By Carmen Rioja
After taking care of my parents one month in a kind of covid isolated home made unit, and after our PCR tests were negative, I had to had an intensive healing weekend for myself. I went to attend cultural Hay Festival in Querétaro City.
“Hay Festival is a cultural event accessible for everyone that celebrates the art and science throughout inclusive events with international artists. Literature, visual arts, cinema, music, geopolitics, journalism, the environment… all go together with dialogue and celebration.”
Originally founded in Hay in Wales, this festival is widely known by its celebrated guests that will include a couple or more Nobel Prizes, and some of the best scientific, literary, and artistic minds of the world, all gathering to exchange and share their ideas with an audience larger than 500,000 thousand people from around the world. This Querétaro 2021 edition in September reunited around 170 guests of 19 countries, and around 50,000 presential participants.
Programming included more than 70 events. Access and occupancy of theaters was limited to prevent Covid propagation. I was so tired after being fulltime nurse that I missed many wonderful lectures. Yet the few events I was able to attend, were outstanding. You can now watch some of the videos. Julián Herbert interview to Nobel Prize J. M.G. Le Clézio, Svetlana Alexevich, author of Voices of Chernoville, and then my Latin American favorite writers, Pilar del Río, Santiago Roncagliolo, Juan Villoro, Rosa Beltrán.
I felt like coming back from the death to join the inspiring living ones! All this Covid pandemic has been like a Zombie Apocalypse’s. There are two sides in this world. Those who walk in one direction with lack of flexibility to flow with others in the universe. Zombies alike. I have zombie moods at times. On the other side, there are the alive ones, active minds and spirits, those are the ones that pose questions, trigger curiosity, motivate and cheer others. There were so many bright minds in the Hay Festival, that is obvious, but also there were so many vibrant and inspiring attending people that I felt so, so cured of all my previous stress, and isolation.
Querétaro city has the most wonderful people and historic center. I had a magical stay at Casa del Atrio Hotel, facing Museo de Arte, near of Teatro de la Ciudad. We had comida Mexicana with best seller author of Biography of Silence, Pablo D’Ors at restaurant Ticua, tasting dishes from Oaxaca.
I really hope that more of these events get the institutional support they need to survive. We all are islands, is true, but the brighter projects are made in community. All the books are available in Gandhi in a devoted section. I strongly recommend The Undying, from Anne Boyer. If you would like to have a glimpse of this festival just visit the web page and don’t miss the subscriptions to get the available recordings.