The opening weekend of this year's online Hay Festival saw more than 210,000 event streams, organisers have said.

Book lovers from more than 63 countries watched talks by writers and performers beamed directly to their homes, as part of an online version of the popular annual festival.

It was arranged to make up for the cancellation of this year's festival because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Among the events were a preview of Stephen Fry's upcoming Troy, and a fresh look at history with Rutger Bregman, Greg Jenner, Yan Lan and Philippe Sands.

Among those also speaking at the event this week were Hilary Mantel, Roddy Doyle and David Mitchell.

Live sessions are being streamed via Crowdcast, offering registered users the opportunity to interactive with fellow audience members and pose their questions to speakers, with an overflow option running on YouTube because of the level of demand.

Festival director Peter Florence said: “It’s been an astonishing and exhilarating weekend.

"The writers and artists have created extraordinarily rich and thrilling new work. We couldn’t ever have imagined how audiences in 63 countries would respond with such warmth to the intimacy of being in writer’s houses, nor how powerfully the stories would land in this strangest of times.

"This new, global Hay crowd is reinventing the festival, and offering tantalising opportunities for the future. I am amazed by the sheer brilliance and ingenuity of my colleagues who are making this play. It’s a joyful adventure.”