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...