Gary Lineker, Judi Dench and Miriam Margolyes announced as Hay Festival speakers as programme revealed

Hay Festival has unveiled a stellar line-up of speakers and hosts for this year’s event, with Gary Lineker, Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Miriam Margolyes all set to feature on stage and beyond.

The 37th spring edition of the annual cultural event will take place across 11 days, from 23 May to 2 June, in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales.

The programme for the festival was revealed on Tuesday (12 March) and promises to provide a wide selection of events and activities for all, balancing the launch of the most exciting non-fiction and fiction works with debate over current world issues.

Last year’s programme featured the likes of pop superstar Dua Lipa and two-time Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood.

One of the top-billed names for the event is Lineker, who is confirmed as a guest for the festival’s Sports Day.

Dame Judi will headline the drama and performance offerings as she shares extracts from her book, Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent, alongside actor and director Brendan O’Hea.

Elsewhere, Stephen Fry will share a preview of his next set of Greek retellings in the literary segment, along with My Sister’s Keeper author Jodi Picoult.

Gary Lineker, Miriam Margolyes, Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Fry will be at the 2024 Hay Festival (Getty)
Gary Lineker, Miriam Margolyes, Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Fry will be at the 2024 Hay Festival (Getty)

Miriam Margolyes will participate under the “Inspiring Life Stories” banner with her memoir Oh Miriam!, in a segment that will feature artistic figures sharing anecdotes from their lives to provoke thoughtful conversation.

Others who will share life tales include singer Bonnie Tyler (Straight from the Heart), BBC journalist Clive Myrie (Everything is Everything), musician Charlotte Church, comedian and screenwriter David Baddiel (My Family: The Memoir), host of The Repair Shop Jay Blades (Life Lessons), trader Gary Stevenson (The Trading Game), MP Wes Streeting (One Boy, Two Bills and a Fry Up), comedian Viv Groskup (One Ukrainian Summer), singer-songwriter James Blunt (Loosely Based on a Made-Up Story), and sportswoman Rebecca Ajulu-Bushell.

Charlotte Church and James Blunt are on the programme at Hay Festival 2024 (Getty)
Charlotte Church and James Blunt are on the programme at Hay Festival 2024 (Getty)

Comedians will also exhibit new material at the festival. Audiences can attend shows by Sara Pascoe, Jon Ronson, Ruby Wax, Nish Kumar, Angela Barnes, Adam Kay, Josh Berry, Garth Marenghi, Sofie Hagen, Ahir Shah, Natalie Haynes, Julian Clary and Marcus Brigstocke.

Events will take place across eight stages in the redesigned free-to-enter Festival site at Dairy Meadows – which also offers a range of spaces for audiences to explore and enjoy, including the Bookshop, Wild Garden, the Make & Take Tent and the new Family Garden where young readers can kickstart their creative journeys.

There will also be the opportunity to get involved with the festival outside the grounds, in and around Hay-on-Wye, including performances all week at St Mary’s Church.

Julie Finch, the Hay Festival Global CEO, expressed her anticipation for how this year’s proceedings will be able to unite festivalgoers amid a time of division.

“In a year when more voters than ever in history will head to the polls, as at least 64 countries hold their elections, we present a programme to bring people together, respectfully exploring different perspectives and the power of storytelling to unite us,” she said in a statement.

“With new venues on our free-to-enter Festival site and diverse new projects throughout the programme, this is a festival for everyone. Join us in a world of different ideas.”

Tickets are on sale now to Hay Festival Members, Patrons and Benefactors here. The general sale begins at noon on Friday 15 March.