Hay Festival has announced the programme for its 31st edition, taking place May 24 to June 3 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.

Featuring over 600 of the world's greatest writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in 800 events across 11 days, the festival showcases the latest ideas in the arts, sciences and current affairs, alongside a rich schedule of music, comedy and entertainment for all ages.

A galaxy of literary stars launch new work, while the biggest ever youth programmes give young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and get creative.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival said: “We are facing alarming insecurities and crises. We need to approach the complexity of those challenges with all the hope and courage we can muster. We need to hear the wisest voices, not the loudest. And we need the gift that novelists and poets give - the ability to imagine the world from someone else’s point of view. There has never been a time when we were in such urgent need of empathy. It's a time for serious thought and serious work, and so too, it's a time to laugh and a time to dance and a time to feast. Let's do it together.”.

The Festival site is free to enter, with ticketed events in 10 tented venues, plus a range of areas to explore, including the Festival Bookshop, the Hay Festival Wild Garden, creative workshops in the Make and Take Tent, the Scribblers Hut and market stalls, cafés and restaurants.

In an age increasingly characterised by abbreviated content and algorithmic recommendation, Hay Festival promotes serendipitous discovery through the long-form, immersive experience, offering a platform for informed conversation and the chance for inspiration to take hold.

Amongst the extensive programme Hay on Earth looks at innovations in sustainability and the future of farming. This will feature talks by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove and Google’s sustainability lead Kate Brandt. Meanwhile, nature and travel writers take audiences around the world, including Monty Don, Horatio Clare, Patrick Barkham, and adventurers Bear Grylls, Ursula Martin, Andy Kirkpartick and Chris Bonnington.

The whole programme can be found at hayfestival.com