‘For the moment, Hay seems to be the only place in the British Isles where the sun’s still shining.’ – Joanne Harris

‘For the moment, Hay seems to be the only place in the British Isles where the sun’s still shining.’ – Joanne Harris

Like Brigadoon, Hay pops up as if by magic every year; a moving city of walkways, tents, deck-chairs, children’s play-sets, scented gardens, cafés and shops. Mine was a flying visit this year; today I spoke about my new book, Different Class, to a full house, and last night I told real-life stories to a marvellous audience, about the work of PLAN International; of its many projects in countries all around the world to improve the lives of women and girls, and so help communities to grow. The Starlight Tent was a wonderful venue in which to speak of hopes and dreams, of re-inventing the world we know to make it better for everyone. The highlight for me was the quartet of little boys on the front row, listening attentively throughout; their eyes wide with astonishment at these tales of other places, and of how stories can change the world. One of them spoke to me at the end. “That was brilliant,” he said. “Have you written any books?”

Kid, give me time. I’m working on it. For the moment, Hay seems to be the only place in the British Isles where the sun’s still shining. And someone has brought me home-made cookies for the train ride home. So, for the moment, the books can wait.