Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Hay Festival unveils 2018 Schools Days line-up

Julian Clary and Katie Thistleton are slated to be among the exciting selection of scientists, historians, poets, novelists and entertainers

Posted by Julian Owen | March 07, 2018 | Events

This year's Hay Festival, taking place from 24 May–3 June, has unveiled a 2018 schools programme featuring a stellar selection of internationally-acclaimed scientists, historians, poets, novelists and entertainers, including authors Julian Clary, Cressida Cowell, Laura Dockrill, Eoin Colfer, David Almond, Patrice Lawrence; poets Joe Coelho and Eric Ngalle Charles; storyteller Daniel Morden; maths prodigy Anne-Marie Imafidon; BBC presenter Katie Thistleton; and broadcaster and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney.

Blending live performance, workshops and storytelling, the two specially-curated days - Thursday 24 May (KS 2) and Friday 25 May (KS 3 and 4) - are free for state schools and funded by Hay Festival Foundation and the Welsh Government. Last year’s Schools Days saw 21,461 pupils attend from 105 primary schools and 78 secondary schools from across England and Wales.

Priority booking opened for Welsh state schools on 5 March, before spaces go on wide release from 19 March.

5 March also marked the opening of applications for the Hay Festival Beacons Project. A free workshop residency for 16-18-year-olds interested in writing, it offers 20 students from across Wales the chance to meet and work with professional writers, broadcasters and journalists at the festival and develop their creative writing skills.

Hay Festival Schools Days and the Beacons Project are part of the festival’s wider education work and commitment to young people that also includes Hay Compass, Hay Academy, Hay Levels, free tickets for students, and the Hay Festival Scribblers Tour, which takes writers direct to young people all over Wales throughout the year.

Aine Venables, Hay Festival Educations Director, said: “Opening up inspiring opportunities for young is a core part of our mission here and around the world. We will be welcoming thousands of pupils and students of all ages to Hay Festival 2018 giving them the chance to meet and engage with writers, performers and scientists for free. Schools will also have the opportunity to explore topics from equality, positive self-esteem, discovery and empathy, through to space, the importance of campaigning, and STEM.”

Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams said: “These events stir the imagination and I’m thrilled that the Welsh Government is able to help the festival build on what has proven to be a very successful programme. I would urge all schools to see if they can get involved and help learners take part in what I’m sure will be a truly magical two days.”

For information and booking for both the Schools Days and Beacons Project, please visit

Hay Festival Schools Days programme overview:
On 24 May – Key Stage 2 day – the programme includes comedy, storytelling, adventure, history and a celebration of STEM.
Laughter will shake the tents as Andy Stanton talks about his multi award-winning Mr Gum series and Natboff! One Million Years of Stupidity; while comedian, entertainer and writer Julian Clary joins illustrator David Roberts to introduce their best-selling adventure series The Bolds.
There’s storytelling and workshops as poet Joe Coelho entertains with The Sad Tale of the Fly…...Splatt! mixing poems from his Carnegie Prize-nominated poetry anthology Overheard in a Tower Block with activities from his debut non-fiction book How To Write Poems; last year’s recipient of the Hay Festival Medal for Drama, Daniel Morden, presents Secret Tales from Wales with passionate retellings of ancient stories; storyteller and author Richard R. O’Neill offers up an interactive ‘ordinary to extraordinary’ storywriting workshop.
There’s adventure as Cressida Cowell launches the paperback of her new, best-selling book, The Wizards of Once in a special event; author David Solomons talks all things superheroes and villians as he presents My Brother is a Superhero and My Evil Twin is a Supervillain; and illustrator Tony De Saulles talks about Bee Boy: Clash of the Killer Queens.
STEM takes centre stage as maths prodigy Anne-Marie Imafidon joins the rest of her fellow STEMettes to inspire young women into science, technology, engineering and maths; while authors Alex Frith, Alice James and Jerome Martin offer 100 Things To Know About Space.
BBC presenter Katie Thistleton talks about mental health and growing up, offering insight and anecdotes from her own life and Kate Pankhurst talks Fantastically Great Women Who Made History from suffragette leader Flora Drummond to pirate queen, Sayidda Al-Hurra.
On Friday 25 May – Key Stages 3 and 4 – the programme includes inspiring real-life stories, empowering workshops, history and new fiction.
There’s empowerment for young people as poet, author, and artist Laura Dockrill champions freedom of self-expression as she talks about her new book Big Bones; broadcaster and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney presents her inspiring new book Open Your Heart, Learn to Love Your Life and Love Yourself; and war correspondent Sue Turton teaches how to disrupt the system, force change and devise world-changing campaigns with the help of her own political toolkit.
Stories of real-life experiences aim to inspire audiences aspoet, author and playwright Eric Ngalle Charles tells his uplifting story of how literature and creative writing helped him to overcome human trafficking and living on the streets, while the team behind the Artemis Fowl graphic novels – authors Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and illustrator Giovanni Rigano – offer an epic, heart-breaking journey across continents with Illegal.
Maths prodigy Anne-Marie Imafidon returns with the rest of her fellow STEMettes to inspire young women into science, technology, engineering and maths. 
History is explored as Sally Nicholls marks 100 years since the Representation of the People Act of 1918, documenting the suffrage movement from the point of view of three young women of the time, and costume historian Lucy Adlington talks fashion, fabrics and home-sewing in the context of the Second World War, to celebrate publication of her new novel The Red Ribbon.
Bali Rai, author of Tales From India and Web of Darkness, asks whether empathy in modern Britain is on the wane; multi-award-winning author of Skellig, David Almond, introduces his magical new novel The Colour of the Sun; award-winning author Patrice Lawrence presents her new novel Indigo Donut; and Welsh poet-rapper Aneirin Karadog invites audience to join him chance to play your part in a multi-lingual, multi-form performance of rap and poetry.

Subscribe to our free fortnightly newsletter and stay ahead with the latest news in edtech

Related stories

Julian Clary reveals why he wanted to write children's books

'Hay Levels' educational resources launched at Hay Festival

Instructor uses Möbius to enhance learning

Market place - view all

Text Help

Texthelp Ltd, was first incorporated in 1996 and quickly became th...


Our positioning in the services industry is original and unique. It...


Interface is a global leader in the design and manufacture of susta...