Friday, January 30, 2015

Live from Cartagena, Colombia

So busy the last few weeks that I have no time to write and very little time to read even.

Usually from just after Christmas until the point in which our printed program is sent off to the designer and printer, I eat, drink, sleep and dream Festival events. Thousands of emails are exchanged. Phone calls are made. Drinks with publishers and hosts, coffee with authors and artists. (That's true year round but this time of year, it's super concentrated).

And in the thick of the busiest time of year, I zip off to Colombia for the Hay Festival. No, this isn't a vacation (despite what everyone in our office thinks!): it's work. Receptions, events, cocktail parties, meeting authors. It's all exhausting.

OK it's good work but it is pretty much non-stop from the moment I arrive until I'm on that flight back to New York.

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
So much to see this year! Last night it was Laurent Binet. I loved his book HHhH which came out a few years ago and last night he was on stage with Felipe Restrepo Pombo, discussing French literature, his work, and Charlie Hebdo (I imagine there will be a lot of that since this is really the first major literary Festival since all that took place).

Today we'll see Andrew Solomon and some events on Colombian literature. Then our good friend Kim Thuy will be in conversation with Binyavanga Wainana and Peter Florence about Writing What's Important. Kim Thuy needs no introduction but Wainana is an interesting figure.

Other events on Indigenous writing in the Americas and How to Imagine New Societies also peaked our interest.

Then, it must be said, there are the parties! Gorgeously dressed people from all over the world, great food, excellent music. What a life!

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