The Hay Festival

As a lover of all things literature related and an English Literature university student, the Hay Festival is a no brainer for me. For those who don’t know of it, the festival is an environment perfect for all sorts of creative minded people, to come together and observe debates and engage in activities on their favourite pastimes.

Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking.”

How could I not have a picture of the famous ‘Hay’ sign?

I visited the site, which is based in the beautiful countryside of the Welsh borders with my parents and brother across two days, giving us time to explore the towns and landscapes outside of the festival grounds.The whole set up of the festival site was so my vibe; bunting, vintage shops and endless bookshops, I was in my element. Because my brother and I are both students the festival allowed us to choose five events to go to for free! The talk which I took the most from was a chat between Bryony Gordon and Laura Bates. A few of you may have heard of Laura as she runs the twitter account @EverydaySexism and has formerly released a book with the same title. Laura’s most recent publication Girl Up was the topic of conversation which she read a few experts from, discussing the problems women and girls face with the pressures of everyday sexism, in the workplace, school and on the street.

The session was a real eye opener, even my mum mentioned how so many things Laura mentioned made her realise how bad inequality still is. Her book is fantastic and effectively a life manual for girls and women alike. Don’t worry, men and boys aren’t left out – she praised the work of Juno Dawson (Being a Boy) both Bates’s and Dawson’s work approach the topics of equality with a satirical yet educational stance. 

Hay-on-Wye is known as the ‘Town of Books’ and it definitely lived up to its name! Richard Booth’s Bookshop, Café and Cinema was a literal maze of books – we got lost in there a few times! There was an abundance of charity, vintage shops & tea rooms, and the whole place was covered in bunting. It was the perfect representation of a quaint, picturesque town you’d expect to find in the middle of the Welsh countryside; and was made a hundred times better with the addition of the glorious sunshine.

We also happened to stumble upon a hidden treasure, Baskerville Hall Hotel. As a fan of all things Sherlock Holmes related, this place was a dream. 

“Arthur Conan Doyle was a family friend who often came to stay here. During his many visits, he learnt of the local legend of the hounds of the Baskervilles. It is reputed that on nearby Hergest Ridge he translated this into probably the most famous case for his celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes.”

Visitors have the opportunity to camp on the grounds if they wished; an alternative to staying in a hotel with access to the swimming pool and restaurant for breakfast, the place was an absolute gem.

You can never underestimate how beautiful the Welsh countryside is and I will most certainly be visiting again.

Until next time,

Neneh x


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