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Reflections of a working writer and reader



On the way to Hay

Tomorrow we leave for Hay on Wye at the request of artsWOM and sponsored by SkyARTS. The object is to blog about the festival, or aspects of it that we get to see.

Very few expectations, apart from the fact that Bill Clinton called it ‘the Woodstock of the mind’. Does that mean we should expect mud? Hope not, but in the confirmation of our booking there was a mention of wellies and warm apparel, sweater and jacket and an umbrella. Summer in England, sorry, Wales, Hey, hey, we’re going to Hay.

The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival over ten days from May to June. It is currently sponsored by The Guardian. This year there are appearances by Kiran Desai, Peter Ho Davies, David Mitchell, Wole Soyinka, Ian Rankin, Sebastian Faulks, Orhan Pamuk, Iain Banks, Peter Falk, Beryl Bainbridge, Jeanette Winterson, Ruth Rendell, Richard Dawkins, Hermione Lee, Carol Ann Duffy, Doris Lessing, Martin Amis, and Tony Ben, to name but a few.

By the time I got around to ordering tickets some of the events were sold out – you can guess which ones – but over the couple of days I’ll be there I’ll be in good company.

There’s a small question mark over the availability of wifi in the hotel – yet to be sorted; but, whatever, I’ll find some way of letting you know what’s going on. Watch this space.

5 Responses to “On the way to Hay”

  1. Lee says:

    I’ll be looking forward to your posts, because I’m an anti-festival, anti-bookreading/signing sort of a person, and maybe you’ll change my mind.

    jb says: Or confirm it, Lee.

  2. Anne says:

    As I wend my way through the end of The Chinese Girl (which I don’t want to finish even though I do – which I’m sure you understand), I’ll think enviously of you in Hay. It’s one of those events I’ve always wanted to attend. I look forward immensely to your reports.

    Incidentally, with the Guardian sponsoring, if you happen upon Stephen Bates (brilliant, delightful – one of their writers), please tell him Nicky’s Anne sends greetings and wishes I were there. He’ll be startled but amused. And you can also tell him you’re one of the two writers I was waxing rhapsodic about at my brother’s wedding. (It’s very cool that, as one ages, the degrees of separation really do winnow down to a very very few.)

    Have a ball!!

    jb says: Hi Anne. Yes, I’m going to have a good time. I’ve packed all the right gear and am looking forward to a slice of life in the fast lane for a couple of days.
    Hey, it’s great you’re enjoying The Chinese Girl. Makes my day, that.

  3. Anne says:

    Much more than merely enjoying, John. I’ll write more when I’m done. I’m very concerned about Stone, though. You’d better not have done anything really bad to him. (I’m not as idiotic as that sounds, just trying to convey how vivid the story is.)

    Different subject, sort of. Did you read and/or see “Notes on a Scandal”? I saw it yesterday and, although I’m not sure I think this, I think I think it’s a nasty nasty piece of work. Or I might be missing something.

    jb says: That was the Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench movie, right? I missed it deliberately. No overtly conscious reason, just that I picked up by overhearing the conversations of others that it wasn’t my kind of thing. Sounds like I did the right thing.

  4. kimbofo says:

    Hope you enjoy it! ArtsWOM asked me to go too, but unfortunately due to other commitments I couldn’t make it. Kicking myself now because then I could have met you in person!! Looking forward to reading your posts about the event.

    jb says: Real pity, Kim. Maybe there’ll be another chance?

  5. Julia says:

    Oooh I’d love to meet Dawkins.

    jb says: I’ll mention that, Julia, if I see him.