‘Something for everybody’: Dua Lipa joins Margaret Atwood on Hay festival 2023 lineup

Pop star and Booker prize winner will both appear at the literary festival in Wales next year along with rock duo the Proclaimers and poet laureate Simon Armitage

Booker prize winner Margaret Atwood, musician Dua Lipa, rock duo the Proclaimers and poet laureate Simon Armitage are to appear at Hay festival 2023.

The festival today announced 32 early-bird events for its event next year, which will take place from 25 May to 4 June in Hay-on-Wye in Wales.

Atwood will speak about her short story collection Old Babes in the Wood, and Simon Armitage’s event will include readings from his forthcoming book of selected lyrics, Never Good With Horses. Dua Lipa will do a live recording of her podcast, At Your Service, while the Proclaimers will be among the live music performers at the festival.

Lipa said she had “wanted to explore the bookshops of Hay and experience the literary atmosphere of the Hay Festival for such a long time.”

“So I’m thrilled that I will be there next year to share stories on stage and off with some of my favourite authors, and to soak up the inspiration alongside my fellow book lovers.”

“There really is something for everybody,” said Hay festival CEO Julie Finch. “Obviously, Dua Lipa is a big one for us”, whose podcast recording will hopefully help the festival with its aim of “leaning into younger audiences”.

The festival is “doing more work” to attract more diverse audiences, while “recognising that this does take time, it’s not something that is going to happen overnight”, Finch added.

The 2023 festival will also aim to be one of its most accessible festivals ever, with partnerships with Adult Learning Wales, the University of South Wales, the Empathy Lab, Head4Arts and The Family Place helping it to put together projects to “attract harder-to-reach communities”. The festival will also put in place a “plethora of new sustainability measures” that will “help to tackle the environmental impacts of running a festival”.

Since 2020, the Hay festival has streamed at least some of its events online. Finch said she and her colleagues “really want to” do this again, and build on the “fantastic archive” they have been building.

Also appearing at the festival will be novelist Caleb Azumah Nelson, Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, historian Simon Schama, travel writer Isabella Tree, journalist Gary Younge and broadcaster Jon Snow, while Sir Michael Parkinson will talk about his book My Sporting Life: Memories, Moments and Declarations.

In 2023 the festival is partnering with the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna to present the first of a series of debates about the future of Europe. These events will include journalist Misha Glenny discussing the rise of autocracy with historian Orlando Figes, Turkish novelist and political thinker Ece Temelkuran, and Hungarian politician and expert in foreign policy Zsuzsanna Szelényi.

For children, the HAYDAYS programme includes an appearance by actor, writer and Rizzle Kicks member Jordan Stephens, who will be joined by illustrator Beth Suzanna to share their new book, The Missing Piece. Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson will discuss imagination and creativity, and historian Greg Jenner will talk about his history of everyday objects, You Are History.

The festival is also holding two free schools days at the beginning of the festivals, with live performances, workshops and storytelling sessions.

As well as music from the Proclaimers, there will be an all-star cast for a special Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year gala, led by Allie Esiri, editor of Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Day of the Year.

Others booked for the festival include journalist Jeremy Bowen, cook Rukmini Iyer and historian Andrea Wulf.

Early bird tickets are on sale now to Friends of Hay Festival, with a general sale beginning at 12pm on Friday 16 December. The full Hay Festival 2023 programme will be revealed in early spring.

• This article was amended on 14 December 2022. A previous version stated that Simon Armitage’s event would focus on his spoken word single Never Good With Horses, rather than his forthcoming book of the same name.


Sarah Shaffi and Lucy Knight

The GuardianTramp

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