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Posted by Kate, June 19, 2012

Belated report on the Hay Festival

Well, the truth is that I have had a horrid cold for a ridiculous two weeks. The whole family’s been down with it, but the adults have had a particularly lingering version. This has meant that I haven’t been so up-and-at-‘em with my blog posting as I’d like to be.

Anyway, Hay was wet and cold but nevertheless jolly, with facepainting (see the picture above) and fudge as well as books, authors and illustrators. It was, as always, a surreal experience to be in the same room as Caitlin Moran, for whose permission to reproduce her brilliant defence of libraries we are always grateful, Salman Rushdie, Jo Brand and Eric Hobsbawm.

We kicked off on the first weekend with a lively Pip and Posy event led by Axel Scheffler, reading the stories, drawing characters suggested by the audience from scratch and answering questions with a little help from – ahem – me and an appearance by Pip and Posy themselves.


Pip meets some of his adoring fans


And Posy meets some of her adoring fans

NIkalas Catlow and Tim Wesson did two great interactive writing sessions connected to the Wicked Young Writers’ Award and then a brilliant, big, funny event, drawing mash-up characters to order based on their Mega Mash-up series.


Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson with their picture of a mashed-up character suggested by the audience: Zic Zac Zoo is a Zampoid (a vampire/zombie combination with one granny leg and one chicken leg) who eats rotting human brains and likes talking to ladies at the bus stop and playing golf

On Sunday, I spoke on a panel at a Business Breakfast about the Future of Books with James Daunt of Waterstones (whose comments were reported here), Dylan Jones of GQ, and Simon Morrison of Google.

Leigh Hodgkinson did a crafty event, involving many hundreds of sequins and much glitter to introduce children to her new Magical Mix-ups series.


A glittery model of Leigh Hodgkinson’s creation, Princess Sapphire

Lyn Gardner engaged potential readers and hard-core Olivia fans alike with her event on Tuesday, while Tracey Corderoy mentioned Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble at her event for her Little Tiger Books.


Lyn Gardner in the Green Room

And, finally, Helen Peters, who’d hoped to make a long weekend of it and had hired a tepee for her whole family, ended up taking shelter from the floods and wind with us for a couple of nights before sharing the autobiographical inspirations for her debut novel The Secret Hen House Theatre.


Helen Peters singing copies of The Secret Hen House Theatre in the signing tent


Hand-drawn thank you cards from Helen’s children

The festival was a triumph of organisation (thanks to the indefatigable Peter Florence and children’s programme organiser, Sophie Lording), good spirits and committed reading over bad weather. We had a great time, as authors, illustrators, publishers and, for those of us who squeezed in a few events as punters, as enthusiastic audience members.