Hay Festival Abu Dhabi brought writers and readers together for conversation and new ideas. From 25 to 28 February 2020, 99 internationally acclaimed writers and performers from 20 countries gathered together for four days of entertainment and inspiration. Thank you for joining us.


As part of Hay Festival Abu Dhabi’s commitment to bringing literature to life for students of all ages we were excited to offer a Programme for Schools.
Offering a fantastic event line-up, our Programme for Schools inspired and entertained thousands of local students aged 7–16 years at Manarat al Saadiyat on the mornings of Tuesday 25, Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 February 2020. We welcomed over 70 public and private schools from across Abu Dhabi to free events that aimed to enhance enjoyment of reading for pleasure and offer students new opportunities and ideas. These specially curated events ran for 45 minutes between 9am and 12.15pm, and each morning offered students the same opportunities to meet authors and to browse and buy books to have signed in the Hay Festival Abu Dhabi Bookshop. Our Programme for Schools included a stellar selection of poets, novelists and entertainers blending live performances, workshops and storytelling in Arabic and English. Hay Festival Abu Dhabi Programme for Schools was made possible thanks to our local education partner Early Starters UAE and the support of ADEK, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Tolerance and the British Council.


We invited a selection of poets, novelists and thinkers from Hay Festival Abu Dhabi 2020 to participate in sessions with students, faculty and contracted workers at local universities including Zayed University, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). The free university sessions ran on campuses on the afternoons of Tuesday 25, Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 February 2020 in both Arabic and English.
Alongside this, we’re delighted to have collaborated with NYUAD’s Office of Social Responsibility on a three-day creative writing workshop for contracted staff, domestic workers and other community members who work at the NYUAD campus. The finished pieces of writing will be published on Hay Festival International Writers’ Blog.


  1. Sharing literature locally and internationally in order to promote dialogue, cultural exchange, education and development.
  2. Presenting inclusive and accessible events with international artists, and contributing to social action and development.
  3. Providing free tickets to students at each festival.
  4. Increasing the impact of Hay Festival events through Hay Player, reaching a global audience in different languages.


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