A visit to the Hay Literary Festival is certainly something that will feature on my ‘plans for 2015 list’. Throughout this years festival I carefully and often enviously followed the twitter feeds and blogs of those that were fortunate enough to be there. I perused the daily schedule and was frequently found daydreaming about queuing outside marquees in Wellies in the rain to listen to authors talk about their work. I looked on at the photographs of festival goers laden with shiny newly autographed books, and I longed to laze in deck chairs in the sun (between the showers obviously) talking with other bookish people comparing notes and purchases.
Despite not being there in body, through the magic of the fabulous new BBC Arts website I have been there in spirit. I have been able to listen to and watch lots of highlights and a number of full length talks from the festival. In fact I am still working my way through them.
I began my virtual visit to Hay by watching The Town That Loves Books. This was a fabulous introduction to the focus and themes for this years festival and featured a number of author interviews. I have since worked my way through interesting and entertaining talks by Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax, and Arianna Huffington. Stephen Fry speaks passionately and as eloquently as you would imagine on Shakespeare and Love and is well worth a watch. The short clips or (Haylights as they are wittily called) of Tony Parsons and Carrie Fisher are both fun. My absolute favourite (so far) was hearing the poetry of Dylan Thomas recited by Rob Brydon, Tom Hollander, Cerys Matthews and Jonathan Pryce. Cerys Matthews beautiful voice singing Dylan’s poetry is perfect.
I have yet to watch Sebastian Falks discuss ‘Birdsong’ or listen to Michael Morpurgo discuss recurring themes in his books or hear Stephen Coogan and Stephen Frears interviewed by Alan Yentob about the wonderful film Philomena.
BBC Arts is a fabulous way for all us ‘green with envy’ book worms to get a our little taste of Hay. It has also become my go to website to catch up on all things cultural and I am sure I shall be referring to it frequently in future posts. (note to self: Do not actually own wellies, must purchase before next year) image via country living.co.uk, the guardian.com