News: Hay Festival of Literature Events – Damian Barr talks to India Knight

Hay Festival

Following on from my previous blog post, our second event at the Hay Festival was Damian Barr talks to India Knight.

India is a British journalist and author of fiction and non fiction. Damian was here discussing India’s latest book Mutton.

Here’s the blurb:


What’s a woman to do when she wakes up one morning and finds an enormous freak-wrinkle bisecting her forehead? When she walks past the buildings site and nothing happens? When she catches the eye of a nice young man and is rewarded with a kind, patient, for-granny smile?

Clara Hutt, 46, feels herself to be in her absolute prime. She is chipper. Her sap is rising mightily, as it happens. But then her friend Gaby comes back from California and moves in with her. Gaby is no stranger to Los Angeles’s more invasive cosmetic procedures. She may be pushing 50 but she looks 35. And Clara wonders: should she follow suit? A little Botox, a little filler, a little nip, a little tuck . . . but where to stop? And is nostril-waxing ever a good idea?

The basis of the discussion was about women’s obsessions with their looks as they get older, the desire to look younger yet still withering on the inside and how some reach for the surgeon’s knife or injections of various chemicals (ie botox) and India discussed her own disaster experience of botox.

Also discussed, was the difference between men and women in their 50’s starting new relationships and the perception others have us. Ie it’s now cool for an older man to keep his grey hair and be known as a ‘silver fox’ but this doesn’t apply to women.

India revealed she’s thinking of writing a self help guide to being 40 / 50 and a guide to the menopause. I’ve not read any of India’s books so don’t know here writing style but having listened to her here, I don’t know how serious these would be, they’d probably come with a large slice of humour 🙂

These two were great together, there seemed to be a really comfortable rapport between them and it was like no question could be asked and answered. So, overall, a great way to spend an hour, chuckling over things we’ve all thought about and stressed about.

Will definitely be back to Hay next year and will be more organised to attend more events.

News: Hay Festival of Literature Events – Maggie Shipstead


So yesterday my friend Helen and I attended the Hay Festival for the first time. The weather, the atmosphere and whole event was superb. It was excellently organised and a great day out for the whole family. It was brilliant to see a huge queue of children outside the book shop waiting to have their books signed.

Our first event at 11.30am was the author Maggie Shipstead talking with Allison Pearson. We’d not heard of either of these ladies but it was Seating Arrangementsa really nice opener to our Hay day.

Maggie’s debut novel Seating Arrangements was the hot topic of conversation. Originally starting out as a short story this novel won the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize. The book is about a family wedding set in New England over the course of 3 days. Maggie gave us a short reading from the novel highlighting the lead character’s desire for sons when he has only daughters.

Maggie also discussed her education, being accepted onto the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and being taught by British novelist Zadie Smith and gave us a querky insight into Zadie’s headscarf!

Maggie’s next novel is about ballet called Astonish Me.

This was a really friendly interview and Allison Pearson obviously really enjoyed and recommends this book so I purchased a signed copy of Seating Arrangements  from the Hay Festival bookshop so look out for the review soon.

News: Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts


So this year, at rather short notice a friend and I have decided to attend the Hay Festival on Sunday 26th May in Hay-on-Wye Wales.

As we’ve left it quite late some of the events we’d like to have attended were sold out – let that be a lesson to us and others, plan early!

However, we have managed to book 3 events for the Sunday, which are as follows:

  • Maggie Shipstead talks to Allison Pearson

A conversation with the winner of the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize for her elegant East Coast
social satire Seating Arrangements – praised as a perfectly-realised world of exquisite comic savagery.”

  • India Knight talks to Damian Barr

An hilarious novel about the female midlife crisis from the star columnist, Twitter queen and author of My Life On A Plate, Don’t You Want Me and Comfort And Joy.

  • Marcus Brigstocke

No less than the total restructuring of every aspect of life in Britain organised through the medium of jokes. See this show – WIN a free hospital or school! Second prize – a major High Street bank

Find out more about The Hay Festival here 

It’s sure to be a great day and we hope for a dry day but we won’t let the weather spoil our day of culture…more to follow 🙂