TWO GENERATIONS OF FEMINISM | LAURIE PENNY

TWO GENERATIONS OF FEMINISM | LAURIE PENNY

Coming to Hay Festival Winter Weekend was well worth the two days of travel. Even this morning, staggering off a freezing rail replacement bus service between Hereford and Worcester, stumbling through an icy industrial estate in search of somewhere with hot tea to spend a two-hour wait for the next bus, wearing my spare cardigan as a scarf, I regret absolutely nothing. You see, I got to be on stage with Rosie Boycott, talking about how to end violence against women.

I first encountered Rosie Boycott’s work 12 years ago, when an eccentric relative for some reason thought that a copy of ‘The Spare Rib Reader’ was an appropriate gift for your nine-year-old niece. That turned out to be the correct instinct. Sometimes the right book arrives in the right hands at the right time. That’s why, although I now write on the internet for a living, it’s still my ambition to create books well crafted enough to move the universe for some impressionable young person, somewhere. Books have a different after-life, and a different conversation takes place around them, and you never know who’s going to be listening.

I managed to keep my cool around Rosie Boycott – just about – and fight the urge to react as if a member of One Direction had just walked into the Green Room and asked how my journey was. Lovely, I lied, not mentioning that I’d have walked all the way from London to be on that panel if I’d had to. I also got to hear Natalie Haynes deliver an hour-long stand-up set about Euripides without once doing the trousers joke. Perhaps that’s not a lot of idea of a perfect night out – but then again, a lot of people are silly.

Laurie Penny, author of ‘Everything Belongs to the Future’ was talking to Rosie Boycott at Hay Winter Weekend on Saturday 25 November 2017.