The Beauty of the Hay Literary Festival

KK-web-13Policy Press Marketing Manager Kathryn King shares her first experience of the Hay Literary Festival. Policy Press were delighted that five of our authors were speaking at the event – Danny Dorling, Mary O’Hara, Peter Hain, Hugh Ellis and Kate Henderson.

“It was with a lot of excitement that I set off to drive to Hay-on-Wye on Saturday 23rd May for my first ever visit to the Hay Literary Festival. I was lucky enough to be going to hear our authors Danny Dorling and Mary O’Hara talk about inequality and austerity, and launch their books Injustice: Why social inequality still persists and Austerity bites: A journey to the sharp end of cuts in the UK.

hay_1Arriving at the Festival I was struck by the size of the site and the number of people. I had a quick tour to familiarise myself, visiting the various stands, including the Oxfam second-hand books stall, before making my way to the Telegraph Stage to meet up with Danny and Mary ahead of their talk. The venue was packed.

Chairing the talk was Mark Goldring, CEO of Oxfam. Danny spoke about inequality and the 1% and Mary about the effects of austerity on those it affects the most – the poor. One of the special things about Hay is that is brings together different people with shared passions and interests, very evident here as the authors spoke on this emotive subject.

It was very moving to hear the stories and illustrations of the differences in living standards between the very richest and the very poorest in our society along with commentary on the likely situation over the next five years with the newly-elected Conservative Government.

There were many murmurs of empathy from the audience as Mary read snippets from her book, and laughter and applause when Danny said “There will always be greedy & selfish people. But you don’t have to vote for them.” Danny and Mary then took questions from the audience in a lively session, again ably chaired by Mark Goldring.

hay-2Afterwards, Mary and Danny signed copies of their books in the Festival Bookshop where a long queue formed. I spotted copies of two of our other books: Rebuilding Britain and Back to the future of Socialism whose authors – Hugh Ellis & Kate Henderson and Peter Hain – were speaking later in the Festival.

Making our way to the Artists’ Green Room for a welcome drink, Mary and I indulged in a bout of celebrity spotting, though our own celebrity, Danny Dorling, had had to leave for another talk. We finished the evening with dinner in one of Hay’s many hostelries before Mary rushed off to another event and I headed home, very pleased with how the talk and books had been received.

All of the books mentioned above are available from www.policypress.co.uk and all good bookshops.

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