Highlights of the Hay Festival programme for 2023 include a talk from adventurer and TV presenter Bear Grylls as well as children’s author Pamela Butchart. 

Hay Festival 2019

Source: Sam Hardwick

The annual Hay Festival attracts thousands of primary and secondary schools from across England and Wales. 

The festival, which runs from 25th May until 4th June, 2023 on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, brings writers and young readers together in-person and online for a series of inspiring interactive activities and conversations.  

This year’s programme launches the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around significant global issues. Award-winning writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators take part from around the world. 

KS2 events on Thursday 25th May include writers Matt Goodfellow, Dr Ranj, Pamela Butchart, Chae Strathie, Abi Elphinstone, Emma Carroll, Jeffrey Boakye and SF Said; poet Mererid Hopwood; Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho; adventurer Bear Grylls; and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

KS3/4 events on Friday 26th May feature writers Anthony McGowan, Dr Shini Somara, Nicola Davies, Patrice Lawrence, Nikesh Shukla, Chris Vick, Candy Gourlay and Laura Dockrill; economist Tim Harford; Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho; activists Laura Bates and Jeffrey Boakye and space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

The 2022 Hay Festival’s School Programme saw more than 14,000 attendances from primary and secondary schools across England and Wales, while digital events over the past three years have reached more than 160,000 pupils with free events online.

Julie Finch, Hay Festival CEO, said: “As a charity, we are committed to broadening cultural accessibility and boosting reading for pleasure through dynamic, interactive events and year-round projects. Our Programme for Schools is an annual highlight and we cannot wait to welcome thousands of young people, in-person and online, to join us for these days of inspiration and hope, creating a space where imaginations are free to roam.”

“Our Programme for Schools is an annual highlight and we cannot wait to welcome thousands of young people…” 

Julie Finch, Hay Festival CEO

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, added: “It’s fantastic to see Hay Festival’s free spring programme for schools, inspiring pupils with in-person and online workshops with writers and poets.

“I look forward to seeing lots of young people getting involved and finding their passion for creative writing and reading.”

Teachers can see the full programme of 500+ events online at hayfestival.org/wales.

For those who can’t access the free events in person, sessions will also be streamed free online at hayfestival.org/schools, and will be available after the event on Hay Player at hayfestival.org/hayplayer.