Hay Festival and Tes unveil #BooksToInspire

On the opening day of Hay Festival Wales (23 May-2 June), Hay Festival and Tes have unveiled the results of their joint #BooksToInspire campaign, drawing up essential reading lists for primary and secondary schools to inspire the next generation of book-lovers and world-changers.

Marking 32 years of Hay Festival in Wales, the lists – one for primary schools, and one for secondary –were drawn from hundreds of public nominations shared online over the past three months.

The resulting selections merge great books of all genres, fiction and non-fiction, published in the English language, from Homer’s The Odyssey through to Bryony Gordon’s You Got This. Blending modern classics with lesser known masterpieces, the full list features books by Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Jamila Gavin, René Goscinny, Jessica Love, Margaret Atwood, Roald Dahl, and Hay Festival 2019 speakers Atinuke, Onjali Q Rauf, Janne Teller, Jacqueline Wilson, Joseph Coelho, Cressida Cowell, Matt Haig, Michelle Paver, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jeanette Winterson, Alex Wheatle, Tishani Doshi, Nicola Davies, Michael Morpurgo and new UK poet laureate Simon Armitage.

Titles will be discussed at a special event hosted by Tes at Hay Festival on Monday 27 May. Tickets are on sale now at hayfestival.org/wales or on 01497 822629.

Julia Eccleshare, Children's Director at Hay Festival, said: “Here are books with the power to change lives, the books we think every library and school should have on their shelves because they are full of engaging perspectives and important stories for young people to encounter. These stories transcend difference, highlighting the shared experiences that unite us all: love and death, sadness and laughter. This list is a celebration of books for young people and the incredible talents of the people that write and illustrate them. Each offers lessons that can benefit young readers today and arm them with the tools to take on the world and instil a love of reading that will last a lifetime. Race you to the library!”

Ann Mroz, editor of Tes, said: Tes is delighted to be partners on this project and with the wider Hay Festival. It should go without saying that reading – especially for pleasure – is one of the cornerstones of building literacy throughout a school and throughout the school system. To have been so heavily involved with something that encourages and foments debate in this area has been a joy.”

Explore the full lists here.

The campaign aims to underscore the importance of reading for pleasure and encourage more people to set aside time for it more often. Not only does OECD research show that reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success, it’s also proven to be formative in other ways, helping to increase empathy, deepen relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and improve wellbeing.

Hay Festival #BooksToInspire is part of the festival’s wider education work and commitment to young people in 2019 that also includes the free Programme for Schools on Thursday 23 May and Friday 24 May, Hay Compass, Hay Academy, Beacons Project, free tickets for students in higher and further education, Hay Festival Scribblers Tour, a student exchange with Bradford Literary Festival, a day for adoptive families run with The Family Place, and a series of festival live-streams to schools and libraries across the UK.

Visit here to find out more.

The full programme for the festival's 32nd edition in Wales (23 May-2 June 2019) is out now, with appearances from over 600 speakers across 11 days. Award-winning writers gather to launch new work, while global policy-makers, pioneers and innovators seek solutions to the biggest issues of our time, from the rise of populism to the climate crisis.

A vibrant schedule of late-night music, comedy and entertainment appeals to all ages, while HAYDAYS and #HAYYA programmes encourage younger readers to get creative with talks and workshops. Free to enter, the festival village is comprised of 10 tented venues, the Festival Bookshop, HAYDAYS courtyard, Wild Garden, Make and Take Tent, the Scribblers Hut, the Cube, the Mess Tent, and market stalls, cafés, exhibitions and restaurants.

Explore the full programme now here.