Jim Naughtie on Hay 25

Jim Naughtie on Hay 25

I don’t know if it’s the rain that’s responsible for inducing a particular camaraderie this year, But the 25th Hay seems a happy one to me. The mix of old friends and new audiences is richer than ever, and I have a feeling that the ever-present worry about the festival getting too big has receded a little. People have been looking for fun and stimulation rather than the thrill of catching a glimpse of a famous author…and the discussions have been energetic. I had two novelists who’d both used classical characters in contemporary fiction and I felt at the end as if the entire contents of the tent were going to march to the nearest FE college and sign up for language courses so that they could read the Iliad and the Odyssey properly. Peter Florence said afterwords that he was wondering, given the upsurge of classical enthusiasms, whether to conduct the whole festival next year in Latin. I wouldn’t put it past him.