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Books, Ben Okri and Book Aid International: The power of books in reimagining futures at this year’s Hay Festival

Published: 5 April

In this year’s Book Aid International platform at Hay Festival, the Booker Prize winning poet and novelist Ben Okri and youth leader from The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Zainab Umar will explore how readers and writers can help to influence the future.     

They will discuss how creating a generation of readers is central to regenerating communities in Nigeria and around the world and their conversation will consider how storytellers shape narratives on a personal and national level. They will examine the role of reading in helping people to re-imagine their future, and how books play a part in modulating the past and opening up new destinies.  

Ben Okri in conversation with Zainab Umar: The power of books in re-imaging the future 
Date: Sunday 29th May  
Time: 7pm 
Location: Hay Festival – Hay on Wye  

For more information and tickets please visit the Hay Festival website. 
Ben Okri said: 

“Books can help people to re-imagine their futures. I am delighted to be at this year’s Hay Festival with Zainab to talk about how readers and writers can influence the world for tomorrow. I hope you’ll join me and the wonderful charity, Book Aid International, at this event to explore the power of stories.” 

Zainab Umar said: 
“I’m excited to be in conversation with one of Africa’s most respected voices, Ben Okri. In his novel, The Famished Road, he takes the reader into the realms of the spiritual and ‘real’ world. For me, Hay’s festival is a haven for readers and writers alike, to plunge oneself into the world of fiction, sci-fi, history and other genres. I can’t wait.” 

Notes to editors 

For further information and comment please contact Book Aid International’s Communications Manager, Olivia Jones: 

e: olivia.jones@bookaid.org  
t: +44 (0)20 7733 3577   


High quality images of both speakers can be found here: https://bookaid.dash.app/sharing/type/collection/jiwah-hay-2022-speakers  

Interview availability 

Please contact olivia.jones@bookaid.org if you would like to speak to Zainab Umar, Ben Okri or Book Aid International for interviews in the run-up to the event at Hay Festival.  

About Book Aid International 

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity aims to ship at least one million brand new books to thousands of communities where people have very few opportunities to access books and read. 

Book Aid International has been supporting Silanyo National Library since its opening, sending so far over 45,000 books.  

For more information visit: www.bookaid.org 

About Hay Festival 

Hay Festival is a not-for-profit organisation that brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world. The events inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be. 

Nobel Prize-winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas. The Festival’s global conversation shares the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences live, in print and online. Hay Festival also runs wide programmes of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages. 

For more information visit: www.hayfestival.org