I may have mentioned a few times that I was going to Hay Festival last week. If you didn’t know, then you’ve probably been tuning me out. It’s okay, I don’t blame you. I’ve been a stuck record for most of May. It was all I could do not to bring it up every five seconds, because if there’s something I love more than books, it’s a town full of them and a festival dedicated to their talented creators. I’m gushing again, sorry.
So, I wanted to do a highlights post, but frankly the whole thing was a highlight for me. I got to hear talks by David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, Victoria Hislop, Eimear McBride, Graham Norton and Horatio Clare. I got to watch the fantabulous Letters Live performance with some super talented actors. I got to watch Andy Hamilton’s stand up gig. AND I GOT TO GO TO ALL THE BOOK SIGNINGS! Except, sadly I hadn’t figured out the system after my first event. I was a naive young thing that Saturday morning so I missed Victoria Hislop. But I got a couple of signed books from talks I didn’t manage to go to, that I’d wanted to and books I’ve wanted to read for ages.
Here are a few of my favourite moments though:
- Horatio Clare reading from Brecon Beacons Myths & Legends
- David Mitchell asking me if my mum was cool, me agreeing and then him saying ‘She seems like a cool mum.’
- My mum wearing David Mitchell’s cool mum comment as a badge of honour for the rest of the weekend.
- Graham Norton being pithy and hilarious
- Louise Brealey reading out letters from Dear Sugar and Patti Smith (to Robert Mapplethorpe) at Letters Live
- Sanjeev Bhaskar reading Napoleon’s letters to his wife in Letters Live
- Chris Riddell illustrating Stephen Fry and Neil Gaiman’s discussion in real time
- Amanda Palmer coming to entertain the crowds waiting at Neil Gaiman’s book signing
- Getting my books signed by wonderful, wonderful authors.
Which leads me to the monstrosity that is now my physical TBR pile. I can only apologise to my poor mother who spent the weekend becoming gradually more horrified as I rushed to the festival bookshop. There aren’t many people who would put up with that wild-eyed glee.
Here’s my epic book haul from the weekend:
- Cartes Postales by Victoria Hislop (unsigned)
- The Prince’s Pen, Running for the Hills, Brecon Beacons: Myths & Legends by Horatio Clare
- A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear Mcbride
- Holding by Graham Norton
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
- Rebel of the Sands, Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
- The Welsh Girl by Pete Ho Davies
- Slade House, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
- The Women of Versailles by Kate Brown (unsigned)
- New Welsh Short Stories by Francesca Rhyddech & Penny Thomas (unsigned)
- Starshot by Mary-Anne Constantine (unsigned)
I bought the last three from the Seren pop-up bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, just below the castle. They tempted me with there offers.
Did anyone else got to Hay Festival? Have you been before? Or do you have equally disastrous self-control?