I am now home from the Hay Festival after an enjoyable and what proved to be an exhausting week. My thanks to those who welcomed me this year on the stewarding front - what a lovely bunch you all are! Special thanks to Anna who provided me with a local bed on which to crash last night and to Chris who very kindly dealt with a laptop anomaly of mine and delivered a five minute tutorial on Windows Vista. (Dearie me, I wasn't even shutting down the laptop properly. In fact, I wasn't shutting it down at all...) I am sure I now have a better idea of what I am doing with this laptop, although I am still some way off the 95% confidence mark.
Posts have started on the BBC site which you can read via this page. To date, submitted are G. F. Newman (& posted) on his novel Crime and Punishment, as well as John Micklethwait on religion and his co-authored book God is Back. Further posts will trickle through this coming week - I have a very busy couple of days to come (job interview on Tuesday) and will finish the rest at the end of the week. Coming up are:
- Anthony Horowitz (the adult session) on screenwriting and TV work with hints on what's to come from this prolific writer.
- The Digital Rights and Wrongs event for which you need to be prepared to be enthused and not worried for once! When it comes to the digital world both Jamie Byng of Canongate and Caroline Michel of lit agency PFD were truly inspirational, proving they are on the ball or indeed, ahead of the game. (Almost immediately, Michel earned my respect when she uttered a phrase that put her into the Theodore Levitt school of marketing thought; something in which I firmly believe. More later.)
- Geoff Dyer on his novel Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. Dyer was also surprised with the announcement (and presentation) at the end of his event - made by James Naughtie - that he had won this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing.
- A couple of other posts of a general nature, because you have to get a feel for the experience.
I have a word count limit for the BBC, so if anyone wishes to read a longer post for further information on G. F. Newman, the digital rights event or Anthony Horowitz, please let me know in an email or in the comments. Further notes can be transcribed later in the week for this blog's posts.
In a total contrast to last year's mud-filled site that needed a pump out from the local emergency services on more than one occasion, this year's Hay Festival was the recipient of much glorious sun and people were devouring ice-cream; drinking water as if their kidneys might pack up soon; wearing shorts; and wearing sandals without socks, if we were lucky. I'd love to say that it's only the men who might make the latter faux pas, but I did spot a petite woman in a sundress wearing cork platformed and high-heeled wedge sandals and... socks. Hats were also in abundance. We had Panamas, Tilleys, Potties and peaked-caps.
In addition to the adults there were also plenty of children having a fantastic time. Hay Fever focuses on the children, but they also have immense fun in simple things like running and jumping on and across the walkways; trying out the deckchairs to whoops of delight and surprise when they sink into the canvas and their feet no longer touch the floor; licking ice cream (which requires intense concentration); and seeing the animals.
This is a festival not just of literature and ideas, but a whole festival of fun for all the family for which you can take in the whole week and not suffer seaside pier dysfunction/flop.
It was a great ten days and if you haven't been yet - stop putting it off! Make it next year's main holiday.
A final note: Henning Mankell's event was cancelled and when I approached the Box Office for a ticket/return I was told this was because of health reasons. Let's hope the master of the Wallander series of books - now also on TV in the UK - makes a speedy recovery.