Back from the Field

Fret no longer, dear readers (hah!). I have returned safely from the wilds of Powys.

It’s a busy week so I don’t have the time I’d like to write about all the people I met and the things we talked about, but highlights include:

  • Hearing people’s library stories and talking to people about why libraries are so important to them. It’s easy to include things in talks and tell journalists about why I think libraries are important and use the content already on the Voices site that’s largely been submitted by email as evidence, but the stories we collected at Hay serve as a timely reminder for me that these are real issues that affect real people in a diverse range of situations in a million different ways.

  • Ellis, a wise four-year-old, when asked by his mum what they should do to stop their library closing: “Shall we kill them, mummy?” Well, Ellis, as a last resort…

  • Sleb spotting, notably: Sue Perkins, Sandy Toksvig and John Waters (of “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!” fame).
  • Gushing at Meg Rosoff having spent two evenings of tent-reading immersed in her fantastic book How I Live Now. Her talk was great and she is totally badass. I gave her a ‘keep libraries open’ badge. She put it on straight away. Love.
  • Listening to Prof. David Crystal talk about idioms in the English language that were perpetuated or introduced through the King James translation of the Bible (257 of them, for those interested).

  • Being a Proper Camper and All Round Woman of Action and putting up a tent (ahum, with some help with the tricky bits from Simon, thank you Simon), living in it for over a week in relative comfort  and actually really enjoying it.

  • Learning how to read again. I haven’t read a full novel in longer than I’d like to admit because I’ve been spending so much time encouraging other people to read and use libraries and being a massive hypocrite. I was horribly out of practice in terms of actually sitting down and concentrating on something other than a computer screen. So, I read:- Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now
    – Mike Gayle, Dinner for Two
    – Carl Hiaasen, Skin Tight
    – Jan Mark, Something in the Air

    They’re not exactly the highest browed, but they were all picked up out of the Travelling Suitcase Library except for HILN which was borrowed from my good friend and festival-buddy Nat. Who is mischief (see below…)

  • A lovely week topped off with a cheeky trip to Oxford to spend some time with the most excellent Patrick.
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