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Hay Festival Winter Weekend
12th August 2019update by: Hay Festival

Hay Festival Winter Weekend transforms 'the town of books', Hay-on-Wye, into a festive wonderland of ideas, 28 November to 1 December 2019.

Now in its 20th year, the Winter Weekend sees literary conversation, candle-lit storytelling, comedy, music, and family workshops merge to create the most daring programme yet, out in full in October. Events take place in the charming town centre, with venues including the 500-seater Baillie Gifford Marquee in the Cattle Market, The School Hall and St Mary’s Church.

More intimate than the Festival’s summer edition, the town’s independent bookshops, cafés and markets welcome festivalgoers within the stunning surrounds of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Added sparkle comes from the iconic Market Square as a special Festival guest turns on the town’s Christmas lights, Friday 29 November, in a now annual weekend highlight, while Hay Winter Food Festival takes place Saturday 30 November and Hay Artisan Market takes over on Sunday 1 December.

Plus, the Festival will draw on public nominations to crown the Hay Festival Book of the Year 2019.

Programme “earlybird” events will be released Monday 2 September to Friends of Hay Festival and on general sale on Thursday 4 September.

The full programme will be announced Friday 18 October, available at or on 01497 822 629.

Speakers over the years have included writers Rose Tremain, Jeanette Winterson, Chibundu Onuzo, Matt Haig and Horatio Clare; campaigners and journalists James O’Brien, Laurie Penny, Luke Harding, Oliver Bullough, Ziauddin Yousafzai, Helena Kennedy and Gina Miller; space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock; comedians Matt Lucas and Shazia Mirza; and broadcasters Monty Don, Kate Humble and 'Queen of Shops' Mary Portas.

Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival, said: “After a year like this we all deserve a space to dream in. Join us around the winter fire to tell stories, unearth truths, and imagine the world. Hay, glistening with winter cheer, offers a welcome like nowhere else. We’ve the world’s best writers, thinkers, musicians, and a fabulous bazaar of local crafts, foods and curiosities. Now all we need is you.”

Novelist Jeanette Winterson said: “It’s the time of year we need some internal sunshine and that’s what this is. It’s a place where there’s light and there’s warmth and a lot of fun.”

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