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Guardian Hay Festival

My favourite venue of the year:  GUARDIAN HAY FESTIVAL   

When I visit the Hay Festival I come home full of stories. Not so much of the books themselves, but of the discussions, talks, interviews that take place to celebrate the publication of the those books. (I also come home with a lot of books.)

I am lucky enough to have a friend living not too far from Hay, so we wallow together. Last year I heard and saw Margaret Atwell discomforting her interviewer David Aaronovitch. I also recall a rivetting discussion on the war with Iraq, which featured a speaker from an American dissident internet news group. And I heard an author talking on his book about the translation of the King James’s Bible – I didn’t know that there were several translaters doing different bits and the work was organised by committee!

I could go on, but don’t wish to bore you as I  bore husband and friends.  However, if you like


reading, fiction or non-fiction, you need to know about Guardian Hay Festival.

Helen Franks____________________________________

The eighteenth annual ‘festival of ideas’, the Guardian Hay Festival, will take place this year from 28th May - 6th June 2004.  Dubbed the ‘Woodstock of the mind’ by Bill Clinton, this year’s programme continues its tradition of combining a range of cultural experiences to stimulate the mind of the ‘thinking’ festival goer. 

Internationally known writers, poets, performers, academics, and biographers already set to appear  include:

  • Kate Adie, Karen Armstrong, Margaret Atwood

  • Jo Brand, Jung Chang, Robin Cook

  • Bob Geldof, Hari Kunzru, Doris Lessing

  • Ken Loach, Germaine Greer, Dylan Moran

  • Zadie Smith, David Starkey, Sandi Toksvig

  • John Updike, Jeanette Winterston


HAY FEVER - Children’s Festival 

The children’s festival Hay Fever takes place each year within the Guardian Hay Festival week. As well a ‘comedy4kids’, children’s workshops in Brazilian drumming and storytelling, this year’s highlights also include: 


  • Nick Arnold, Marjorie Blackman

  • Melvyn Burgess, Kevin Crossley-Holland

  • The Gifford Circus, Maisy

  • Michael Morpurgo, Philip Reeve, Michael Rosen

  • Darren Shan, Jacqueline Wilson

  • Louisa Young, Benjamin Zephaniah


Hay-on-Wye is a tiny market town in the Black Mountains of the Welsh Marches. It has 1300 people and 39 bookshops. For ten days a year 70,000 visitors converge on Hay from all over the UK, Europe and America to join in a carnival celebration. 

How to Book

Bookings can be made by calling the Box Office on 0870 990 1299 or by e-mailing :

For details of the programme and to request a programme telephone 0870 990 1299

or check the website at  

Where to Stay 

The Hay Festival offers an accommodation service for a £10 charge. For details visit the website at  

The website also lists the telephone numbers of Tourist Information Centres in nearby areas for information on B&B and Hotel accommodation.  





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