One of the downsides of leaving Hay is realising all the good stuff you are missing. Last year I had to leave before Toni Morrison, this year before my favourite author David Mitchell. Although I saw him in Oxford last year, it would have been marvellous to be at his talk, particularly because Crispin Hershey, one of my favourite characters in ‘The Bone Clocks’, has a memorable trip to Hay.
So it was a thrill this morning to see this tweet as I was doing the accounts:
@CrispinHershey: Okay you win, Publicity Girl: Hershey is Tweeting his way into Modern World. Happy now?
What followed was total joy, as Hershey’s tweets were by degrees contemptuous, deluded, arrogant and hysterically funny, perfectly capturing his character. Mitchell added to the fun by tweeting that he was sitting opposite Hershey, which resulted in a typically self-aggrandising comment from his fictional creation. And much to my delight, Hershey favourited my tweet that I’d rather see the writer Holly Sykes (the heroine of the‘The Bone Clocks’) which made my morning.
I might not be at Hay anymore, and I have missed out on seeing my favourite author in the flesh, but interacting with his alter-ego on social media has been quite a consolation prize. It certainly beat doing the accounts.
David Mitchell was on The Starlight Stage last night, along with Tiffany Murray, reading from his next book ‘ Slade House’ which itself emerged from an excellent twitter story.
A raft of new events have been announced in the last 24 hours for this years’s Hay Festival. They include appearances by actor Rupert Everett and comedian Dawn French, although both are entertainers, actors and successful writers. Everett’s first memoir ‘Red Carpets And Other Banana Skins’, his first hilarious and charming memoir which details his accounts of filming with stars such as Madonna, Sharon Stone and Julia Roberts, was a bestseller. He will be talking to Paul Blezard about volume two, ‘Vanished Years’ which documents a pilgrimage to Lourdes with his father, a misguided foray into reality TV and takes the reader on a journey from New York to Moscow and Phnom Penh.
Dawn French, is also a best-selling author and she will be at Hay to discuss her new comic novel, ‘Oh Dear Silvia’ as well as her bestselling memoir ‘Dear Fatty’ – “I am perfectly happy with how I look and I always have been. I’ll always be a fat girl and I am happy with that” she has said.
Music events just announced for this year’s festival will include the British premiere of Philip Glass’s new opera, The Perfect American, and a concert by Noah and The Whale.
Tickets for the new shows are on sale now to Friends of the Hay Festival and will go on sale to the general public from tomorrow; Wednesday 27 February.
This year will see a new Hay Festival opening in the town of Kells in County Meath. It will take place over three days from 28th–30th June. Kells is the original home of The Book of Kells a 9th-century gospel manuscript famous throughout the world and now housed at Trinity College Dublin. Kells is a town with a population of 5,000 located 40 miles North West of Dublin.
The first names confirmed for the Kells Hay Festival are Booker prize winners John Banville and DBC Pierre. The 25 year old Hay Festival has now spawned 15 literary festivals around the globe.
Kells Chamber of Commerce President Ger Gaughran said: “Kells Heritage Festival is a similar event and could draw on the wealth of speakers that hit Hay each year”. She added “we sent over a submission asking organisers to consider Kells as a location for a festival”. Members of the chamber visited Hay last year. “During our visit we met with founders and directors of the festival and found that they had great interest and knowledge of Kells and were very positive towards our idea. Aside from the festival, we think Kells would be the perfect location to develop an Irish ‘town of books,’ as a national centre for all genres of literature, old and new.”
Chris Evans at Hay 2011
Chris Evans was has become a big fan of the Hay Festival “once you’ve been to the Hay Festival you become a lifelong addict its brilliant!”. Evans was in Hay to present a Radio 2 breakfast special when he got the call. His excitement about the birth must have been tinged with a little disappointment about leaving the Festival, when he heard at around 8pm last night that his wife had gone into labour.
He was helicoptered out of Hay to make the dash to London to be by the side of his other half Natasha Shishmanian. He tweeted: ‘Was at Hay. No longer. Back in the air. On the way to Baby Drop! Good luck with the show guys and well done to all the 500 Words finalists x.’
After a labour that lasted just 52 minutes the couple’s second son Eli Alfred Michael Evans arrived in plenty of time to catch Chris’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show from Hay presented by stand ins David Walliams and Alex Jones. Baby is well and weighs seven pounds thirteen ounces, and according to Chris “mum is rocking”.
The construction of the Hay Festival site is well under way as you can see from this picture tweeted today by Hay Fever Director Sophie Lording. The site has dried out nicely following the downpours of recent weeks and the weather looks set fair. Fingers crossed that the sun will shine on Hay at the end of May, and the first week in June, naturally.
Update 27.05.12: Sadly this event will now not take place. The official reason given is that the it is due to changes in New Order’s touring schedule. A quick look at the band’s page suggest there are no live New Order dates between the Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin on 3rd June and Sonar in Spain in the middle of the month. Bernard Sumner was due to appear in Hay on the 7th June.
Bernard Sumner, lead singer with New Order and former guitarist with Joy Division, has turned his creative talent to more literary pursuits. The musician behind Blue Monday and Love Will Tear Us Apart will appear at the Hay Festival in June to talk about his forthcoming autobiographical work ‘Sumner on Sumner’.
Writer Charlie Connelly will interview the famously private Sumner about his creative life and his work with two of the most influential bands of the last three decades. Rarely have any of the members of Joy Division and New Order given interviews, eschewing the limelight in favour of recording and performing.
The programme, revealed last week and with tickets now on sale to the public, has several big names more commonly associated with the written word. Martin Amis, Terry Pratchett, Louis de Bernieres and Ian Rankin are all on the bill.