Hay Festival Europa28 unveiled

Hay Festival has today announced the selection of women writers, artists and scientists taking part in a new global project reimagining the future of Europe. Their short stories and essays will be shared through a new anthology, Europa28: Visions for the Future, at Hay Festival Europa28 in European Capital of Culture 2020 Rijeka, Croatia, and at other events around the world.

These 28 women, one from each European country, represent a multi-disciplinary snapshot of the best minds of our time, including novelist Leïla Slimani, entrepreneur Hilary Cottam, activist Janne Teller, anthropologist Gloria Wekker, and actress Lisa Dwan.

Explore the full Hay Festival Europa28 selection here.

In March 2020 the anthology, Europa28: Visions for the Future, edited by Sophie Hughes and Sarah Cleave, will be published by Comma Press in the UK and Fraktura in Croatia, featuring short stories and essays from the selected writers on the subject of what Europe means to them. Find out more at commapress.co.uk/books/europa28/.

On 3-5 June 2020 the new festival, Hay Festival Europa28, will take place in the European Capital of Culture 2020 Rijeka, Croatia, featuring talks, debates and performances over three days in collaboration with the Festival of the European Short Story and Rijeka University. And over the next 12 months, the selected writers, artists and thinkers will be showcased at Hay Festival events in Mexico, Spain, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Wales, and through festivals and bookshops across Europe.

The project is co-funded by Creative Europe Programme of the European Union through Wom@rts, which aims to promote an equal, shared presence of women as active agents in the artistic arena, and runs a wide range of cultural activities in different European cities leading up to 2020.

Cristina Fuentes, Hay Festival international director, said: “Europe is a continent in perpetual change, it has been the birthplace to some of the world's most unifying works of art and its most terrifying ideologies. Hay Festival Europa28 seeks to unearth the new ideas and art that can lead us forwards in this moment of political and cultural division, driven by an inspiring group of women who share their visions as beacons to guide the next generation. Our new anthology and events will be spaces in which to think and to hope. Join us.”

Sarah Cleave, Publishing Manager at Comma Press, said: “As a publisher, Comma is committed to platforming writers and writing that challenge readers and offer new perspectives on global issues. The stories and essays gathered in this anthology do exactly that; they examine both the idea and the reality of Europe and put forward a set of ideas – a creative manifesto if you like – on how we might rebuild it for the better.”

Hilary Cottam, author of Radical Help and Hay Festival Europa28 representative for the UK, said about her part in the project: “We are in the grip of a technology revolution that is changing the contours of our continent; our public and private worlds. In response, Europe needs a sibling social revolution: bold systems, radical mindsets: new ways of supporting all to flourish. This is my work – the creation of new and radical social systems designed with and for communities across Europe. So I am honoured and delighted to be collaborating with the amazing women of Hay Festival Europa28: together we will seed something special.”

Visit hayfestival.org/europa28 to explore the full list with detailed biographies.

A digital project launched alongside today’s announcement invites the public to submit their own thoughts on what Europe means to them for the chance to win a trip to Hay Festival Europa28 in Rijeka next June and a copy of the new collection. Visit hayfestival.org/europa28/competition to find out more.

The announcement was made at the 32nd Hay Festival Wales, where award-winning writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators gathered to launch new work and debate solutions to the biggest issues of our time, from the rise of populism to the climate crisis. Meanwhile, Hay Festival Europa28 writers Paula Bonet, Hilary Cottam, Kapka Kassabova and Janne Teller joined anthology editor Sophie Hughes to preview their work in a panel discussion available on Hay Player shortly at hayfestival.org/hayplayer.