Yes, the festival season is upon us. I’m not usually one for muddy fields, improvised toilets and lots of hubbub but this year I have booked two literary festivals! Firstly, the legendary Hay Festival in the Welsh Marches. Growing up in the Wye Valley I remember Hay-on-Wye as a tiny market town on the verge of dereliction. In 1893 my grandparents’ marriage was registered in Hay so family connections in the border area run deep. But to me it was always a sad place where out-of-fashion Welsh Mountain ponies were auctioned for a knock-down price to the meat man.
But then in the 1970s entrepreneurial hippy (Oxymoron?) Richard Booth declared himself the King of Hay, and Hay an independent Kingdom of Books! Suddenly Hay became a destination. Hats off to the self-appointed King, he kept out corporate investors and big retail chains ensuring the town comprised independent traders that serve a lively community where sheep farmers rub shoulders with Y-generation idealists. And the cherry on the cake, the annual descent of the world’s literati each spring. My line up for Hay Festival includes; Michael Morpurgo, Meera Syal, Helen MacDonald, Marcus Brigstock and an African and Welsh harp concert.
Then, in the autumn, and I’m already quaking in my flip-flops, I’ve enrolled for the York Festival of Writing. A mind-exploding selection of workshops awaits me AND two ten-minute slots with agents where I can pitch works in progress. But which WIP to choose of my six Nano projects? Or a totally new idea altogether? My business English students have to prepare an elevator pitch for their homework and I’ve decided I need to join them. I found this short session by Michael Hyatt especially useful for writers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t1ar_IpmUU
So what’s on your festival agenda this year? Will you be donning silly footwear or slip on your old faithfuls and stay home?