Los premios Nobel asistentes al Hay Festival 2023 Joseph Stiglitz, Maria Ressa, Abdulrazak Gurnah y Oleksandra Matviichuk. Photo by Daniel Mordzinski- Hay Festival.
Nobel laureates attending Hay Festival 2023 — Joseph Stiglitz, Maria Ressa, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Oleksandra Matviichuk. Photo: Daniel Mordzinski- Hay Festival.

The top three moments of this year's Hay Festival Cartagena

The festival took place from Jan. 26 to 29 and featured 150 special guests from every continent.


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Every year, the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia brings together the greatest personalities of the world. From writers to musicians, professors, economists and journalists, they're all in one place to discuss current issues. 

This year, the festival gathered more than 54,000 attendees at the different stages around the city. Here are some of the highlights: 

1. Pacifican Power and Racial Diversity 

The music group from the Colombian Pacific had the honor of opening the festival with a music workshop at the 14 de Febrero Educational Institution in the El Pozón neighborhood — where low-income youth look to their future. 

At the opening event, Colombia's Minister of Culture Patricia Ariza spoke about the importance of opening artistic and cultural spaces in places where inequality reigns, such as the case of the surrounding neighborhoods in Cartagena. 

"To go to this part of the city that is the expression of inequality, but it is also the expression of strength, strength and resistance," Ariza said.

2. Abdulrazak Gurnah and Afterlives

The Tanzanian author talked with Colombian Juan Gabriel Vázquez about his latest work Afterlives, in which he narrates the story of several refugees. 

Gurnah spoke to the audience about how to tell stories of reality, either from fiction or documentary. He also mentioned various aspects of the colonialism we are currently experiencing and the influence of literature. 

"People can come from different contexts, read something and empathize, that's what literature does all the time," he said during the discussion, talking about the power of good texts. Gurnah also won the Nobel Prize for Literature after releasing Afterlives.

3. Nobel Prize winner in Economics Joseph Stiglitz

The American economist spoke with Peruvian Farid Kahhat about various issues that affect the stability of countries, such as inequality, inflation and poverty.

Stiglitz said that it is important to start implementing better tourism practices that have less impact on the environment. 

"The market has not done enough to advance the green transition," was one of the assertions the Nobel laureate left in the minds of attendees. 

The Hay Festival was also attended by other prominent figures like Bernardine Evaristo, the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize; Colombian musician Juanes; and Nobel Peace Prize winners, Maria Ressa and Oleksandra Matviichuk, among many others. 


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