What a gorgeous day I had today!
Met my friend Claire for our annual Hay Festival day and I must say … glorious. It didn’t rain for the second year running – bonus – and we chose three very different but amazing talks to go to.
Event no 1 – Markus Zusack, author of the huge bestseller ‘The Book Thief’, interviewed by Stephanie Merritt (who writes historical fiction under the name of SJ Parris).
What a lovely, unassuming young man. I really like to hear authors talk about their life, their history, their writing process and how the got their inspiration for a story. Fascinating. It made me want to re-read the book… which… given the huge skyscraper of ‘yet to be read’ book by my bed is not exactly the smartest thing. One day I will. I did get to buy a new copy and got it autographed (the poor man graciously and happily signed books for over two hours yesterday… cramps!…). I must have lent my copy to someone and I couldn’t find it yesterday morning before I left for the Festival.
Event no 2, Max Porter, author of ‘Grief is the Thing with Feathers’ (I must tell you about this soon) who was at the Festival to talk about ‘Lanny’ his latest work.
He didn’t ‘talk’ about it. He performed it; accompanied by the local duo ‘Alula Down‘ he read the first part and it was simply magical. Shivers down the spine magical. The hour flew by and we were all in this kind of trance, listening to his voice and the music/singing in the background and never wanted it to end. He is a magician with words. The images he conjures up are as clear as crystal and just as sharp… they can cut straight through you… or they’re warm and soft like a favourite sweater… unbelievable, I can’t wait to read the book.
Then we had a lunch break… obviously. It gets crowded but there’s such a buzz in the hair that you don’t mind… everybody is happy and conversation spring up with strangers because we are all there for the same reason: books!
Event no 3, Ian McEwan interviewed by Marcus du Satoy (author of amongst other The Creativity Code, he holds Oxford University’s prestigious Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, a post previously held by Richard Dawkins, and is a professor of Mathematics) about his new book ‘Machines like me’. Classic author interview but oh boy, what a frightfully clever man he is (both of them actually).
I have a love relationship with McEwan, his books tempt me every time and are amazing… but they’re not ‘warm’. They’re harsh and uncomfortable, totally compelling but infuriating too. He never, ever holds back the punches. I’m half-way his latest one and again… it makes you think so hard about things, it’s like a work out for the brain. It’ll stay with me for a while this one. (As did Chesil Beach, for example).
And then it was time to go home, where No 1 and his lovely girlfriend cooked me dinner … which was totally lovely and a little bitter sweet. I mean… my baby is cooking me dinner with his girlfriend… it means he’s really growing up, not just pretending, right? Sigh. So proud of him but… I wish I could one one more day of him as a little little boy… just the two of us…
AND, then football, Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham. Mr M, No 2 and No 3 were actually in the stadium in Madrid watching the game… what an experience that must have been. They’ll be annoyingly buzzing for weeks!!
So… a pretty spectacular day for all I say! Hope yours was just as nice.