Over the weekend I went to the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in Wales. I last went two years ago and really enjoyed myself. It helped me realise that I should study English at university, and two years on I have just finished my first year of studying English. It was therefore time to return to Hay. Whilst there, I managed to buy 10 books (oops) from the festival bookshop, the onsite Oxfam charity bookshop and a bookshop in the town of Hay itself.
Hay on Wye is famous for its bookshops and there are loads! We reserved one day for exploring the town and that definitely wasn’t enough. I hope to return another time between now and the next festival simply to explore each bookshop in good time.
The first book I bought was Making Sense by David Crystal, his new book all about English grammar and how it has come to be what it is. I bought this during his book signing after the lecture he did about grammar. As someone who enjoys language and linguistics, I found this talk fascinating. David Crystal is a leading linguist in the UK and a real inspiration for me. This was the third time I had heard him talk, and the third time I had attended a book signing of his.
Also at the festival bookshop, I bought Everywoman by Jess Phillips, a politician in Birmingham who has written a book about the importance of feminism and women’s rights; Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz; and Creation by Adam Rutherford, about the origin (and future) of life. After buying the Horowitz book, I joined the queue for the book signing. I waited just over an hour but it was worth it. Anthony Horowitz is a great author and very generous with his time. Although the majority of the queue was made up of children reading the Alex Rider series for the first time, a few were older and had read it years ago like me. It was amazing to see people of so many different ages all queueing for so long (even in the rain) to meet the same author.
I then went to the onsite Oxfam shop and bought a book on British short stories, Middlemarch by George Eliot and Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway. The charity campaign said that buying three books could buy school equipment for a child in Africa. I love nothing more than helping someone else whilst buying more books for my collection!
Lastly, I went to a lovely second hand bookshop in the town. It had three floors and lots of little side rooms and corridors. That’s where I bought Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (to complete my collection of Austen novels), Work Suspended by Evelyn Waugh and A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick.
My time in Hay on Wye was once again amazing. I adore the town and I love attending an event with so many people who are all passionate about reading and books. I hope to go again next year too.