David Almond, Jenny Valentine and Sarah Crossan at Hay Festival 2015 by Olga

I went into the tent full of excitement. I mean, a combination of David Almond (Skellig), Sarah Crossan (The Weight of Water) and Jenny Valentine (Finding Violet Park), who are all legendary, is too much to resist. All of them were happily chatting away, and were very friendly with everyone, and as a result the tent felt very cosy, despite the number of people. David Almond, whose most recent publication is titled A Song for Ella Grey, seemed at home in Hay, away from his home in the North. His book is set in Tyneside, and Almond manages to bring a certain quality and charm to an area known for being harsh. Almond’s novel is philosophical and complicated, but makes you want to find out more about Orpheus, Ella and Claire. Jenny Valentine is equally at home in Hay. She based her novel on some of her own personal experiences and, as a result, I found her book very easy to connect with. Jenny is very ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny and her anecdotes about her childhood made us all smile. In many ways Valentine is very similar to Sarah Crossan; they are both very honest, very funny and very blonde! Even though Sarah uses poetry in YA fiction – a dangerous move since generally poetry is considered boring for teens – she manages to hook her readers in and makes them connect with her character Apple. I would definitely recommend reading their books and coming to see them all when they are next at Hay!

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