Hay on WiFi! Literary festival goes virtual and will be free to view online

Hay on WiFi! Literary festival goes virtual and will be free to view online thanks to £350,000 in donations

  • Hay Festival forced to go online amid pandemic but still features famous lineup 
  • Some 80 live broadcasts and events to take place which are all free to view
  • The festival was once described by Bill Clinton as ‘the Woodstock of the mind’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Huge crowds and packed marquees are a familiar sight at the Hay Festival.

But book lovers will not need to head to a field to enjoy the brilliant speakers this year as the event has been forced to go online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual literary festival has moved from a tented village in the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye to the virtual world.

Huge crowds and packed marquees are a familiar sight at the Hay Festival. But book lovers will not need to head to a field to enjoy the brilliant speakers this year as the event has been forced to go online due to the coronavirus pandemic

But it still features a stellar line-up with talks from award-winning author Margaret Atwood, actress Vanessa Redgrave and comedian Stephen Fry. 

Miss Atwood and Miss Redgrave joined poet laureate Simon Armitage and actors Benedict Cumberbatch (above) Tom Hollander, Helen McCrory and Jonathan Pryce to mark William Wordsworth¿s 250th birth anniversary with a mass reading last night

Miss Atwood and Miss Redgrave joined poet laureate Simon Armitage and actors Benedict Cumberbatch (above) Tom Hollander, Helen McCrory and Jonathan Pryce to mark William Wordsworth’s 250th birth anniversary with a mass reading last night

Some 80 live broadcasts and interactive events with more than 100 writers, historians, musicians, comedians and global policymakers will be free to view for the next ten days thanks to donations totalling £350,000.

Fiction and non-fiction writers from Hilary Mantel and Maggie O’Farrell to Philippe Sands and Steve Silberman will entertain viewers in lockdown. 

Miss Atwood and Miss Redgrave joined poet laureate Simon Armitage and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hollander, Helen McCrory and Jonathan Pryce to mark William Wordsworth’s 250th birth anniversary with a mass reading last night.

Festival director Peter Florence said taking the event online had opened up ‘some extraordinary opportunities’ and the audience was much more diverse.

Mr Florence said: ‘Instead of watching a main stage production in a theatrical sense you’re actually getting writers talking direct from their desks and armchairs and that makes it feel really intimate… it’s like having a one-to-one with these writers.’

Mr Florence founded the Hay Festival with his father Norman in 1988.

Once described by Bill Clinton as ‘The Woodstock of the mind’, the annual event invites guests to celebrate new books and discuss some of the biggest issues the world is facing.

it still features a stellar line-up with talks from award-winning author Margaret Atwood, actress Vanessa Redgrave and comedian Stephen Fry, pictured above at the festival in 2010

it still features a stellar line-up with talks from award-winning author Margaret Atwood, actress Vanessa Redgrave and comedian Stephen Fry, pictured above at the festival in 2010

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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