I spent the bank holiday weekend at the Hay Festival. From Friday through to Monday, I attended various events which covered a great deal of fiction, but also science as well as comedy from Sara Pascoe and Bill Bailey. The festival is still on (it finishes on 2 June) and as much as I’d love to stay for the whole 10 days, I think that I would bankrupt myself, as well as needing an extra vehicle to carry all the books home in!
I enjoyed all of the events I attended, but in particular:
Elizabeth Day – How to Fail
Author and journalist Elizabeth Day spoke about her latest publication How to Fail – a non-fiction book about the way in which the mistakes we make can make us stronger, and how to use these experiences in a positive way. During the talk, Elizabeth was very open about her own experiences that she sees as a failure, and while I haven’t read the book (yet – it’s on the TBR!) I think that the book will continue in the same vein.
Most of the talks at the Hay Festival give the audience an opportunity to ask questions of the speaker. Kudos to Elizabeth for her extremely deft handling of the angry man in the audience!
Stephen Fry – Mythos
Stephen Fry has published two novels based upon the Greek Myths – Mythos and Heroes. Rather than focussing on these, he gave the audience a very early insight into the next book in this series which will feature the Trojan War. Hearing Stephen read from his forthcoming novel was a delight, and the event was given an extra boost by the wonderful Chris Riddell illustrating as Stephen read. There was a similar event two years ago when Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry sat down to discuss Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, but it’s a format that works brilliantly and not one that I’m likely to get tired of.
Book to Inspire
Hay Festival and TES launched a campaign to find the books to inspire the next generation. With hundreds of books nominated, two lists of 32 books have been selected, one aimed at primary schools and the second at secondary schools. This panel featured a variety of speakers, who all talked about the books that inspired them. I realise I’m preaching to the converted through a book blog, but I think that reading is so important, and it’s wonderful to see such a program that seeks to encourage children to read and to read for pleasure, not just because they have to.
No trip to the Hay Festival would be complete without picking up a new book or two, and I think I’ve outdone myself this year! I have to admit, these aren’t all from talks that I attended, although most of them are, but I’ve got some good reading ahead of me!