During my Hay Days this year, I attended several events aimed at older readers. Acceptance, self belief, being open and reflecting all sections of society in books were just some of the topics that were discussed, making fascinating listening and offering much food for thought. This is the first post about these events!
Juno Dawson, Eve Ainsworth, Martyn Bedford and Patrice Lawrence appeared on the Starlight Stage in conversation with Daniel Hahn.
Eve Ainsworth spoke about her new book, 'Crush' which Daniel described as 'very dark and gripping.' Trained in child protection and with a background of working in schools talking to troubled youngsters, she spoke passionately about making sure toxic relationships such as bullying (the subject of her first book, '7 Days') and abusive partners (the subject of 'Crush'). "You need to offer understanding for both sides- not just cast people into 'good' and 'bad'roles."
Believing fiction engenders empathy, Martyn Bedford commented on how important it is not to preach to a reader, but to make a character really work. " Characters have to work outside the disorder, not just be a vehicle for it." Daniel Hahn said that authors are 'creating a much wider sense of what is normal.' Martyn's latest book is 'Twenty Questions for Gloria'.
Described as 'an extraordinarily accomplished debut' by Daniel, Patrice Lawrence spoke about her book, 'Orangeboy'. She feels that role models need to be real -people that you might know. She spoke about how lives are and yet how different; how would you know about things from someone else's perspective unless you ask. She really made me think!
Juno Dawson was very open with the audience, sharing an experience from Hay last year which changed things for her. She wrote 'Mind Your Head'- a book about mental health- in the hope that it will help other discuss issues. "A book is easier to talk about than yourself" she said.
A fascinating session- great books to read!