Review: Graham Norton delights packed-out tent at Hay Festival as he talks about novel

EVERY year when I go to Hay[1] Festival I think how lucky I am to have this huge literary festival on my doorstep- and this year was no different. Even with this year’s security fears, the site in Hay-on-Wye was still bustling with people eager to see their favourite authors talk about their books. Organisers have introduced extra security measures, including increased site staffing, police presence and bag searches.

On Saturday I saw the ever-likeable and charming Graham Norton talk about his debut novel, Holding, which has received glowing reviews. He was interviewed by Viv Groskop in the 1,700 capacity Tata Tent, which was of course, full. Norton spoke about how he always wanted to write a book and when a publisher approached him to ask him to write his memoirs, he only agreed if he could get a two-book deal and also write a novel too.

But as the novel, set in a remote village in Ireland, has been so well-received, he is already writing his second. Norton spoke about his popular TV show on BBC1 on a Friday night- when asked who he would like to see sat on the sofa, he said the young royals, William, Kate and Harry. He also talked about his Radio 2 show and Eurovision and had the audience laughing throughout the one-hour slot.

I also had the pleasure of seeing Olympic diver, Tom Daley talk about his book, Tom’s Daily Plan, which includes recipes,work-outs and tips on mindfulness. He was another natural in front of an audience and was very open when he spoke about the highs and lows of his diving career. His ambition obviously stood out as he spoke about his hopes of winning gold at Tokyo 2020 but he also seems refreshingly down-to-earth.

He answered youngster’s questions at the end of his interview with charm and encouragement. And Daley’s book doesn’t include all things good for you, as he has also included recipes of some of his favourite desserts including cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding. The final talk I saw was by journalist Simon Garfield, who spoke about how the world became obsessed with time.

He looked at how we have perceived, contained and saved time over the past 250 years in a witty and intelligent talk. Hay Festival[2] really does have something for everything- there are a huge amount of talks available. It runs until June 4 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

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