These things don’t happen to a village boy like me | ERIC NGALLE CHARLES, HAY FESTIVAL SCRIBBLERS TOUR 2018

These things don’t happen to a village boy like me | ERIC NGALLE CHARLES, HAY FESTIVAL SCRIBBLERS TOUR 2018

I first came to the Hay festival in 2016 with Pen Cymru, I was overwhelmed by the vastness of the place and the diversity of events that was taking place. I was lucky to do a short performance piece with Pen Cymru and met wonderful writers including Oliver Balch and Owen sheers. I was interviewed and did a Shakespearean piece on King Richard the second which is currently available on the Hay Festival website, that was my first experience of the Hay festival.

In 2017 things got even better whenas I was selected as one of the Hay 30 of uniquely talented individuals to help imagine and shape the world over the next thirty years. Not only that, but I had the chance to perform my play My Mouth Brought Me Here in front of a sold out audience.

Since performing at the Hay Festival, the floodgates of heavens have opened up, my work/audience has grown beyond imagination.

I am now on the Hay Festival Scribblers Tour with the great Daniel Morden – unbelievable! If upon my birth, Babatunde the juju man, the soothsayer had predicted these things for my life, he would have been laughed out of the village shrine, beyond the village gate. I mean, to move from my small village of Soppo in south West Province Republic of Cameroon, the son of a tea plucker, crossing seas and oceans, climbing mountains, seeking peace and finding none, to finally find an abode in Wales and perform at one of the biggest literary festivals.

These things don’t happen to a village boy like me.

Performing at the Hay Festival has been one of the greatest highlights of my career, it has opened up more opportunities, I have met people who have not only motivated me but criticized and chastised me positively. Truly performing at the Hay Festival was as if a mysterious courier had conveyed to the people of Wales what was taking place in my internal courts of justice and in that moment an agreement was made that “Here in Wales, Ngalle’s light will shine and not under the gallows”.

Eric Ngalle Charles is taking part in the Hay Festival Scribblers Tour 2018, which takes writers direct to pupils across Wales in events at Welsh universities. Find out more here.