“Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch, Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison, and Kinks lead singer Ray Davies are only a few of the many intellectual and artistic minds that will make their way to Wales this week for the country’s annual Hay Festival.
Located at the edge of the country’s lush Brecon Beacons National Park, the Hay Fest celebrates stand-out writing from poets, scientists, lyricists, comedians, novelists, environmentalists and anyone in-between. Famously described by former U.S. President Bill Clinton as “The Woodstock of the Mind,” the fest also encourages its guests to mingle and use the “power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking.”
This year’s festival, which runs from May 22 to June 1, is no exception. In addition to sessions featuring the above artists, this year’s lineup also includes talks by “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher, author Ian McEwan, and journalist Glenn Greenwald. Additionally, newly named Hay Festival President, Stephen Fry, and Dame Judi Dench will both make presentations in celebration of William Shakespeare in order to commemorate what would have been the Bard’s 450th birthday. On Saturday, May 24, Fry will discuss Shakespeare and love; while on Sunday June 1, Dench will talk with director Richard Eyre about her favorite Shakespearean “Speeches, Exits and Entrances.”
For those that can make the festival in person, be sure to pack appropriate snacks and clothes. Can’t make the festival this year? Consider adding a side trip through Wales if you’re sailing with Celebrity Cruises next summer!