Two weeks ago I was in the middle of the Cheltenham Literature Festival selling books and managing queues! It was so much fun. A nice little flashback to when I was a full-time Waterstones employee. This included the thing that I miss the most about working at Waterstones… the little black and gold discount card. This is a 50%-off-all-books modern gemstone that I really wish I could keep forever.
I’ve got a pretty modest book haul from the festival. Six. Six lovely little books. That, of course, I’ve yet to start reading. But all of the books have stories attached and are going to be some new sentimental books in my massively sentimental collection.
Alan Bennett is a legend, of course. But I didn’t realise he was even coming to the Lit. Fest! Until a small pile of signed copies turned up the next day. It turned out that he did a stealth signing after hosting an award. I didn’t get to meet him. I did get one of the last signed copies of Smut though.
Mary Beard was one of my favourite people. I love ancient history and she is a master at it! I knew I had loads of questions I wanted to ask her but instead, I just scurried up to her said her I was a massive fan and told her how to spell my name. “An ‘I’ but no ‘E’.” She was so cool, sipping white wine. And I was a mumbly dork. I will never learn.
This was the one book I didn’t get signed. I’d used my dinner hour to listen to her talk and immediately had to go collapse the kid’s tent. I was kind of sad about it because I love Jen Campbell. She’s an awesome BookTuber and writer who is super inspiring and talks about books so well. But I’ve been waiting eagerly for this collection of short stories so I’m really excited to read them.
I was surprised that I bought this one. But I did. It looks great and I absolutely don’t regret buying it but it’s not my usual choice. But I think I’m going to love it. And Matt Haig was so so lovely! His signing queue was massive and he was just the sweetest person.
I’d not heard of Natalie Haynes before I went to see her and Kamila Shamsie talk. But oh my god, I loved her. I could listen to her talk forever. She just chattered about ancient Greece so eloquently I kind of wished I could be her. (And that’s something I have felt about someone for quite a while.) The Children of Jocasta is a retelling of Antigone the Sophocles Greek tragedy. Antigone was my favourite play that I read in school so yeah, can’t wait to try it.
I promised myself that I wasn’t going to impulse buy books at the festival but Natalie Haynes and Kamila Shamsie immediately forced me to break this promise. They were fantastic and I bought both their books and stood in the queue to get them signed like everyone else! Home Fire is a modern retelling of Antigone told from the perspective of two British Muslim families. So many amazing reviews for this one, it was Longlisted for the Booker Prize.
So there they are. My new friends! I just can’t decide which one to read first!!
Thanks for reading!