Thursday, 23 June 2016

DELIGHTFUL NEWS | Hay Festival 2016!

Hello readers, and happy Tuesday! This is a very belated post that I am writing but the time that would have been ideal for me to write it was taken up with exams and moving out of halls *sob*. Anyway, I have now arrived back home in London for the summer and finally have the time to blog as much as I want!

This post is going to be about the three wonderful days I spent at the Hay Festival. If you don't know what the Hay Festival is it is a literary and arts festival held in Hay-on-Wye in Wales, where creative people come together to celebrate all the wonder of knowledge, the beauty of literature and the immense importance of the arts. I was very fortunate this year to be given some press tickets by my friends at FMcM to be able to attend the festival and see some of my favourite authors in person *uncontrollable squealing*.


On Wednesday 1st June I left my friends in the midst of exams and (laden with plentiful amounts of books and revision!) got on the train from Manchester Piccadilly to Hereford. I was really excited to go to Hay but also super nervous - I had no idea what on earth to expect! As soon as I got to Hereford I jumped in a taxi and went straight to the Hay Festival site. I managed to have a quick look around at the site and sat in the chill out bit answering emails and coming to terms with the fact that I, Alix Long, was at HAY FESTIVAL AHHHHHH. But I was completely cool about the whole thing. Honestly. 


That evening I was lucky enough to attend a dinner at the Baskerville Hall Hotel (think The Hounds of the Baskervilles - ooer!) which was lovely, with gorgeous food and lots of wine! Later on my taxi came to pick me up and I went straight to my BnB in Kinnersely. I was shown my room and not long after I fell into a very very deep sleep!


After a lovely cooked breakfast by the owners of the bnb I was kindly given a lift into the festival by an author and his wife who were also staying in the bnb. One thing I noticed about Hay Festival is that there is such a community feeling and everyone is there for the same reason - because they love books and the arts and want to celebrate everything that is great about them. As soon as I arrived at the festival there was a distinct buzz around the place - the excitement and enthusiasm of everyone there was completely tangible. I made my way straight to the press office to say hi to the folks at FMcM and pick up my press tickets and press pass. 


Not long after it was time for the main reason I was there - the YA Book Prize winner announcement! The Starlight Stage - where it was hosted - looked beautiful and it was so cool to see so many kids there, excited to see their favourite authors. I'm not going to go into detail about the event (that is for another post!) but safe to say that event alone was worth travelling many miles for!


After the event I was just perusing one of the many bookshops that Hay has on offer, when I got an exciting email from Emily at FMcM inviting me to interview the winner of the YA Book Prize- the wonderful Sarah Crossan, author of One. Safe to say I was over the moon; such an amazing opportunity for both me and my blog! I was definitely the least prepared for an author interview I had ever been in my life, but Sarah was so lovely and the interview went well given how little prepared I was - I literally made up the questions on the spot, which was something I'd never done before, and I was pretty proud of myself for not completely messing up!



Still revelling in the fact that I had just interviewed Sarah Crossan (I'm sorry, I'm still very excited about it!) I *literally* ran to the Malorie Blackman Chasing The Stars event and managed to get a seat with a brilliant view of the stage. I don't know what I was expecting to get from this event, but it was a million times better than what I thought it would be. So many of the kids there to see Malorie Blackman were so excited and their enthusiasm was infectious. I will do a proper write up of the event and post it here soon, but it was definitely one of the highlights of my time at Hay.


And after that tremendously long day, safe to say that I slept brilliantly that night!


The next day mainly consisted of travelling - I took a bus from Hay-on-Wye to Hereford and then a train from Hereford to Manchester Piccadilly - and despite an hour delayed train and a premature termination - I managed to get home in one piece!




Overall, my trip to Hay Festival was an unforgettable experience and I felt so privileged to be able to go and experience such incredible authors talking about their books, and even be able to interview one of them. I would like to thank FMcM for giving me the opportunity to attend and everyone who I met there for being so lovely! I cannot wait to go back next year. 

Stay tuned for a write-up of both of the events I attended, and my interview with Sarah Crossan *eeeeeek!*

Until next time :)