At the weekend, I was lucky enough to visit the Hay Literary Festival in Hay-On-Wye! This is a festival I have wanted to attend for many years and my boyfriend surprised me on my 30th birthday last month with tickets which I was very excited about! Here is a little about the festival and what we saw…
With the weather being on the dreary side I was pleased to see on arrival on the festival site that everything was under cover with raised walkways so fortunately we were not impacted too much by the rain and mud. Inside events take place across various stages of differing size and there are also onsite bookshops, a gallery, lots of places to eat and drink and some lovely places to sit and read. It was a wonderful sight and I loved to see so many fellow booklovers of all ages in one place to hear their favourite authors and to be inspired.
Across the three days I attended, I went to nine events:
- A conversation with Kayo Chingonyi, winner of the 2018 Dylan Thomas Prize
- Simon Mayo in conversation with Georgina Godwin about his first adult novel, Mad Blood Stirring
- Gaby Wood, Philipe Sands, Elif Shafak and Juan Gabriel Vasquez discussing the Golden Man Booker Prize
- Javier Cercas and Juan Gabriel Vasquez in conversation about fiction and language
- Ian McEwan in conversation with Stig Abell about his writing, and introducing the winner of the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award
- Jim Broadbent and Dix talking to Georgina Godwin about their graphic novel, Dull Margaret
- David Baddiel – My Family: Not The Sitcom
- Edith Hall, Shazia Mirza, Allison Pearson, Elif Shafak, Sharlene Teo and Gabrielle Walker talking about the #Vote100Books campaign
- Frances Hardinge in conversation with Georgina Godwin about her novel, A Skinful Of Shadows
As you can see we attended a variety of events and I found them all to be enjoyable, entertaining and fascinating. I particularly enjoyed hearing Simon Mayo talk about his new book and the history behind it which sounds fascinating. I also nearly cried laughing at David Baddiel’s show and was a little star struck meeting Jim Broadbent!
I managed to get my copies of Mad Blood Stirring and Dull Margaret signed, but despite browsing the festival bookshop numerous times I was quite restrained and resisted the urge to buy lots more books. I do however have a few in mind to buy in the near future. The Vote 100 event in particular gave me lots of inspiration for future reading and I came away with a list of inspiring books written by women to discover.
I really enjoyed attending my first Hay Festival, and I would love to go again next year!