Leaving at 7 AM I made the hour trip to Hay-On-Wye to visit the Hay Festival. For those of you who don’t know the Hay Festival is a literary festival that invites writers to come and take part in readings and discussions. I have been wanting to attend for years and this year I finally took the plunge and booked some tickets.
A little side note about the tickets. So, I booked everything online through their official website. I originally booked for two events and all day parking. Unfortunately one of the events, featuring Patrick Ness, was cancelled. Hay were really prompt at sending out an email and letting everyone know that the even was cancelled, that we had been refunded and that they had organised a replacement event that we could book if we wished. I applaud them for their efficiency and organisation!
I parked in Clyro and took the shuttle bus over to the festival site. It was a quick and easy transition. Arriving at the festival felt like a welcome home. Colourful banners were waving in the wind, deck chairs placed on the grass and a large welcome tent stood directly ahead. After a quick bag search I was allowed to continue through.
The site is divided into different tents varying in size. I arrived a little earlier and decided to wander around, bypassing all of the food stands due to Ramadan. They host an Oxfam book tent selling books, CDs and DVDs so I perused amongst the spines for a little while and picked out a few things to take home with me.
After this I made my way over to my booked event – a discussion with Sabrina Mahfouz, Aliyah Hasinah and Samira Shackle around the book ‘The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write’. It was an insightful hour listening to extracts from the book with stories in both essay and poetry form. They took questions from the audience at the end and it was interesting for me to see the types of questions being asked and their thoughts on them. Questions ranged from their views on the BBC drama/documentary Three Girls and how white liberals could stop really show they were listening to the stories that were out there.
Once the session had finished I headed over to festival bookshop. This part of the site contains books from everyone that is featured at the Hay Festival. I picked up The Things I Would Tell You and managed to get it signed by all three lovely ladies.
By this point I was starting to flag and considering the hour drive home I decided to call it a day. It may have only been a few hours at the Hay but as an avid reader I cannot believe just how at home I felt. For me, this short trip has cemented that it will become a regular fixture in my life. If you are a bibliophile I would highly recommend a trip up to the Hay Festival because you won’t be disappointed.