More than 60,000 attend Hay Festival in Colombia

More than 60,000 people attend Hay Festival events in Colombia over the past fortnight, with writers and readers gathering for conversations and performances in Cartagena, Medellín, and, for the first time, Jericó.

Hay Festival Cartagena (31 January-3 February) marked its 14th year with its most ambitious programme yet, featuring novelists and writers Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith, Madeleine Thien, Yoko Tawada, Luna Miguel, Kim Thúy, Manuel Vilas, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Laura Restrepo, Álvaro Enrigue and Mircea Cartarescu; Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi; campaigners Bianca Jagger, Michael Pollan and Lydia Cacho; academic Sarah Churchwell; lawyer Philippe Sands; director general of the New York Times, Mark Thompson; physicist José Ignacio Latorre; sculptor Doris Salcedo; architect Amanda Levete; Doctors Without Borders co-founder Jean-Christophe Rufin; Colombian actor Manolo Cardona; and journalist Enrique Santos Calderón. 

Hay Festival Medellín (30 January-1 February) and the inaugural Hay Festival Jerico (25-26 January) meanwhile gave voice to some of the biggest issues of our time; from climate change to migration, #MeToo to #FakeNews. Award-winning performers kept the show going until late at all three festivals, while HAY JOVEN for students, HAY FESTIVALITO for young people, and a series of events in communities across Colombia, in partnership with Plan International, ensured events reached the broadest possible audiences.

Cristina Fuentes La Roche, international director of Hay Festival, said: "Our societies seem to be increasingly polarised, questioning freedoms and sometimes denying opportunities to many people. For this reason, we feel very fortunate for the existence in Colombia of a space for difficult conversations, the free exchange of ideas and celebration of great literature. Our festivals in Cartagena, Medellín and Jericó have set the tone for our most ambitious year yet with programmes led by some of the world’s greatest living storytellers. Thank you to everyone who joined us."

Audio and video highlights from festival sessions can be found on Hay Player now.