Hay Festival and the British Library announce free streaming day for Living Knowledge Network

Hay Festival Wales - Joel Keith Hill

Hay Festival Wales (24 May-3 June) events will be streamed live to public libraries for the first time thanks to a new collaboration with the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network.

On Saturday 26 May, from 10am to 5pm, eight library authorities in the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network (Poole, Glasgow, Leeds, Huddersfield, Norwich, Exeter, Sheffield and Wakefield) plus the British Library itself, will offer live streams of Hay Festival sessions for adults and children, including conversations with David Walliams, Cressida Cowell, Laura Bates and Owen Sheers, Melvyn Bragg, Tessa Dunlop, Melvyn Bragg, Andy Stanton, David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Bettanty Hughes and the International Man Booker Prize winner.

The Living Knowledge Network is a nationwide partnership between the British Library and 22 major libraries in cities and towns across the UK. The Network combines local expertise and national organising power to share knowledge, resources and activities. At the heart of the Living Knowledge Network is a simple aspiration - to create value by sharing ideas and sparking connections between libraries, collections and people across the UK. 

The new partnership follows last year’s announcement that the Hay Festival had donated its entire audio and video archive to the British Library to mark the Festival’s 30th anniversary.

Ella Snell, Living Knowledge Network Manager, said: “The British Library is delighted that eight library authorities are screening talks from the 2018 Hay Festival through the Living Knowledge Network. This is a fantastic example of how we are working in partnership to bring knowledge alive.”

Featuring over 600 of the world’s greatest writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in 800 events across 11 days, the Festival showcases the latest ideas in the arts, sciences and current affairs, alongside a rich schedule of music, comedy and entertainment for all ages. A galaxy of literary stars gathers to launch new work, while the biggest ever HAYDAYS and #HAYYA programmes give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.

Explore the 2018 programme and book tickets at hayfestival.org or call 01497 822 629.

The Festival site is free to enter, with ticketed events in 10 tented venues, plus a range of sites to explore, including the Festival Bookshop; the HAYDAYS courtyard; the Hay Festival Wild Garden; creative workshops in the Make and Take Tent, the Scribblers Hut, The Cube and the Mess Tent; and market stalls, cafés and restaurants.

In an age increasingly characterised by abbreviated content and algorithmic recommendation, Hay Festival promotes serendipitous discovery through the long-form, immersive experience, offering a platform for informed conversation and the chance for inspiration to take hold.

The Festival runs a wide programme of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages – Hay Festival Wales opens with two free Schools Days of programming, the Beacons Project gives students aged 16–18 the chance to learn from internationally acclaimed writers, students in tertiary education can get free tickets, and Hay Compass is a special space on site to learn and discover, with free access to inspiring speakers.


Award-winning novelists discuss their work, including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Alexander McCall Smith, Asne Seierstad, Anuradha Roy, Colm Tóibín, Jilly Cooper, Andre Aciman, Maggie O’Farrell, Rose Tremain, Salman Rushdie, Marian Keyes, Lionel Shriver, Kamila Shamsie, Alan Hollinghurst, Jojo Moyes, Jack Zipes, Philip Pullman, Ruth Jones, Simon Mayo, Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Javier Cercas. Poets Tishani Doshi, Owen Sheers and Mererid Hopwood join Margaret Atwood in a special commemoration of Armistice 100.

Conversations around internationalism, democracy and peacekeeping feature world leaders, policy makers and award-winning journalists, including: political strategist Donna Brazile, General Secretary of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maurice Gourdault Montagne, Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff, Sarah Churchwell, A. C. Grayling, Gordon Brown, David Miliband, the British Army’s Adrian Bradshaw, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Shashi Tharoor and peace builder Scilla Elworthy. Gender equality and race dominate conversations on Britain today that include Akala, Afua Hirsch, Rose McGowan, James O’Brien, Laura Bates, Helen Pankhurst, Germaine Greer and Robert Webb.

The past is reimagined by leading historians including Anthony Beevor, Helen Rappaport, Sujit Sivasundaram, Alison Weir, Melvyn Bragg, David Olusoga, Simon Schama, Bettany Hughes, Emily Wilson and Amy Lamé. Meanwhile, education is interrogated as Amanda Spielman discusses Ofsted and the future of education.

Health and wellbeing take centre stage in sessions with Ruby Wax, Suzanne O’Sullivan, Johann Hari, Edmund de Waal, Daniel Davis, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Wendy Mitchell and Bryony Gordon. Meanwhile, Nigel Shadbolt, Ella McPherson, Philip Ball, Akram Khan, Marcus du Sautoy, Richard Dawkins, Elisa Passini and Anne-Marie Imafidon showcase the latest ideas in STEM with talks.

Hay on Earth looks at innovations in sustainability and the future of farming, with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove and Google’s sustainability lead Kate Brandt. Meanwhile, nature and travel writers take audiences around the world, including Monty Don, Horatio Clare, Patrick Barkham, and adventurers Bear Grylls, Ursula Martin, Andy Kirkpartick and Chris Bonington.

Stars of stage and screen appear including Andrew Davies (Les Miserables), Bill Nighy (The Bookseller), actors Jim Broadbent, Simon Russell Beale and an all-star Letters Live cast. There’s comedy from Russell Kane, Shazia Mirza, David Baddiel, Dara O’Briain and Bridget Christie, with music from Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula, Les Amazones d'Afrique and Gabrielle Aplin, while Goldie presents his memoir All Things Remembered.

HAYDAYS and #HAYYA events feature Ed Vere, Michael Morpurgo, Judith Kerr, David Walliams, Beverley Naidoo, Jacqueline Wilson, Cressida Cowell, Lucy Worsley, Lauren Child, Katherine Rundell, Juno Dawson, Holly Bourne, Patrick Ness, Patrice Lawrence and Alex Wheatle. Workshops blend creative writing, illustration, textiles, coding, dance, drumming and animation, while RSPB Cymru and Rooted Forest School take young people outdoors.

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Notes to editors

For images, interviews, further information or to apply for press accreditation, please contact Hay Festival publicity director Christopher Bone at christopher@hayfestival.org or 07506 522540.

For information about the Living Knowledge Network pr the British Library, please contact Head of Media Relations at the British Library Elsie Kinlock at elsie.kinlock@bl.uk or 020 7412 7105.

About Hay Festival

Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be.

Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas. The Festival’s global conversation shares the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences live, in print and online. Hay Festival also runs wide programmes of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages.

In 1987, the festival was dreamt up around a kitchen table in Hay. Thirty-one years later, the unique marriage of exacting conversations and entertainment for all ages has travelled to editions in 30 locations, from the historic town of Cartagena in Colombia to the heart of cities in Peru, Mexico, Spain and Denmark. The organisation now reaches a global audience of hundreds of thousands every year and continues to grow and innovate, building partnerships and initiatives alongside some of the leading bodies in arts and the media, including the BBC, Welsh Government Department of Education, Visit Wales, ACW, the British Council, Oxfam, TATA, Friends of Hay Festival, Baillie Gifford, Good Energy, NERC and the National Trust.

Acclaimed author, actor and writer Stephen Fry is President of the organisation; Peter Florence is Director; and Caroline Michel, CEO of leading literary and talent agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop, is Chair of the Festival board.

About the British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

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