Monthly Archives: May 2010

It’s the final countdown…

Yes we have reached the week the festival begins and we’re all just a little bit scared (but in a good way, obv).  The schools days kick off on Wednesday and the site will see over 1000 children descend to experience a mini-Hay Festival.  With ice-pops, balloons and goody bags at the ready we think we’re pretty much set.

Just the giant book (to accompany the giant pencils) and the huge welcome banner to finish off this evening, then public gallery painting and huge Henry hoover marathon tomorrow.

We hope you’re excited about coming to all (well, some perhaps) of our events – do drop us a line to let us know what you’re most looking forward to. TTFN


All the way from Oz

Morris Gleitzman is coming half-way around the world to make his Hay debut in 2010 and we’re all just a little bit excited.  To those that are unfamiliar with is work, he is Australia’s version of Jacqueline Wilson, in the sense that he is a complete ledg and incredibly prolific.  His writing, although seemingly simple contains hidden depths that gets children of all ages really thinking about his stories and the issues within them.  The highly acclaimed, yet drastically low profile, Once trilogy begins during the Holocaust and Now, the final installment, brings the reader into the present day, where echoes of the 1940s still resonate with the characters.  By today’s standards they look like slips of books, but they contain relationships and plots which many writers would struggle to contain within books ten times their size.  If you haven’t read Morris before, we urge you to as soon as possible.  For those of you who have, well, you must have booked your seat at Hay already, as you’ll know how special this event will be.

Over the fence:

Read or hear an extract of Now.

Official website.

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Work it

Hay Fever peeps are as keen as mustard when it comes to workshops and we try and make sure there are lots of different types each year.  Just to change things up.  Tickets always go super-fast, but our lovely friends at UK Youth have decided to put some extra ones on – and they’re free!  So if you fancy yourself as a bit of a wordsmith, check out the Poetry session, whilst budding directors can sign up to get their hands on a camera for a few hours to document the fest.  Young activists can take part in the campaigning workshops to discover how they can really make a difference in the world, whilst physicists of the future are invited to extra robotics slots.

Full details of times and sign ups are on line here.  Don’t forget to let us know what you think!


Before 221b

Just up the road from us here in the festival office sits Baskerville Hall – sound familiar at all?  Thomas Mynors Baskerville built the stately pile in 1839 for his second wife, Elizabeth.  It just so happened that Arthur Conan Doyle was a close family friend who often came to stay. During his many visits he learnt of the local legend of the hounds stalking nearby Hergest Ridge and was so inspired by the rumour he incorporated it into perhaps most famous outing of his keen eyed, hawked nosed detective, Sherlock Holmes. However, and this is one of the bests bits, at the request of his friends, the Baskervilles, he set the book in Devon “to ward off tourists”.

We have no such qualms about bigging up the connection and as we love the good old fashioned detective novels (Agatha being the queen obviously) there are a few Holmes events this year.

First up the Conan Doyle estate has taken a leaf out of the Ian Fleming estate’s book and authorised Sherlock’s first outing as a teenager.  Andrew Lane, a self-confessed Sherlockian (that’s what they’re called, honestly), took up the mantle and is coming to give us the very first low down (it’s published just the day before – so we’re super lucky.)

So if you’re a fan of Young Bond and Alex Rider, or generally just love a good mystery this might just be the one for you!

We’re also loving the SelfMadeHero graphic novels of Holmes’ exploits.  The genius writer and illustrator team will be in Hay to discuss adapting Hound of the Baskervilles and A Study in Scarlet.

The nutshell:

The year is 1868 and Sherlock Holmes is 14.  We meet him in boarding school, as his brother Mycroft informs him that their father has suddenly been posted to India.  Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire for the summer. Cue murder, kidnap, corruption and a rip roaring adventure of deduction and wit.

Over the fence:

The book trailer

My Favourite Books review

Official website, which at the moment only houses the trailer, but we hope more will come with the release.

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It’s finally here…

…the anticipation is over.  We are of course talking about the final installment of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy.  Monsters of Men has arrived! A year after we raced through The Ask and the Answer only to be left hanging on the most evil of cliffhangers (topped only by that of The Knife of Never Letting Go), we can at last discover the fate of Viola and Todd.  Patrick will be in Hay to talk all things Chaos Walking and this is basically your last chance to see him do a dedicated trilogy event at Hay, as he’s moving on already with Siobhan Dowd’s unfinished manuscript.  He’ll also be part of the all-star Writers’ Question Time so you’ll get the chance to quiz him on being a writer, what to read next and lot of other far better questions than the one we can think up!

A bit like recommending a book you adore to a friend (and we’ve passed Chaos Walking on countless times), our words never really live up to the experience.  One thing we do usually say though is that you’ve got to keep a completely open mind, disregarding genres of fiction you think you may or may not like and JUST READ IT.  For those of you who may need a little more than our word to splash out £4.30 we’ve compiled a list of links to peeps way more qualified than us to big up this series.

The Indpendent on the latest

The Guardian on the first

Patrick himself, as he’s a keen blogger and he’ll be in Hay on Friday 4th.

Walker Books – with podcasts of the first.

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