I had the loveliest of Sundays… I hope you did too!
The Hay Festival is one of the most famous literary festivals in the world, it take place in the town of ‘Hay on Wye’ and it welcomes 250,000 visitors each year. A chap called Richard Booth is credited with transforming the town into a global attraction for second-hand book lovers after opening his first shop in 1962, (fun fact: n 1 April 1977, Mr Booth proclaimed Hay an independent kingdom and he was crowned king and ruler of the new state. His horse was named Prime Minister.
Joking aside, the town has gazillion books stores and the festival is great. I met a friend there and we spend a lovely time putting the world to right sipping on a delicious glass of Pimm’s waiting to sit through the most entertaining hour listening to great actors reading ‘letters’…
The weather was just perfect
people were just hanging about, reading books, chatting…
The event we attended was called ‘Letters Live’ and you can find out more on the website here.
Letters Live first took place in December 2013 at the Tabernacle in London and quickly established itself as a very powerful and dynamic event format that attracted outstanding talents to performing remarkable letters in front of a live audience.
Inspired by Shaun Usher’s international best-selling Letters of Note series and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter, Letters Live is a live celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. Each show always features a completely different array of great performers, reading remarkable letters written over the centuries and from around the world. One of the joys of Letters Live is that one never knows who is going to take to the stage or what letter they are going to bring alive.
We saw/heard some incredible performances/readings… from Toby Jones
to Jordan Stephens
to Louise Brealey…
from Tony Robinson
to Jessica Raine
to Ophelia Lovibond
to the incomparable Benedict Cumberbatch…
of the series he says: “Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient of communications live to an audience. A truly inspiring event.”
It was the most unexpectedly delightful, moving, funny, serious, sad, hilarious thing I’ve seen in a long time and if you ever hear about it I urge you to go. You won’t regret it. It’s all done for charity and it’s uplifting even when it brings tears to your eyes. It also make you realise how much we have lost by not writing letters anymore… and how wonderful and powerful the written word can be.
Brilliant. Just brilliant.
After we tootled into Hay itself for a little mooch about… such a pretty town it is too…
and then home… and yes, before you asked… of course I bought books! It would have been terribly rude not to.
(All for my 48 years of books cause)