Hay Festival launches Eurovision Book Contest

Hay Festival is launching a special project to explore and celebrate the most dazzling European literature, inviting audiences to champion old favourites and discover new recommendations with the Eurovision Book Contest.

This is coming ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest landing in the UK in May, the festival says in a statement on its website.

“Building on the spirit of the Eurovision Song Contest and emphasising the role of literature in forging understanding and empathy across borders, the project invites readers to submit their favourite fiction from any of the 37 countries competing in this year’s contest at https://www.hayfestival.com/eurovision-book-contest/

“All genres and languages are welcome, but suggestions are limited to anything published in the years since the song contest began in 1956. Everyone who nominates a book will be entered into a prize draw to win a bundle of some of the selected titles, plus a free subscription to the Festival’s Hay Player archive of digital content,” says the statement.

A final selection of one book from each country will be made by an expert panel on the eve of Hay Festival in Wales this spring (25 May-4 June) to create an ambitious reading list of 37 titles to inspire, examine and entertain. 

A special Hay Festival event on Friday 2 June at 8.30 pm will invite audiences to discuss the selection with an expert panel while digital content shared throughout the Festival will showcase the selection, amplified by Festival partners globally. 

According to Hay Festival CEO Julie Finch, sharing stories across borders has never felt more important. 

“Alongside our ongoing partnership with Ukraine’s largest book Festival, Lviv BookForum, this collaboration with the Eurovision Song Contest aims to celebrate the role of great literature in forging understanding and empathy globally. We are so looking forward to reading the titles that our international audience recommends and to showcasing them at our Festival in Wales this spring,” says Finch.

Hay Festival 2023 takes place 25 May-4 June in the world’s first booktown, Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Featuring more than 600 writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in conversations, performances and debates, events will take place at the free-to-enter Festival village on Dairy Meadows, presenting a range of pop-ups to explore, including the Festival Bookshop, Wild Garden, Make and Take Tent, a host of exhibitors and market stalls, cafés and restaurants. 


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