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Following hot on the heels of my Book Expo America post, and also the Sydney Writer’s Festival, I leap continents again to the British Hay on Wye Literary Festival. Again, I wasn’t there, but this is a round-up of what I have learnt from others posts (blogger available next year Hay!). I am British, living in Australia and this blog has mainly a US audience, so I hope this post amuses all!
As a bibliophile growing up in England, the Hay Festival is the one you dream of being asked to speak at as an author. It is a beacon of culture in the overcrowded country I had to leave for more peaceful and sunny climes. It is British of the most sentimental and imagined type (it is, of course, in Wales!).
The festival is about writers and books, readings and intelligent discussions. Here is a pick of some you might find interesting – for the full course of video, audio and blog posts, check out the Guardian Hay main page and spend a few hours in British literary heaven.
· Audio and pictures: history, bacon butties, Lord Hereford’s Knob, middle class literati
· Whitbread prize-winning author Kate Atkinson wishes she wasn’t a published author because she doesn’t like critics and reviews (join the club!)
· Hay podcasts – plummy English accents, birdsong, punnets of strawberries, Kate Adie on death and Rowan Williams on God coming back. Lots more wonderful podcasts here. You can’t beat the Guardian books site (how I miss the English newspapers!)
· Desmond Tutu speaks of greater things. I served communion with Archbishop Tutu when I was at Oxford and his signing of a copy of “Rainbow People of God” was a proud moment for me. In this podcast, he talks Obama and hopes for South Africa.
· The rather modest Green Room at Hay. Perhaps not as glamorous as authors might like, but still apart from the hoi polloi.
· “Hay Festival is the Mecca of minds. People still want to make the pilgrimage again.” From the Hay Festival blog.
· Ebooks and digital publishing discussions were not as in vogue as at BEA. Sony did sponsor the festival and their E-Reader was available for purchase there. There was one panel on “Brave New World – Rights and Wrongs in the Digital Future”, dealing with the controversies of ebooks. The story of “A Lion Called Christian” was brought up again – how a bestselling book was made off the back of a viral YouTube video. One literary agent said “We're not in the business of selling books anymore. We're in the business of selling writing”. Time to think cross-media everyone!
· Wonderful poets – Roger McGough and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
· Writers discuss the books that changed their lives – Lolita, Dr No or the Bible
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Aesthete Imagery,