Stacks of fun, food and fine minds at expanded Hay
Having just drawn breath after the excitement of hanging out with Salman Rushdie, Amos Oz et alia last weekend, we're bracing ourselves for yet another onslaught of international literary heavyweights in a few days. Louis de Bernieres, Jung Chang and Jeremy Paxman are just some among a constellation of distinguished names descending on the town of Kells from Wednesday next when the Hay Festival - offspring of the famous Welsh festival at Hay-on-Wye - kicks off.
Now its second year, this year's Hay has expanded to include a food village and an extensive children's programme. There'll also be plays by Mary Lavin, music from Liam O'Maonlai, comedy from Jason Byrne and several panel discussions on the Great War.
For the bookworms amongst us, highlights include the acclaimed creator of Wild Swans, Jung Chang talking about the Empress Dowager Cixi, the Chinese concubine who abolished the punishment of 'death by a thousand cuts' and foot-binding.
John Banville who last week was made a Knight of the prestigious Ordre des Arts et Lettres will discuss becoming Raymond Chandler, the National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke will celebrate Dylan Thomas' centenary and Joseph O'Connor, Donal Ryan, Glenn Patterson and Audrey Magee will all read from their work. These are just the tip of an imaginative and exciting iceberg. For a full programme of the fest which runs from July 2nd through 6th, take a look at www.hayfestival.org