The Queen’s Reading Room will partner with the world’s leading book festival on Thursday 30 May at Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024.

Established by Her Majesty The Queen as an Instagram book club in 2021, The Queen’s Reading Room is a literary charity on a mission to spread the joy of reading. 

This special event at Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 will see Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho join fellow authors Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Patron of The Reader Organisation) and Cressida Cowell (Children’s Laureate 2019–22) to delve into the history of children’s literature, giving us a whistle-stop tour of their own favourites. 

Taking place on the Global Stage, in the centre of the free-to-enter Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye site, the session will see books brought to life in readings from acclaimed film and stage actor Freddie Fox (The Crown, House of the Dragon).

The event will also explore the link between reading and wellbeing and comes after a neuroscientific study commissioned by The Queen’s Reading Room revealed that reading for just five minutes daily can reduce stress by nearly 20%, improve concentration and focus by as much as 11% and help readers feel more able to tackle challenges. 

Tickets are on sale now at

  The Queen’s Reading Room event is part of a packed programme of activities at  Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye, with a dynamic line-up of 600-plus events, 23 May–2 June.

Hay Festival Global CEO Julie Finch said: “The Queen’s Reading Room is a charity that shares our mission of spreading the joy of reading globally. It is a privilege to support their work in reaching new audiences, partnering on their first public event in Wales to showcase a thrilling line-up of writers and performers for young people. 

“Her Majesty The Queen has been a wonderful supporter of Hay Festival Global over the years, most recently opening our digital Festival in 2021, and we are delighted with this continued engagement through The Queen’s Reading Room.” 

Vicki Perrin, CEO of The Queen’s Reading Room said: “The Queen’s Reading Room is delighted to be making our Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye debut with an enchanting conversation featuring celebrated authors Joseph Coelho, Cressida Cowell, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and actor Freddie Fox. 

“As a charity, we are fascinated by the relationship between reading fiction and wellbeing and look forward to presenting this very special live edition of The Queen’s Reading Room, which will reflect on the profound effect reading fiction has on our wellbeing and brain health.

“We know that this will be an unmissable event at Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024, and we very much look forward to connecting with our audience in Wales.”

Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 is supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford, Welsh Government, Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales, lead media partner the BBC and digital media partner TikTok.

Launching the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around significant global issues, the programme sees writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators take part from around the world, offering big thinking and bold ideas. 

Events offer something for all, beginning with the free schools programme, 23–24 May, and including a vibrant strand for families throughout. 

New projects woven through the Festival include The Platform for new creatives, the daily News Review offering analysis of the latest events, the first-ever Hay Festival Sports Day, and Hay Festival Green, prompting innovative solutions to the climate crisis.

Late nights at the Festival are given over to great music, comedy and entertainment, while a host of free pop-up activities and performances around the site keeps audience entertained between sessions. 

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, Make & Take Tent, a host of exhibitors and market stalls, cafés and restaurants, and the new Family Garden where young readers can kick-start their creative journeys – as well as in and around Hay-on-Wye, including performances all week at St Mary’s Church.