Monday, May 28, 2007

Meet the author - for real

I've just been to the Hay Festival, which I've posted about on my other blog, and which has now become so huge, with remote stages and audiences of up to 800 or so, that there's not really much chance to get to talk to authors. On Saturday morning we went to a discussion with novelists Gail Jones and Hisham Matar, led by Meet the Author website David Freeman, but stuck in a darkened 'auditorium' it didn't much feel like meeting them, and only two or so audience questions were allowed.

But a Fringe Festival has started up in compensation in the town (the official festival is now on a site three-quarters of a mile out), and, wandering through the streets, John and I came upon a reading about to begin in the tiny Hay Poetry Bookshop, by the celebrated Irish poet Tony Curtis. We had met Tony once before, at the South Tipperary Festival at Clonmel - not that he remembered, but that didn't stop him with true Irish lying charm referring to the occasion constantly throughout the reading, and suggesting afterwards that we three pose for a photo for old times' sake (Tony's on the right).

He was reading from his fantastic new book, The Well in the Rain (Arc). You know what's embarrassing when you're in such close proximity to the author and the other crammed listeners? It's OK when the poet makes you laugh (as of course he did), but what what about all the times he made me cry?

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