Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Last weekend I went to the Hay Festival, to spend time with friends in a beautiful house, and dip into the festival whenever we decided to.

The weather was kind, and Saturday saw five of us climbing Hay Buff in glorious sun - so good I missed Asne Seierstad talking on Beslan.

The atmosphere is unique - take a beautiful, secluded piece of Wales and add any number of speakers and a keen audience, plus cheap strawberries, free Guardians and excellent ice cream. People who criticise the festival for being corporate just arrive in the wrong frame of mind. Yes, you can buy an organic champagne brunch or sit in the Sky Cafe, but no one is forcing you to.

Best talks - Bruce Robinson, Tony Juniper and Martin Amis - most disappointing was Sean Hughes but I'm not really a stand up comedian fan and he just seemed totally stressed out, looking at his watch and saying 'five minutes to go' all the time.

And our house - Yellow Drama - was magnificent and we were in the next door house to Mariella so you can just imagine how good it was. All I can do now is plan which authors of ours to pitch for talks next year - non fiction, environment, Aids and issues seem to be more eagerly devoured than fiction. But maybe I'm wrong - most talks were full so I don't think it matters who you encourage to go so long as they are eager to engage with a lively audience.

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