Hay Festival 2024

As part of our global partnership with the Hay Festival, the British Council is supporting a specially selected series of events featuring international and UK authors at the Hay Festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, from 26 May – 1 June 2024.

The events will showcase writers and speakers from countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa to UK audiences, and feature up-and-coming UK writers selected as part of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 2023 list.

This specially selected event series brings together our work with the Hay Festivals in Mexico, Peru and Colombia as well as a new partnership in Kenya, as part of our UK/Kenya Season. 

Read more about the events in the series and book tickets below:

Sunday 26 May, 7:00pm, THE HIVE
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado and Kirsty Lang

Activist Sylvia Vasquez-Lavado discusses her inspiring work against sexual violence and her memoir In the Shadow of the Mountain with journalist Kirsty Lang. A businesswoman named one of the twenty most influential Latin Americans in Silicon Valley, Vasquez-Lavado was struggling with past trauma when she discovered mountaineering. In 2014 she founded Courageous Girls, a non-profit organisation that helps survivors of sexual abuse and human trafficking find their inner strength through mountaineering. The following year she became the first Peruvian woman to reach the summit of Sagharmatha (Mount Everest), and in 2018, the first woman from the LGTBQ+ community to climb the seven highest summits on each continent.

Thursday 30 May, 11:30am, THE WYE STAGE
Sarah Bernstein and Eley Williams with Max Liu

Two of the best young British novelists of 2023, as selected by Granta magazine, discuss their recent books. Sarah Bernstein’s Study for Obedience is about a woman who moves from the place of her birth to the remote northern country of her ancestors, to be housekeeper to her recently divorced brother. Eley Williams’ Moderate to Poor, Occasionally Good, due in June, is a forth-coming collection of stories from the award-winning author of The Liar’s Dictionary and Attrib. and Other Stories. The authors speak to writer Max Liu.

Saturday 1 June, 11:30am, THE HIVE
Isabella Hammad and Aura García-Junco with Daniel Hahn

Mexican writer Aura García-Junco and British-Palestinian author Isabella Hammad talk to translator Daniel Hahn about writing on both sides of the Atlantic, in a continuation of a conversation that was held at Hay Festival Querétaro 2023, in Mexico. García-Junco is an author, screenwriter and occasional translator who, in 2021, was named by Granta magazine as one of the best young writers in the Spanish language. Her fourth book May God Blast the Woman Who Writes About Me has just been published in English. Hammad was included on the Granta Best of Young British Novelists 2023 list. She is author of Enter Ghost, about a woman who returns to Palestine after years away from her family’s homeland.

Saturday 1 June, 1pm, THE HIVE
Velia Vidal, Lola Shoneyin and Wanjiru Koinange in conversation

Three experts discuss cultural exchange across the world. Wanjiru Koinange is a Kenyan writer and entrepreneur, founder of Book Bunk, which aims to change Nairobi by restoring some of the city’s most iconic public libraries into sites of inclusivity, heritage, public art, collective memory, knowledge production, shared experiences and cultural exchange. She is author of The Havoc of Choice. Nigerian poet and author Lola Shoneyin is a publisher, festival organiser and author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. Colombian writer Velia Vidal is a festival director, author of Tidal Waters and also a contributor to Untold Microcosms: Latin American Writers in the British Museum. In conversation with Georgina Godwin.

NBO Lit Fest, Nairobi

At the Hay Festival in Wales we will also be celebrating a new partnership between the Hay Festival and Book Bunk in Nairobi, Kenya, who are working together to host the NBO Lit Fest in Nairobi from 27-30 June 2024.

Taking place over one weekend in Nairobi’s Kaloleni Library, Eastlands Library and McMillan Memorial Library, the NBO Lit Fest will bring writers and readers together for an ambitious programme of conversations and performances, promoting free expression and cultural exchange.

The British Council is delighted to be supporting this new international partnership as part of its UK/Kenya Season of activity.

Read more about the NBO Lit Fest and look out for the launch of the festival programme on the Hay Festival website.