Went up to Hay-on-Wye yesterday – the last day of the festival and at last, I made it! I first started Hay-Festival-going back in 1994, I think, and have missed only one or two years since then. My personal Haylights from the past fifteen years include seeing Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and Carol Shields – and, of course, reading there myself in 2006 for the launch of The Lie of the Land.

Yesterday, I made a beeline for the session on crime fiction featuring Icelandic novelist Yrsa Sigurdardottir. Since I’m both a crime fiction addict and an Icelandophile, this was an ideal session for me and I’m looking forward to reading the recently-published English translation of her novel, Last Rituals. Yesterday was special for another reason too as I was joined by about twenty friends for a big belated Birthday picnic. We managed to find a warm, dry, mud-free corner of the festival site and spent the afternoon chatting and eating lots of cake!

I love going to Hay out of Festival time too. My ideal day involves visiting all the secondhand bookshops in the morning, hiking up onto Hay Bluff and along Offa’s Dyke Path in the afternoon, then ending the day in The Granary for a supper of Tibetan roast! Bliss!

2 responses to “Hay Festival

  1. Yes, the Hay programme can certainly seem overwhelming. And it’s not easy to get accommodation – some people will already be booking now for next year…I sometimes get a bit nostalgic for the days when the festival was small and homely – sited in the grounds of a primary school in the centre of town, as opposed to a gi-normous field on the outskirts. I still love going, though…
    Thank you for wanting to come to Loose Muse – sorry you can’t make it but hope to meet to meet you at another event some time soon. Hope your concert goes well – where are you playing?

  2. 2 things: 1 – I’ve always wanted to go to Hay and never have. To be honest, the whole thing overwhelms me and I wouldn’t even know where to start (not to mention where to stay!). But one year, and soon, I hope. And 2: I see you’re reading at Loose Muse. I’d love to come but on this Monday I have an orchestra rehearsal I can not miss. We have a concert coming up on the 23rd. I’m so disappointed though. Do let me know when you’re reading in London next time. Another thing to put on my “am longing to do” list.

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