Hay Festival Revisited

The Hay Festival was 30 years old this year! We go most years and again this year went along to enjoy a day of interesting speakers and brilliant atmosphere. We weren’t disappointed.

The Star Witness

Hay’s main reason for existing is to give authors a platform to talk about their work. The first author we listened to talking has been on our TV screens for 40 years. Not always in front of the camera as in his early years he was just a name on the credit list. But in all that time he hadn’t written a novel. And now he has!

Andy Hamilton’s recently published novel is called The Star Witness. Apparently it started life as a script for a play but Andy told us that it didn’t really work for him as a play which is why he turned it into a novel. I bought it on the day and read it almost immediately. An easy enjoyable read, I think I probably enjoyed it all the more for having heard Andy talk about it.

Hay Festival Revisited - Thirty Years Anniversary

Mr Cleghorn's Seal

Hay Festival Revisited - Mr Cleghorn's Seal

Just before lunch we had tickets for a talk billed as suitable for 6+. We didn’t want to sit through a heavy talk when we knew we’d be hungry! The marquee was packed and the excitement in the atmosphere was palpable. The interviewer came on and asked the audience if anyone there was 5, or 35 or 50. She then said or “nearly 94” and with that Judith Kerr came on stage.

Judith at nearly 94 is the author of The Tiger Who Came To Tea and around 30 other children’s books including lots about a cat called Mog. She was fascinating to listen to as she talked about her early life in Germany pre Hitler. The story behind her latest book. Mr Cleghorn’s Seal is based around a story her Dad hold her that happened to him before she was born.

Jonathan Unleashed and Nina is not OK

Our last talk of the day was in the company of Meg Rosoff and Shappi Khorsandi. They were talking about their comic novels. According to the programme Rosoff’s Jonathan Unleashed is a blisteringly funny, touching story of a man whose love life is going to the dogs. I hadn’t heard of Meg Rosoff but she was very funny in how she talked about her protagonist. Her book is now on my list of things I want for Christmas!

Shappi Khorsandi was very funny too. Her book is called Nina is Not OK.  They both read excerpts from their books and when Shappi picked up her book to read there was silence. After a few minutes she said “oh did you want me to read aloud”. The audience was in stitches!

Hay Festival Revisited - Jonathan Unleashed and Nina is not OK

I urge you to make a date with Hay Festival next year. You won’t be disappointed. And if you have time in between all those talks you can always have a go at the Hay on Wye Murder Mystery which is close to the festival site.