Hay 2011

Well, we went to the Hay Festival again: the baby survived her first camping trip (aged six weeks!) and I came home with a good literary haul. A job well done. We didn't book too many readings this year because we weren't sure how Seren would take to sitting still in a crowd for an hour at a time (though she's already been to a fair few readings so far), so all we had lined up was David Vann and Gary Shteyngart. I prepped the kid well on both authors during the drive down to Wales, but she wasn't sure about Vann; I think she found his work a little morbid.

Of course, I disagreed and told her she was overlooking the beauty of the prose. D'oh. Anyway, Vann's talk was great, as was Shteyngart's, though the baby took his session as her cue to let herself loose on the world by wailing tragically when Gaby Wood asked if there were any questions from the audience. Shteyngart, called upon to respond, let out an admirable wail himself, which he then translated as meaning that he was looking forward to a feed after the interview, and possibly a change, too. He and Vann were both very cool when I queued up to get my books signed afterwards - Vann admired the baby and Shteyngart gave a shoutout to Bookmunch when I said I'd reviewed Super Sad True Love Story.

Otherwise, we spent most of the weekend wandering around the bookshops and eating cake in people's gardens and failing to get a phone signal anywhere. I got a brilliant haul of books this year - William Golding, A.L. Kennedy, Bharati Mukherjee, ZZ Packer, James Salter, Edwidge Danticat, Dana Spiotta, Gerard Donovan, Gary Shteyngart, Joy Williams, and (probably my favourite of the lot) Gordon Lish.

And here's Seren, rolling around her in her expanding library:

I think she's pretty miffed we're home in Manchester; she was a big fan of the tent. Guess we'll be heading back again next year...


Big mamma frog said...

Love 'The Inheritors', fab book. Read it as a teen, then reread it recently.

I'm missing the days when mine were this tiny and I could just tuck 'em under my arm and go do stuff. (I think the 12 year old might protest now).

Anonymous said...

Great post and... I've forgotten what I wanted to say because the person before me is called 'Big Mamma Frog'... erm, yeah, totally thrown me. Big Mamma... Frog? :D

Very envious that you made it to Hay and glad you got a good haul & that Baby approved. Hub 'n' I have a list of books that we didn't buy from there and wish we had, so we'll head over before too long, just for a rummage. Nice.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Hey Big Mamma! Yeah, a few friends have been discussing The Inheritors so I thought it was time I sussed it out - and I love the cover design on this edition too - old school!

Martha, I know - for each one I bought there was another two I had to let go. You could bankrupt yourself in Hay so easily.

kim mcgowan said...

The Inheritors! Let me know what you think.
(that daughter is just too divine!)
word verification word: antanis - meaningless but as ever but(in my head)freighted with significance

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks Kim! I probably won't get around to it for a while, but I am looking forward to reading it. I thought of you when I saw it in the shop!