Hay Festival has launched a free autumn schools programme, including two days of live events at Hay Festival Winter Weekend to bring young readers and writers together to share stories and ideas.

Hay Festival 2019

Source: Sam Hardwick

Schools will once again be able to take part in a range of events at Hay Festival.

The free in-person programme for schools will take place on 24th - 25th November at Hay Festival Winter Weekend in Hay-on-Wye with six events for students in Key Stages 2 and 3.

On Wednesday 24th November, events for KS2 pupils include writer Onjali Q Raúf (The Lion Above the Door), illustrator Rob Biddulph (Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City) and author Emma Carroll (The Week at World’s End).

On Thursday 25th November, events for KS3 pupils include writers Sally Nichols (The Silent Stars Go By) and Nicola Davies (The Song that Sings Us), and rap-poet Karl Nova.

Meanwhile, the Beacons Project, a free workshop residency for 16-18-year-olds interested in writing, will run through Hay Festival Winter Weekend, aiming to offer the next generation of writers a tailored weekend of inspiration featuring Festival guests from across the main programme. 

Aine Venables, Hay Festival education manager, said: “We’re back for our first in-person events for schools since 2019 and we’re energised to welcome pupils and teachers again to our events.

“In a year of enormous challenges for young people and educators all around the UK, we’ve been pleased to connect with thousands digitally and can’t wait to re-connect with that same spark of inspiration in live events.”

Sessions will also be broadcast online for pupils unable to travel, adding to the free programme for schools’ digital archive and offering pupils all over the UK the chance to see different writers and get creative.

Over the past 18 months, Hay Festival’s education events have taken place digitally, reaching 100,000 pupils in more than a thousand schools across the UK and beyond.

More to look forward to

Welsh language Scribblers Tour events take place in-person on 3rd November at Bangor University and on 4th November at Aberystwyth University, aiming to bring creative inspiration direct to transition-year pupils (Years 6 and 7).

Welsh poets Gruffudd Owen and Rufus Mufasa will lead the workshops alongside host Aneirin Karadog at both universities, with writers Mererid Hopwood, Eurig Salisbury and Hywel Griffiths adding to the programme at Aberystwyth, while Osian Owen joins at Bangor.

Venables added: “Our free Welsh Scribblers Tour, Winter Weekend Programme for Schools and Beacons Project offer a chance for young people all over Wales to engage with writers and their work. Everyone is welcome.”

Schools can see the programmes in depth and register for free at hayfestival.org/schools.