Part Two: A Day at the Hay Festival

With 'Rose' at Hay
Bunting’s a bit thin on the ground in this part of west Wales (mind you, so are houses) but Diamond Jubilee carnivals, apparently, are not. We seem to join up with one in every other village on our journey to Hay, but anyone not on a float appears to have turned up either at the Hay festival or in the town.

My daughter Rose and I are delighted to have been invited to help Honno Press celebrate twenty-five years of publishing Welsh women’s writing at their anniversary party, but first we go for a wander round the festival site. There are queues for author events, book-signings, ice creams, but not, thankfully, the loos which are surprisingly civilised. A steward is bellowing that this is NOT the queue for Jeanette Winterson at one line, another column is supposed to lead to Stephen Fry, although Rose and I aren’t convinced it’s the back of his head we can see, and there’s Monty Don in the bookshop looking – I’ll be able to tell Ma – just like he does on the TV.

What a wonderful cake!

And so to the Moot and the Honno party where we link up with lovely Kath Eastman and meet new friend Juliet Greenwood, author of Eden’s Garden. There’s a real atmosphere of celebration and a quiet sense of pride and satisfaction in all that this independent co-operative press run by women has achieved. I even get a bit tearful during the speeches!

Co-founder Rosanne Reeves with Helena Earnshaw, Press Officer.
Honno was established with the aim of increasing opportunities for Welsh women in publishing and to bring Welsh women’s literature to a wider public. Rose and I both have reason to be grateful to them. I was a contributor to the Honno anthology on motherhood, Strange Days Indeed, and was the winner of their Coming of Age One Sentence competition. Both of these successes gave me the confidence to finish my novel and resulted in me being offered a contract by my wonderful publisher, Choc Lit. Rose was a Honno volunteer gaining hands-on experience into the day-to-day workings of a small publishing house, and now works as Research and Development Controller for a successful publisher of children’s books. 

Thank you, Honno. Happy anniversary and congratulations on twenty-five wonderful years!

'All Shall Be Well'  published to celebrate 25 years of Welsh  women's writing and a selection of Honno books.


Fennie said…
Well done, Chris. We are going on Sunday if it ever stops raining. Simon Schama, William Boyd and Simon Callow, beckon. But I'll look out for the Honno stall! Lovely pic by the way.
Chris Stovell said…
It was dry, fortunately, for us Fennie, but the grass was already churned up and there was a fair amount of mud about. Enjoy your day (and thanks!).
Frances said…
Chris, I thank you for the opera encouragement!

The picture of you and Rose is absolutely lovely. It's grand that you two could go to Hay together and participate in the Honno celebrating. It sounds like a very fine day. Very glad that the sun was around, too.

(Hay is another event I've been meaning to get to...for many years. I'm now reading Wm Boyd's latest novel.)

Chris Stovell said…
Thank you, Frances. Being there with my lovely daughter did make it a particularly special day.

It sounds as if Fennie might be able to tell you a bit more about William Boyd after Sunday, but perhaps you've heard him (Mr Boyd) already?

Do you know, Frances, I'm beginning to think that To See and Do list of yours is endless!
Pondside said…
How great that you were able to be there for Rose and celebrate your own achievements!
Sounds lime you both had a great time. I'm determined to go to the Hay Festival one of these years.

Great picture. You're so very much alike!
Friko said…
I was there on the same day, I went to Winterson's reading, and to AC Grayling's lecture, as well as the interview with Mario Vargas Llosa. I wish I'd known that you were there. I didn't know about Honno. I am going again tomorrow, Saturday. to see Frayn and Tomalin, and I'll look out for the Honno stall.
Chris Stovell said…
Good to see you Pondside, after your own celebrations!

Yes, worth it for someone you really want to see, Debs, but I think we were very lucky with the weather, it tipped down the next day.

Yes, poor Rose!

Oh, that's a pity Friko, it would have been great to catch up. Enjoy Hay today... the rain's stopped here!
Cottage Garden said…
I will get to the Hay Festival one of these days!

Well done Chris, and to Rose on her new job. Lovely picture of you both.

Jane Lovering said…
How fabulous it all looks - I'd love to go to Hay. Glad you had such a lovely time, and congratulations to Honno for such longevity in these difficult times!
Chris Stovell said…
It's certainly worth it for the experience, Jeanne, and if there's someone you'd particularly like to hear.

Thanks Jane, yes, well done Honno and here's to 25 years of Choc Lit too.
Liz Harris said…
Hi, Chris!

I enjoyed the article. I had another friend there, too, who's also publised by Honno - Margaret Pelling. She, too, found the event a most enjoyable one.

And that cake!!

Liz X
Evonne Wareham said…
Sounds good Chris. I was due to go on Wednesday, but got struck by the dreaded lurghie and spent the day in bed! Next year!!
Chris Stovell said…
Thanks, Liz - yes that cake was splendid. It was a happy day.

Hope you're feeling better now, Evonne. OH is currently under the weather - there seems to be a lot of lurgy about.
Henriette said…
Chris - Sounds like a brilliant day out. Next year I might join you.

Incidentally, when I hear the name "Hay", I'll always think of "Lady of Hay" by Barbara Erskine. It wasn't until after I'd read the book, that I realised it was actually a real place... Durr!
Flowerpot said…
Sounds fabulous, Chris, so glad you had such a good day. And the weather was kind - been terrible here!
Chris Stovell said…
Yes, do come along, Henri - that would be great! I love that book - the first Barbara Erskine novel I'd read.

Thanks, Sue - I think the weather has been better there today, but we were quite lucky to stay dry.
Toni Sands said…
Just to prove I fought back at my Google account! Really enjoyed your account of Hay Festival, Chris and the photo's lovely. Yes, we must try to arrange a bevy of RNA members meeting up next year!
Chris Stovell said…
Hurray - there you are! Good to see you back, Toni!

Popular Posts