Books - Hay Festival Livestreams

Hay Festival Wales events will be streamed live to public libraries for the first time thanks to a new collaboration with the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network...

Press Release

On Saturday 26th May, from 10am to 5pm, eight library authorities in the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network (Poole, Glasgow, Leeds, Huddersfield, Norwich, Exeter, Sheffield and Wakefield) plus the British Library itself, will offer live streams of Hay Festival sessions for adults and children, including conversations with David Walliams, Cressida Cowell, Laura Bates and Owen Sheers, Melvyn Bragg, Tessa Dunlop, Andy Stanton, David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Bettanty Hughes and the International Man Booker Prize winner.

The Living Knowledge Network is a nationwide partnership between the British Library and 22 major libraries in cities and towns across the UK. The Network combines local expertise and national organising power to share knowledge, resources and activities. At the heart of the Living Knowledge Network is a simple aspiration - to create value by sharing ideas and sparking connections between libraries, collections and people across the UK.

The new partnership follows last year’s announcement that the Hay Festival had donated its entire audio and video archive to the British Library to mark the Festival’s 30th anniversary.

Ella Snell, Living Knowledge Network Manager, said: “The British Library is delighted that eight library authorities are screening talks from the 2018 Hay Festival through the Living Knowledge Network. This is a fantastic example of how we are working in partnership to bring knowledge alive.”

Featuring over 600 of the world’s greatest writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in 800 events across 11 days, the Festival showcases the latest ideas in the arts, sciences and current affairs, alongside a rich schedule of music, comedy and entertainment for all ages. A galaxy of literary stars gathers to launch new work, while the biggest ever HAYDAYS and #HAYYA programmes 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; and market stalls, cafés and restaurants.

In an age increasingly characterised by abbreviated content and algorithmic recommendation, Hay Festival promotes serendipitous discovery through the long-form, immersive experience, offering a platform for informed conversation and the chance for inspiration to take hold.

The Festival runs a wide programme of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages – Hay Festival Wales opens with two free Schools Days of programming, the Beacons Project gives students aged 16–18 the chance to learn from internationally acclaimed writers, students in tertiary education can get free tickets, and Hay Compass is a special space on site to learn and discover, with free access to inspiring speakers.

Explore the 2018 programme and book tickets at 


Award-winning novelists discuss their work, including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Alexander McCall Smith, Asne Seierstad, Anuradha Roy, Colm Tóibín, Jilly Cooper, Andre Aciman, Maggie O’Farrell, Rose Tremain, Salman Rushdie, Marian Keyes, Lionel Shriver, Kamila Shamsie, Alan Hollinghurst, Jojo Moyes, Jack Zipes, Philip Pullman, Ruth Jones, Simon Mayo, Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Javier Cercas. Poets Tishani Doshi, Owen Sheers and Mererid Hopwood join Margaret Atwood in a special commemoration of Armistice 100.

Conversations around internationalism, democracy and peacekeeping feature world leaders, policy makers and award-winning journalists, including: political strategist Donna Brazile, General Secretary of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maurice Gourdault Montagne, Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff, Sarah Churchwell, A. C. Grayling, Gordon Brown, David Miliband, the British Army’s Adrian Bradshaw, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Shashi Tharoor and peace builder Scilla Elworthy. Gender equality and race dominate conversations on Britain today that include Akala, Afua Hirsch, Rose McGowan, James O’Brien, Laura Bates, Helen Pankhurst, Germaine Greer and Robert Webb.

The past is reimagined by leading historians including Anthony Beevor, Helen Rappaport, Sujit Sivasundaram, Alison Weir, Melvyn Bragg, David Olusoga, Simon Schama, Bettany Hughes, Emily Wilson and Amy Lamé. Meanwhile, education is interrogated as Amanda Spielman discusses Ofsted and the future of education.

Health and wellbeing take centre stage in sessions with Ruby Wax, Suzanne O’Sullivan, Johann Hari, Edmund de Waal, Daniel Davis, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Wendy Mitchell and Bryony Gordon. Meanwhile, Nigel Shadbolt, Ella McPherson, Philip Ball, Akram Khan, Marcus du Sautoy, Richard Dawkins, Elisa Passini and Anne-Marie Imafidon showcase the latest ideas in STEM with talks.

Hay on Earth looks at innovations in sustainability and the future of farming, with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove and Google’s sustainability lead Kate Brandt. Meanwhile, nature and travel writers take audiences around the world, including Monty Don, Horatio Clare, Patrick Barkham, and adventurers Bear Grylls, Ursula Martin, Andy Kirkpartick and Chris Bonington.

Stars of stage and screen appear including Andrew Davies (Les Miserables), Bill Nighy (The Bookseller), actors Jim Broadbent, Simon Russell Beale and an all-star Letters Live cast. There’s comedy from Russell Kane, Shazia Mirza, David Baddiel, Dara O’Briain and Bridget Christie, with music from Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula, Les Amazones d'Afrique and Gabrielle Aplin, while Goldie presents his memoir All Things Remembered.

HAYDAYS and #HAYYA events feature Ed Vere, Michael Morpurgo, Judith Kerr, David Walliams, Beverley Naidoo, Jacqueline Wilson, Cressida Cowell, Lucy Worsley, Lauren Child, Katherine Rundell, Juno Dawson, Holly Bourne, Patrick Ness, Patrice Lawrence and Alex Wheatle. Workshops blend creative writing, illustration, textiles, coding, dance, drumming and animation, while RSPB Cymru and Rooted Forest School take young people outdoors.

Image & info - ©Joel Keith Hill & British Library

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