The last few days of the festival are always a little bit sad, with their ‘end of the party’ atmosphere. We’ve packed a fair bit in before we return to normality including three novelists who couldn’t be more different. Ian McEwan, returns to Hay to do his research with the audience, treating us to extracts from his new novel The Children Act, tackling the serious subjects of religion and family life. Asked how much of him appears in his novels he replies ‘my fingerprints are all over all of my characters’. The delightful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talked about her new novel, Americana, which explores the sense of self, truth and identity of a Nigerian living in America. The interview was deliciously flirty one, Ted Hodkinson is obviously an avid fan.
Helen Fielding revealed quite a bit of the Bridget Jones within, dropping her microphone pack twice and admitting she got Ibsen and Chekov confused, much to her embarrassment. Her new novel, Mad about the Boy (spoiler alert) has killed off the lovely Darcy and finds Bridget five years down the line trying to rebuild her life. The same themes come up, as Fielding reminds us that our characters do not really change over the years, despite the fact we have new roles as wives, mothers and so on – our childish and playful natures never really leave us.
For me, it was a week enriched by tales from the two world wars, my favourite novelists and poets, the discovery of new authors, getting to love red mud, the art of dressing in layers and meeting lots of lovely people in the queues and at the events – 2015 has been booked!
I followed this year’s Hay Festival on twitter. Saw some bits of the readings. Jealous of everyone who attended and wondering why I live so far away in Colorado. Maybe 2015? Maybe I take a trip?
You really should! It’s a bit mad, muddy and very English, but the best literary festival by far.