THE ILLUSTRATION HOT SEAT | ED VERE
There’s an innocent looking field outside the small town of Hay-on-Wye, which is home to one of nature’s great events.
Each year towards the end of May, from all directions and all countries, an incredible gathering of great minds occurs. Few places on earth witness such a rich concentration of Homo Sapiens exchanging ideas, thoughts, philosophies, opinions, jokes, conversations, drawings and songs.
I was here to read my new picture book to a large tent of children and their families. Grumpy Frog is a book about intolerance, inspired in part by contemporary politics & other part from witnessing a few toddler tantrums over the years. Seeing an amphibian meltdown seems to be a sound way to elicit gleefully told tales of the young audience’s recent tantrums and their varying causes; Not wanting to go in the bath! Having to put on socks! Not getting to wear a tutu when your LITTLE SISTER can… Most unfair! (Remind you of anyone?)
I also had a turn in ‘The Illustration Hot Seat’, where, I quietly sat at a table in the ‘Make & Take’ tent and drew for an ever growing crowd of children. There’s something amazing in children’s rapt fascination as they watch a drawing unfold – I could have spent the whole day there.
A 24 hour flying visit meant I was only able to see a couple of events. Paddy Ashdown was superb relating stories from his new book Game of Spies, and movingly talked about the dire need for a centre ground in contemporary politics.
Stephen Fry talking to Neil Gaiman about the differences between Norse & Greek mythology as Chris Riddell drew was pure Hay brilliance.
But my highlight was later that evening, drawing from the audience alongside Chris Riddell at Amanda Palmer’s powerful concert. Like a rapt child I watched his drawings miraculously unfold, as I tried and failed to keep up.
Funny, thoughtful, fascinating, invigorating, inspiring… If you need to reaffirm your faith in the Homo Sapien – come to Hay.Tweet