I was at Addyman's Bookshop last night for an evening of book readings. It was free, but there was a charge for the wine (with proceeds to St Michael's Hospice) and free olive bread to nibble. Of course, they were also hoping that the audience would buy some of the books. I treated myself to Uprooted, which is about the Green Man.
The room to the side of the front door and counter was full of stools, and the audience overflowed into the paperback section at the back, though we could all hear all right even at the back. Various people said it was nice to have an event in a bookshop other than Booths for a change, despite being quite cramped.
Apparently Vanguard book readings are popular in London - so popular they have started to publish their own books. Two were for sale at the event - a poetry book and a book of short fiction by some well known authors. Because some people said it was a pity the readings were all in London, they've started a tour of the country. They were in Grasmere in January, and later in the year they'll be in Manchester and Norwich, and other venues too.
Here's a picture of Addyman's window, with the Vanguard authors displayed.
Oliver and Emma Balch helped to organise the Hay event, and Oliver was the first to read, from his new book Under the Tump. He read the section where King Richard Booth presides over a meeting of the University of Cusop Dingle.
The next author laughed that he had tried to get even more local than Oliver with his novel Addlands, which is set around Painscastle, starting in 1941. He read a section about ploughing with a horse, and a couple of sections set in 1963.
Other local authors read from a book about manic depression called Tristomania, a book about the Green Man (Nina Lyon), a book about the biggest refugee camp in Africa - it's in Kenya and has been there for twenty five years, and there was a piece about dub music from another author.
I'm sorry I didn't take note of the names. I was too busy sipping white wine and chatting. Surprising fact of the night was that Jo Eliot thinks she may have taught the new Mayor of Bristol, but she doesn't remember him being in her class because he must have been one of the good boys, and she only remembers the horrors!
Some of the books were for sale in Addymans. One of the authors is having a book launch during the Festival, and Di Blunt threatened him with her displeasure if he tried to sell any books last night! He didn't want to get on the wrong side of Di!
[Edited to add: I assumed that Di was still in charge of the Festival Bookshop when the author made his comment, but a couple of people have told me today that she is no longer involved.]
And the authors were (I found the list!):