Fflur Dafydd on Cerys Matthews and Hay 25

Fflur Dafydd on Cerys Matthews and Hay 25

My favourite Hay 2012 moment has to be my daughter waking up in her pram in the Artists’ Restaurant to find Cerys Matthews peering in at her. “Hi, I’m Beca,” she said, totally unfazed by it all, while I – still in awe of my nineties rock icon, mumbled something along the lines of, “Beca, this is Cerys. Do you like her hat?”

 

The previous night, I’d had the great privilege of opening the show for Cerys at the Soundcastle, to a sell-out audience, who all listened attentively to my music as they waited for the great lady to come on stage. On Tuesday, I’d had a wonderful session on creative bilingualism in Wales alongside Prof. Wynn Thomas in the Moot, a chance to promote my Welsh language fiction, and the grand finale was being able to launch my recent English language novel, The White Trail, alongside the wonderful Horatio Clare (and his even more wonderful bow tie), at The Digital Stage. It struck me that only in the Hay Festival would you be able to have such diverse experiences as an artist and still have a new, interested gathering of people at each event. Other highlights included seeing the 2012 Scritture Giovani participants reading their work – a reminder of the Hay new writers’ project that started everything for me as a writer, back in 2005.

 

This was my first Hay with toddler-in-tow and bump-in-belly, and yet my busiest festival to date. The wonderful thing about having a toddler with you in the Green Room is that they can go up to your literary heroes and grab their pens and play with their shoes and shove balloons in their faces and are perceived as cute, whereas you would look like a stalker if you attempted the same thing. But cunningly you get an autograph in the process – “oh dear, I’m very sorry about that, by the way, would you mind….?” And the strange advantage of a muddy Hay-field is that it forces everyone into the pregnancy-waddle, so you don’t feel alone in your struggle to affect a bohemian walk…