Main Festival

Saturday 29th June 2024

Children's Corner (Open All Day)

Welcome to an exciting brand new addition to this year’s edition of the festival; The Children's Corner! Our vibrant, engaging space is designed to inspire the little ones to explore the joy of reading. We have a variety of diverse activities on offer including storytelling sessions, interactive workshops, board games, book nooks and more. The Children's Corner is a place where every child can embark on a literary adventure, discover new worlds and let their creativity soar. Join us for a day full of fun, learning, and unforgettable memories!


(Free to access, registration required)

We need new narratives: the African in the diasporas

Supported by British Council

What are the expectations of authors of African descent working abroad? Join British writer of Scottish and Sierra Leonean ancestry, Aminatta Forna OBE; American writer and photographer of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin, Taiye Selasi and Kenyan author and Global Press Journal editor, Ndinda Kioko as they dissect their refusal to be pigeonholed and the multi-hyphenated career paths that allows for.

Featured Writers: Aminatta Forna, Taiye Selasi, Ndinda Kioko
Moderator: Mercy Juma

Resituating the climate crisis

Supported by British Council and Open Society Foundations

In the face of rampant environmental disasters, there is an urgent need to raise humanity’s consciousness regarding combating climate change. There is no time to spare. The Climate Clock countdown estimates that we have less than six years to prevent the worst effects of global warming from happening. Beyond preservation of natural habitats and moving away from fossil fuels, are there other strategies we can employ to ensure our survival? Hear from award-winning Indian author Amitav Ghosh whose writing centres nature as an important character; Kenyan environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti who is nurturing young people to love nature.

Featured Writers: Amitav Ghosh, Elizabeth Wathuti
Moderator: Andrés Schipani

Feminist fury will save us

Supported by British Council

From suffragettes to 5th wave feminists, women have always pushed back against the patriarchy and its intersecting systems of oppression. It has been difficult but necessary work with opponents springing up from both sides of the broader gender divide. African and black feminist movements evolved to speak to the specific realities of brown and black people through corresponding theories and intellectual practices.
What are the marked triumphs within this movement for gender equity? Are there shortcomings or blindspots? Award-winning Lebanese author, journalist and human rights activist Joumana Haddad and Brazilian feminist thinker, writer and activist Djamila Ribeiro share their insights.

Featured Writers : Joumana Haddad, Djamila Ribeiro
Moderator: Kedolwa Waziri

Existing in translation

Supported by Open Society Foundations

We are living in UNESCO's International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 - 2032). Archiving of marginalised languages in creative and accessible ways is necessary in a world where many are threatened by extinction.
However, in order for the intellectual ideas within these languages to find a wider audience, they must exist in translation. Four writers debate the merits and challenges of translation and the ideal first audience for their work; Congolese author, Richard Ali A Mutu, Sudanese journalist, Nesrine Malik FRSL, Mozambican writer, Mia Couto and Ivorian writer and translator, Edwige-Renee Dro.

Featured Writers : Richard Ali A Mutu, Nesrine Malik, Mia Couto and Edwige-Renee Dro
Moderator: Wanjeri Gakuru

Radical Acts of Reclamation

Supported by Goethe-Institut Kenya

Activists have been arrested for attempting to take African artefacts out of prominent European museums. Protests, demands and negotiations have resulted in items being surrendered at best and loaned to countries at worst. What happens when the restitution of stolen relics, histories and ideologies happens on our own terms?
Kenyan Film & TV Producer, Mumo Liku tells the story of an artefact lost in 1903 while Chidi Nwaubani, Nigerian founder of 'LOOTY’, shares his perspective on how AR and VR can bring artefacts closer home, and Dr. Kiprop Lagat, Director of Culture in the Ministry of Gender, Culture, the Arts and Heritage speaks from over 25 years of experience in the heritage sector.

Featured Writers : Chidi Nwaubani, Mumo Liku and Dr. Kiprop Lagat
Moderator: Abdi Latif Dahir

Telling the hard stories

Supported by AC/E Acción Cultural Española and Open society Foundations

The impulse to forget or obfuscate facts to lessen pain is natural in the face of difficult circumstances. For the artist who decides not to look away, the result is often beautiful, heartrending work.
Writing pair, Ibrahima Balde, an immigrant from Guinea and Amets Arzallus, a Basque poet pieced together a harrowing odyssey across the Sahara desert. South African author and filmmaker, Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni made a documentary about her mother’s life-long dream of publishing a treasured 40-year-old manuscript while Kenyan visual artist, Kamwathi Peterson Waweru’s work captures painful Kenyan existence in charcoal, paint and collage

Featured Writers : Ibrahima Balde & Amets Arzallus, Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni, Kamwathi Peterson Waweru
Moderator: Mshai Mwangola

Publishing your first book

Ever wondered what it takes to complete a manuscript? Do you want to master the confidence to develop a story idea through multiple iterations to produce a finished text? This is an opportunity to gain insights on what it takes to get to the finish line for book one in an author’s career with South African poet, Nombeko Nontshokweni, Kenyan lawyer and author, Deborah Tendo.

Featured Writers:Nombeko Nontshokweni, Deborah Tendo and Edwin Omindo
Moderator: Otieno Owino

Hay Festival Lviv Bookforum Series: History & homelands

Supported by Open Society Foundations

There’s truth in the African proverb: “Until the lion tells his tale, the hunt will always glorify the hunter”. Conflict and revisionist history result in the systematic destruction of a people, their homes and cultural heritage. In the face of such devastating erasure, the artist is called upon to serve as griot and keeper of names. Sometimes, their mere existence, whether in exile or in their homeland, is enough resistance. Award-winning Palestinian author, Adania Shibli, Ukrainian journalist, Sevgil Musaieva and British historian, writer and filmmaker, David Olusoga OBE explore their memories of home.

Featured Writers : Adania Shibli, Sevgil Musaieva and David Olusoga
Moderator: Ayisha Osori OSF


Music performance by chart-topping local acts, followed closely by a live DJ set.

History & truth-telling

Supported by Open Society Foundations

David Olusoga OBE, a British historian, writer and filmmaker on the impact of his work in rethinking black history.

Featured Writers : David Olusoga OBE

Writing to remember

Award-winning Palestinian author, Adania Shibli and British writer of Scottish and Sierra Leonean ancestry, Aminatta Forna OBE in conversation with Jon Lee Anderson, an American journalist, investigative reporter, and war correspondent and staff writer for The New Yorker.

Featured Writers : Adania Shibli and Aminatta Forna OBE
Moderator: Jon Lee Anderson

Considering the Othered

Supported by British Council

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo OBE FRSL FRSA discusses crafting spaces for underrepresented voices within her work with Founder of Soma Nami Books, Muthoni Muiruri

Featured Writers : Bernardine Evaristo OBE FRSL FRSA and Muthoni Muiruri