Event Recap: Hay Festival

Last year, it was my first time at the Hay Festival, and I loved it.  Not just for the fact I got to meet some of my favourite YA writers, but everywhere there are people sharing their love of books, and I had never experienced that before. As you stand in queue, those behind you are discussing the likes of The Hunger Games and The Fault in Our Stars(I heard a lot about these books in the queue for a Cassandra Clare signing this year), and you see all sorts of merchandise including Harry Potter t-shirts as you people-watch. I adore the atmosphere, and just soak it up. You don't usually see children in public reading on their Kindles, or even adults trying to navigate the crowds of people heading to events while holding a hardback. Never have I heard teenagers behind me playing a game I recognise from a John Green novel. The one difference between these two years was clear though: the weather. It's Wales. And it never stops raining.
On my way!
My first event was on Saturday and this was Cassandra Clare's talk, ahead of the release of City of Heavenly Fire in a few days! I read City of Bones last summer, but have yet to continue the series, so I spent most of the time trying to avoid spoilers, although they usually make me more excited to read the books for myself. Clare was being interviewed by her friend Sarah Rees Brenna, and at that time, I wanted nothing more than an American accent. She was incredibly bubbly and absolutely hilarious - especially when reading an extract from the Bane Chronicles, imitating Isabelle's voice along with Clare. Topics went from the Mortal Instruments series to the Infernal Devices, and the love interests to the movie adaptation. When it came to questions, one of them was whether Clare thought the characters were brought to life like she imagined. Of course, you expect an author to agree and then praise the screenwriter at this point. But, without hesitation, she bluntly said, "No." I loved this. A quick, knife-sharp answer that said so much. It was surprising, admittedly, but hearing her talk about the film adaptation made me realise how rare it is that authors are actually involved beyond being invited onto the set once or twice.
I think I own enough books to do this.
Another topic of conversation was the representation of sexuality in her books - as we find out both Alec and Magnus are gay during the series. What shocked me that most was how publishers had turned down the series because of the homosexual characters; but, both Clare and Brenna laughed about how they must feel about this decision now. Currently, Clare is in the UK to research her new book series, set Edwardian times called The Dark Artifices, which is also based in the Shadowhunter world. Although, she did say that she would use any excuse to spend some time in London! My favourite part of Clare's event was during the Q&A, and listening to what fellow fans of the series were desperate to know about CoHF. One of my favourite theories though must be that Isabelle is adopted(she has a different eye colour to her parents and brother). Although we didn't get any answers, we did learn a little about Biology from the author, where I was quite proud that I understood what she was talking about(revision).
Jacqueline Wilson!
On Sunday, my nine-year-old self came out onto the surface for Jacqueline Wilson's event. I can't remember a time when there wasn't a book by Wilson on my shelf, as she was the author that introduced me to a love of books in the first place. The first book that I found myself sobbing through was My Sister Jodie, and my favourite heroine was Hetty Feather. So, I was both anxious and excited before her talk, as I had a very clear image in my mind of the women whose books I have grown up with.  Her talk was brilliant. Rather than being interviewed, she took to the stage herself, and talked to a captive audience for almost an hour. I may have been one of the oldest people there - apart from the parents who were probably dragged along by their children - but, I enjoyed myself so much. You can't describe listening to somebody you have looked up to talk about their experiences, and Wilson spoke about everything from her love of animals to meeting the Queen and knowing J. K. Rowling. What struck me the most was how humble she was, thanking everyone for being there. My admiration of her grew even bigger in the space of an hour.

Roll on next year!

Have you ever been to a book festival?
If so, what was your favourite event?
Tell me in the comments!


  1. Sounds like you had an amazing time! I'm so jealous!
    I've never been to a book festival, just because of the timing of where they are and the travel. I really wanted to go to YALC this year but we live in Manchester whilst YALC is in London and we are going to London a couple of weeks after the convention. It's just happened to be really bad timing.
    I'd love to go to Hay sometime in the future though :)

    1. It was fab! So sorry you can't make it to YALC! I would have loved to have met you, Holly! Everything always seems to happen at the wrong time!

      YES! Make sure to tell me if you come!

      -Sophie :) x

  2. I have to say, I hated the Cassandra Clare event - I found the interviewer woman intensely irritating, and as much as it pains me to say it, because I LOVE Cassie Clare, I was so happy to be out of the room. I just don't think they got British audiences, since it was so scripted! So sad we didn't get to meet but great post, Sophie! x

    1. I wasn't the only one thinking it seemed scripted at the beginning! I think it improved a lot, but can still understand where you're coming from!

      So sad we didn't get to meet either! Would have loved to have met you, but I had no WIFI! Why are these festivals in the middle of a field?!

      Thanks, Orli!

      -Sophie :) x

  3. AHHH Jacqueline Wilson wish i was there ,look at the beatfuil fileds and entrace looks cool, all aways wish to go to the Hay Festvial but never get to go.

    1. I love Jacqueline Wilson too! She's lovely!

      Hopefully you'll get to go one day! It's so much fun(as long as it's not raining!).

      -Sophie :)

  4. SOPHIE!!! I'm so glad you had a great time! I wish I could have been there, but I'm going to see Cassie in June instead! I've met Sarah Rees Brennan -the interviewer- before and SHE'S SO FUNNY AND NICE! Her books are feels-filled too...
    I'm happy you enjoyed the Jacqueline Wilson event too! I read My Siter Jodie when I was younger, and OH GOSH. I don't think I expected it to be so sad!!
    Hopefully I'll get to go another year but I'm happy you had a great time this year!!

    Rita xx

    1. RITA!!!! Long time no speak!

      Thank you! I hope you have fun! She was lovely at the singing, sitting there and making jokes!

      My Sister Jodie must be the most heart-breaking book I read as a child too! I wasn't expected it, either!

      -Sophie :) x


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Sophie Louise