free events for schools, funded through a new partnership between the Hay Educational Trust and the Welsh Government. Around five thousand students had the chance to meet scientists, explorers, award-winning novelists and historians and the one-off opportunity to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

In a year of literary landmarks (Shakespeare, Cervantes, Brontë and Dahl), and on the eve of the EU referendum and US election, the festival brought Nobel Prize winners, novelists, scientists, global leaders, historians, musicians and comedians together in discussions and celebrations across over 600 events. Speakers during the 11 days included Caitlin Moran, Sam Mendes, Michael Palin, Simon Schama, Germaine Greer, Salman Rushdie, Gordon Brown, Yanis Varoufakis, Mervyn King, Monty Don, Tom Holland, Jeanette Winterson and Tom Jones, with comedy from Sarah Millican, Marcus Brigstocke, Dara Ó Briain, Isy Suttie and Sara Pascoe; music from Suzanne Vega, Billy Bragg, Laura Marling, K T Tunstall, Turin Brakes, and Baaba Maal; and two all-star Letters Live events led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Maxine Peake, Louise Brealey, Olivia Colman and Tom Hollander.

The bookshop – 20% larger than in previous years – saw an increase in books sold on last year, with sales tracked for the first time this year by Nielsen BookScan.

Photo Credit: Chris Athanasiou

Photo Credit: Chris Athanasiou

Hay Festival 2016 Fast Facts:

•    Over 600 events
•    850 speakers
•    10,000 pupils on site for school days
•    Over 25,000 books sold at Oxfam bookshop, raising more than £47,000
•    600 Roald Dahl Dream jars made in the Make and Do tent
•    3,000 trees given out by the Woodland Trust
 

Photo Credit: Catalin

Photo Credit: Catalin

“What a thrilling adventure we’ve had. What a ride! We’ve had guests from 36 countries. There’ve been events in Farsi, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Welsh and English; thousands of ideas and stories, and new friends, new heroes, and new beginnings. What a perfect way to honour Shakespeare’s humanity and genius in this quatro-centenary year. And what an inspiring way to think about Britain’s greatness and our place in the world.”
— Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival

Four of the UK’s most exceptional creative talents were celebrated with Hay Medals: journalist Janine di Giovanni was awarded the Hay Medal for Prose; former Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke was given the Hay Medal for Poetry; singer-songwriter Laura Marling was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Song ahead of her acoustic set; and Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Gregory Doran was awarded the Hay Festival Medal for Drama. Awarded annually since Britain’s Olympic year (2012), the medals draw inspiration from the original Olympic medal given for poetry.

Literary prize winners appeared in full force, with this year’s Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize winners Hannah Rothschild and Paul Murray; Man Booker winner Marlon James; Dylan Thomas Award winner Max Porter, The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award winner and T S Elliot Prize winner Sarah Howe; while The Bookseller’s YA Book Prize was awarded to Sarah Crossan live on site.

This year for the first time the BBC has broadcast News from Hay – BBC Radio 4’s World at One was broadcast live throughout the week from the BBC Tent. BBC2’s Artsnight broadcast a special edition with Paul Mason from Hay on Friday 3 June. And BBC World News broadcast around the world with whole sessions and clips online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/tv/talking-books

BBC Radio 3 and 4 broadcast from Hay each day of the festival recording special editions of Radio 4’s Front Row and Start the Week and Radio 3’s In Tune and Free Thinking.

BBC ARTS has been broadcasting highlights from Hay all week online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/edzbp6/performances, with whole sessions and clips on iPlayer. 

BBC Arts launched two initiatives at Hay 2016: BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Thinkers, and BBC Arts #LovetoRead Campaign which will run all summer. 

Meanwhile, Hay is a global partner with the BBC, British Council, Royal Shakespeare Company, BFI, and Royal Opera House for Shakespeare Lives - an online festival sharing performances about Shakespeare. Our films Hay Festival: Talking About Shakespeare are shared to audiences globally via http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/edzbp6/performances.

While the Hay tents are dismantled, the discussion continues on line, with highlights available through BBC Arts online and the Hay Festival YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels. Meanwhile, students studying for their A Levels can browse the wealth of resources now available via the Hay Levels Live channel.

Photo Credit: Sam Hardwick

Photo Credit: Sam Hardwick