The Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 Line-up Has Been Announced

08 January 2020
Culture, Festival, Events, Abu Dhabi, Middle East, UAE, Adunis, Mashrou' Leila, Literary, Hay festival
The literary festival makes its Abu Dhabi debut this February, in partnership with GQ Middle East

Hay festival, the literary and arts festival that began life in Hay-on-Wye in Wales UK, makes its debut in the UAE next month, in partnership with GQ Middle East. Once described as “Woodstock for the mind” by Bill Clinton, the four-day UAE edition promises to live up to the reputation of its forbears, with a stellar cast of talent.

The official line-up, announced today, features appearances from 65 participants representing 20 nationalities, and includes Nobel and Booker Prize winners, novelists, scientists, historians and poets as well as film screenings and musical performances from bands including GQ Middle East cover stars Mashrou Leila.

Mashrou Leila GQ Middle East Cover

Read More: Mashrou’ Leila are GQ Middle East’s November cover stars

The event will close with a 90th birthday gala for Syrian poet and GQ Middle East award winner, Adunis.

Considered the greatest living Arabic poet, Adunis will also host seminars at Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi, about contemporary poetry.

Read More: Adonis wins GQ Middle East lifetime achievement award

Elsewhere on the line-up are Booker International Prize 2019 Winner Jokha Alharthi and Booker Prize 2019 Winner Bernardine Evaristo, Nobel Prize winners Wole Soyinka and Ahmed Galai of Nigeria and Tunisia respectively.

Lebanese novelist and winner of this year’s International prize for Arabic fiction, Hoda Barakat, will be joined by Iraqi author and fellow award winner Ahmed Saadawi. His novel Frankenstein in Baghdad won him the prize in 2014.

Over the course of four days (February 25-28) at Abu Dhabi’s cultural centre, Manarat al Saadiyat, all events will be translated in and out of Arabic.

The list of contributors and performers includes:

  • Jokha Alharthi
  • Bernardine Evaristo
  • Ahdaf Soueif
  • Fatima Bhutto
  • Hoda Barakat
  • Ahmed Saadawi
  • Mohammed Hasan Alwan
  • Youssef Rakha
  • Shahad al Rawi
  • Miguel Syjuco
  • Wole Soyinka
  • Shirin Ebadi
  • Ahmed Galai
  • William Dalrymple
  • Shashi Tharoor
  • Jung Chang
  • Hallie Rubenhold
  • Ahmed al Shamsy
  • Peter Frankopan
  • Jerry Brotton
  • Bettany Hughes
  • Qassim Haddad
  • Tishani Doshi
  • Yang Lian
  • Hanan Sayed Worrell

For the full line up and to purchase tickets visit