Festivals Tuesday, April 4th Words by: Adam Knight

Put A Date In Your Diary: Bernie Sanders to speak at The Hay Festival

Festivals Tuesday, April 4th

Put A Date In Your Diary: Bernie Sanders to speak at The Hay Festival


What: The Hay Festival

Who: Bernie Sanders, Graham Norton, Will Young

When: May 25 to June 4.

Where: Dairy Meadow, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5PJ 


Tickets go on general sale next Tuesday - they are currently availble to 'Friends of Hay Festival' - but to whet your appetite, here's what we know about the 2017 line-up.



While 2017 has undoubtedly been the Year of the Donald, it is easy to forget that last year he wasn’t the only eccentric, outspoken outsider to galvanise and rally vast swathes of the US population under a banner for change.

Since the election, and since his defeat by Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders is no longer out on the campaign trail. But he is no less outspoken.

‘The Bern’ headlines a list of political big-hitters heading to Hay Festival for its 30th anniversary, along with ex-Mexican president Felipe Caldéron and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis – who will “make the plea for reform in the European Union”, according to the Guardian. No one mention the words ‘Article’ or ‘fifty’ to him, then.


Reigning Man Booker champ Paul Beatty – of The Sellout fame – shook up the literati across the water in Sanders-esque fashion with his cutting, hilarious, difficult-in-a-good-way award winner, and he will be in Hay to have a chat about it.

The Pulitzer fiction winner, Viet Thanh Nguyen, will also be heading to the border town, presumably with a big bag packed with copies of The Sympathizer, his celebrated Vietamese-American war-, spy- and love-story.

Other standout names include Jonathan Safran Foer, the always-engaging Colm Tóibín and Cloud Atlas writer David Mitchell, as well best-seller extraordinaires Ian Rankin and Helen Fielding, who apparently has another Bridget Jones on the way.


Where do you start? The genius that is Eddie Izzard will be appearing, hopefully in English, or at least with subtitles. Graham Norton is in town with his debut novel and autograph pen to hand. Stephen Fry will be sitting down with the most famous chess player on the planet.

Ken Loach will be talking, and likely raging against the machine backstage with Bernie Sanders, while Michael Sheen - an actor who famously starred in a film about a US president facing impeachment - is also among the lineup.

Music will be provided – Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald, and non-Scottish singer-songwriter Will Young, while by legendary hairdo and axeman Brian May will be giving an exclusive talk on his new book 'Queen in 3D.  I’ve also got a free ticket for the incredible NZ dub/soul/roots band Fat Freddy’s Drop is anyone’s in need.

Check in next week for a hotlist of that cherry-picks our highlights - both those on and under the radar - from this year's programme.

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