The Hay Festival is always one place or many places. It was also during the most complex moments of the pandemic, when the organization was forced to opt for virtual or hybrid and reduced participation formats. Now this great festival of culture lands again in a city, the Mexican Querétaro, to meet face to face with readers in the seventh edition of the event. It will do so from September 1 to 4 with two Nobel Prize winners, great names of letters, musicians, scientists and chroniclers. And with some purposes, beginning with “celebrating ideas, literature, but at the same time helping to create critical minds,” Cristina Fuentes La Roche, international director of the festival, emphasized this week. “As the Nobel Prize for Literature Wole Soyinka said, that he will be with us in Querétaro, the greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.”
The Nigerian writer will discuss the human condition and spheres of power with editor Diego Rabasa, while another Norwegian medal winner, Yemeni human rights defender Tawakkol Karman will reflect on the fight against authoritarianism, education and information . The Hay Festival brings together 145 participants from 15 countries, including the American Vivian Gornick, Rosa Montero, who will break down the gears of creativity with Jan Martínez Ahrens, director of EL PAÍS in America; Irish poet Paul Muldoon; the chronicler Alma Guillermoprieto; British journalist Caitlin Moran in conversation with Gabriela Warkentin; the multi-award winning Margo Glantz; the Mexican narrator Alma Delia Murillo; or Horacio Castellanos Moya, who will talk about his most recent book with Javier Lafuente, deputy director of EL PAÍS América.
When Almudena Grandes passed away last November, a multitude of readers were left speechless on both sides of the Atlantic. The There is Festival Queretaro will pay tribute on the closing day to the writer from Madrid through a collective reading to which the public can join. The lyrics will be, as always, the essential, although there will be time and spaces to explore other territories. Science and the environment, for example, from the hand of the American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst George Makari or the Spanish popularizers Carlos Briones and Antonio Martínez Ron. The story and the essay, together with Natalie Haynes, Juan Tallón, Yásnaya Elena Aguilar, Cristina Rivera Garza or Joseph Zárate.
The music proposal will be headed by Jarvis Cocker, refined lyricist, composer and poet, leader of Pulp, one of the cult bands of British pop of the eighties and nineties. Cocker will talk with Mariana H, while the Mexican pianist Jorge Viladoms will offer a performance at the opening of the festival. Four days that also aim to take attendees out of their comfort zone. “Surprise us and shake us”, summed up Cristina Fuentes La Roche. And, at the same time, “generate empathy, connect with what it means to be human.” A way, in short, of returning to the fundamentals of culture, capable of transforming looks, the eyes with which one looks at the world.
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The Hay Festival Querétaro invites you to celebrate critical thinking with two Nobel Prize winners, literature, science and music