I’m home. Tired, happy and very, very muddy after three days at the glorious Hay Festival in Wales. “It’s like a little bit of heaven” I told my daughter on the way home – “you’re such a loser” she said, “why would anybody want to hang out at a book festival?”
THERE ARE LOADS OF REASONS!!
I think everyone should go. I wish I could encourage my children to go. There is something there for everyone for sure. Sitting listening to authors is extraordinarily uplifting (mostly) – although depending on who it was it also makes me feel a little bit inadequate. You get to sit up close and personal with writers that you love. Or indeed meet people who can’t quite believe they’re writers – Carlos Acosta the gorgeous dancer for example, or indeed Henry Winkler – who is so dyslexic he finds it astonishing he has managed to write books for children (he gets his own post on the subject).
My soul feels fully renewed with something a little akin to hope and I have come back believing that I can change the world. Such is the power of the words you listen to.
So in summary, a little photo taster of what we got up to:-
Firstly I give you the team:-
Mary Berry talking about all things cooking:-
Jacqueline Wilson talking mostly about her dogs and cats and her 100th book out next year! (and a strange filter on my camera I couldn’t get rid of in time):-
Stephen Fry talking to Tony Fadell, essentially the inventor of the iPod telling us all about his father teaching him to be curious and to try your hardest. He is now involved in “Nest” a company he sold to Google for $3.2bn that is going to change the way we manage our thermostats and save the world’s energy levels. His discussion about how he worked out how to put music onto MP3 Kodak and the way they developed it was fascinating:-
A brief chat with John Snow all about the First News war editions:-
Mervyn King discussing how the “history of banking is the history of crisis”:-
Carlos Acosta signing his new book after a very interesting talk about his life growing up in Cuba:-
Hanif Kureishi one of my favourite authors reading from his new book “The Last Word”:-
He had a massively interesting conversation with Rosie Boycott about life and love and UKIP “I hope I am everything that Nigel Farage hates” he stated. They discussed the progress of his books – moving from angry young man dealing with race and homosexuality (My Beautiful Launderette) and how he dealt with not being part of the “gold standard of humanity” (white) through to realising the problem wasn’t his, but was the wider society’s problem and why he felt the need to write his way out of the problems by finding the right language to tell his stories. His new film “Le Weekend” is a study of an older couple and how they live – “the really interesting question is what is it like to have sex with each other after thirty years – we only ever see sex scenes where couples are having sex for the first time”. Seems he is softening in his old age and I have to say that I agree with him that perhaps laughter and debate is the way forward. He said he now finds the appeal of making somebody laugh in bed whilst reading one of his books (presumably not whilst he is in there with them) is stronger than focusing on anger, although he finds that writing comedy is a great deal harder to do. He sees analysis, conversation and debate as the way forward for working towards a more harmonious multi cultural society.