Hay Festival 2013

 Yesterday I spent the day at the amazing Hay Festival. I wish I had stayed for the whole duration but even a day there has given me great pleasure and a sense of being not just inspired but encouraged by all the love of all things literary that is so abundant at Hay. One of the things I loved about the festival is its accessibility to families and a range of activities not only for young adults but for children of any age. I am already planning next year’s trip, this time for the whole family. For now, my boys get signed copies of Andy Briggs’s Tarzan novels.

John Boyne appearing as a ghost

I will be posting my impressions of the day as I recollect them but one of the most enjoyable sessions for me was John Boyne’s. I have never read any of Boyne’s books but I have watched The Boy In The Striped Pajamas on TV and I loved it (and I can only expect the novel to be even better, as is usually the case, so this one is going on my immediate reading list ). Boyne read a little from his new novel, a ghost story called This House Is Haunted. I’m not usually a fan of ghost stories, mainly because I not only don’t believe in ghosts, but generally find them quite boring (what’s so exciting about hanging around some old house, scaring everyone and generally being a nuisance? Oh, I think I just got it! ). But Boyne’s reading was so good that I am now planning to read this one next. The thing that I loved most about this was Boyne’s apparent lack of any great strain or anxiety that writers usually get. He talked about his disciplined way of writing (during the day, as if in a normal job), his love of writing on the train, or in hotel rooms when he’s travelling, of not bothering to plan too far ahead, or even at all, and of the joy of getting through the first draft and not worrying too much about how it reads until the second draft. Oh, and about how annoyed he gets at still being associated with The Boy In The Striped Pajamas novel, which he considers to be somewhere in the bottom half of all the books he has written. Ooops.