Hay Festival: Exploring literature around the world (and in January in Cartagena)


Hay Festival is a spectacular literary festival that takes place around the world in Cartagena (Colombia), Arequipa (Peru) and Wales (UK). The festival brings together top influencers, readers and writers, including Nobel Prize-winners, novelists, politicians and historians. The festival is a great place to check out the best books, upcoming authors and literary trends. We take a look at some of the top upcoming Hay Festival events, the speakers and the historical significance of the locations.

Arequipa, Perú

Hay Festival took place in Arequipa on November 9-12, 2017.

Arequipa in southern Peru is known as the ‘White City’, because it is set within three dormant volcanoes and all the buildings have been built from white volcanic rock. It has a history of blood and sacrifice. In the 15th century, the Incas would sacrifice children to try to appease the volcanoes that were once active. Today, archaeologists are uncovering bodies of sacrificed Incas, and some of the bodies can be seen in local museums. It certainly makes an interesting setting for a festival!

This year’s Hay Festival 2018 in Arequipa was attended by over 100 top influencers, including Dutch novelist Cees Nooteboom, Spanish writer Javier Cercas, Geoff Dyer, one of the UK’s top writers, Peruvian writers Renato Cisneros, Raul Tola and Argentinian novelists Luisa Valenzuela and Claudia Piñeiro. There was a big focus on current affairs and the political climate in Peru, with talks from journalist Lydia Cacho about the trafficking of women.

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is a stunning, colonial city located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The city has an incredible history, including the invasion of the Spanish and the fortification of the city against pirates. It’s a beautiful place to explore, with crumbling, old colonial buildings, painted in bright colours making it an awesome location for a literary festival. While the lineup for Hay Festival Cartagena 2018 is yet to be released if last year’s lineup is anything to go by, this year will be amazing too. For the Hay Festival 2017, there was a lineup of over 180 writers, thinkers, and leaders, including prominent figures such as British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, British writer Andrea Wulf and American-Libyan writer Hisham Matar took to the stage to speak and do readings.

Hay Festival will take place in Cartagena on January 25-28, 2018.

Wales, UK

Hay Festival in Wales will take place in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park in a tented village. It’s a mysterious and mountainous setting that was home to some of the greatest authors of all-time, such as Roald Dahl, Philip Pullman and Victorian author Beatrix Potter. While the lineup for 2018 is yet to be released. Last year’s lineup included artist Tracey Emin, comedian Ken Dodd and public figure Stephen Fry, so you can expect great things at this year’s festival.

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