Hay Festival Boycott Statement

Today I am making the decision to withdraw from the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

I was due to speak at the festival later this month to promote my life affirming book ‘A Purposeful Life’.

It has since come to my attention that Hay-on-Wye festival is sponsored by investment company Baillie Gifford who, according to Fossil Free Books, 'profit from Israeli apartheid, occupation and genocide with up to £10bn invested in companies with direct or indirect links to Israel's defence, tech and cybersecurity industries', and are also exposed in investments in illegal Israeli settlements.

Of course Israel has the right to defend herself, it must however be within international law.

I have been shocked and disgusted by events in Gaza. With over 35,000 Palestinians now killed by the IDF - a majority of them women and children - and with Gaza on the brink of man-made famine, I cannot in good conscience participate in this festival. I repeat my call for an immediate ceasefire on both sides.

I join the hundreds of other authors in calling on Baillie Gifford to divest and cease profiting from the horrors of war.


The thing about principles is they mean nothing unless you are prepared to sacrifice something.


I was really looking forward to being part of the amazing Hay festival.


But as I said in ‘A Purposeful Life’ – “I couldn’t allow myself to turn a blind eye, and felt it was my duty to speak truth to power.”