The words engraved on the Post Office in Terry’s Pratchett’s Going Postal should really be engraved above the entrance to the Hay Festival, as neither torrential rain nor flooded roads could stop tens of thousands of book lovers converging on one of the great literary festivals.
Every spring, a small city of tents and walkways appears in the fields outside Hay for ten days of talks and debates and workshops. Having been invited to take part in a discussion with Will ‘Department 19‘ Hill about total warfare in young adult fiction, I descended on Hay for a really buzzing 24 hours.
Highlights included hearing Derek ‘Skulduggery Pleasant‘ Landy read an extract from the novel he’s currently writing; watching the legendary and incredibly charming Anthony ‘Willy‘ Browne amaze a packed tent of children with his shape game, and Holly ‘Geek Girl‘ Smale define geekhood while wearing orange wellies.
Most amazing of all was the enthusiasm of the book lovers who turned up, packing the walkways and tents, asking really interesting questions and having animated conversations in the shop.