Hay Festival to partner with The Independent for 2024 panel series

Leading figures from politics, science, the arts and comedy will speak to ‘The Independent’ at annual cultural event

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 30 April 2024 17:56 BST
(Sam Hardwick)

The Independent is partnering with Hay Festival for a new panel series that will see journalists explore current affairs with leading figures from politics, science, the arts and comedy.

The 37th spring edition of the annual cultural event will take place across 11 days, from 23 May to 2 June, in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, with a line-up of speakers and hosts including Gary Lineker, Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Miriam Margolyes.

The Independent’s Editor-In-Chief, Geordie Greig, and Chief Book Critic, Martin Chilton, will host a series of morning events as part of a strand titled The News Review, which will welcome guests including Wes Streeting, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and comedian Doon Mackichan.

Greig will host discussion panels with Areeba Hamid, the Joint Executive Director of Greenpeace, and the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government, Patrick Vallance on 25 May. The following day he chairs a panel that will include Streeting, Everyday Sexism project founder Laura Bates and How to Win an Information War author Peter Pomerantsev.

Meanwhile, on 27 May, Chilton will head up panels with Mackichan and Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, the former President of the Supreme Court of the UK who declared Boris Johnson’s decision to ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament in 2019 as unlawful. The following day (28 May) will featureWe Need to Talk About Kevin author Lionel Shriver, University of London professor Sarah Churchwell and Cambridge University’s David Runciman.

Churchwell teaches American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, and has written books on The Great Gatsby, Gone With the Wind and Marilyn Monroe, while Runciman is Cambridge University’s Professor of Politics. His books include Confronting Leviathan: The History of Ideas and How Democracy Ends.

Wes Streeting and Doon Makichan will speak to ‘The Independent’ as Hay Festival
Wes Streeting and Doon Makichan will speak to ‘The Independent’ as Hay Festival (Getty Images)

Greig hailed the festival as “the world’s greatest forum for books, ideas, people, politics and provocative debate” and said of the partnership: “We are the largest digital news brand in the UK with 26 million unique users per month, many of whom are passionate about books, literature and politics. I’m looking forward to chairing these discussions with some key decision makers on the issues of our time and bringing the best of Hay Festival to a global audience.”

Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch said: “As a charity, an important part of our mission is to provide open platforms for the essential exchange of ideas and writing that prompts positive change in the world. We are delighted to share a new series of events at Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 in partnership with The Independent for this election year.

“Each morning of the festival, The News Review will see journalists, commentators, and world leaders take stock of the latest news live on stage, opening a space in our programme for our audience to react and respond to current affairs, drawing insights from some of the greatest thinkers of our times. Join us!”

Also on the festival’s teeming literary line-up are Stephen Fry, who will be sharing a preview of his next set of Greek retellings with My Sister’s Keeper author Jodi Picoult, and bestsellers Marian Keyes and David Nicholls.

‘The Independent’ is partnering with Hay Festival for a new panel series
‘The Independent’ is partnering with Hay Festival for a new panel series (Sam Hardwick)

Others appearing to discuss their lives and careers include singer Bonnie Tyler (Straight from the Heart), BBC journalist Clive Myrie (Everything is Everything), musician Charlotte Church, comedian and screenwriter David Baddiel (My Family: The Memoir), host of The Repair Shop Jay Blades (Life Lessons), trader Gary Stevenson (The Trading Game), comedian Viv Groskup (One Ukrainian Summer), singer-songwriter James Blunt (Loosely Based on a Made-Up Story), and sportswoman Rebecca Ajulu-Bushell.

This year’s programme promises to provide a wide selection of events and activities for all, balancing the launch of the most exciting non-fiction and fiction works with debate over current world issues.

The Independent partners with Hay Festival for ‘The News Review’ from 25-28 May, book tickets here.

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