The Matilda Project Hits the Hay Festival

IMG_1908Hay-on-Wye is a little town of about 1500 people that sits just on the border of England and Wales and is most famous for the Hay Festival, the annual gathering that celebrates literature and the arts.

But the town’s other claim to fame is that it is the ‘Town of Books.’  Despite its small size and population, the town is home to more than thirty bookshops. In 1962, when Richard Booth opened the first one, Hay was a quiet little place in the Welsh borders but within ten years, it had become Mecca for bibliophiles, as dozens of other bookshops clustered around it.  In 1977, Booth declared it The Independent Kingdom of Hay, and since then, the town, its literary festival and its many bookshops have made it heaven for book tourists.


I am one such tourist.  The incompatibility of our little tent with the rainy Welsh weather aside, it has been brilliant to see writers, artists, philosophers and booksellers talk to sold-out crowds about the things they love.  But Hay’s bookshops have really stolen my heart and with a running total of eight books bought, I am going a little bit crazy.

While it is impossible to really go through all the bookshops in the town on such a short trip, over the next couple of days I will try (if I can pull apart the blur of book-related bliss and organise them into separate bookshops) to walk you, my beloved readers, through the bookshops of Hay, in the hopes that you will fall in love with them the way I have.

Stay posted, and happy reading.


15 responses to “The Matilda Project Hits the Hay Festival

  1. Hay is a great plate.


  2. I want to live there!


  3. madiirenee

    How wonderful! Must put it on the bucketlist to visit one day!


  4. I am SOOOO looking forward to your upcoming posts. Can’t wait. Great town.


  5. This is my new dream vacation spot! Thanks for writing about it and I’ll be looking out for your next post about Hay- THE Bibliophiles’ Mecca:-)


  6. I want to live here!!


  7. I’ve always wanted to go to the Hay Festival! Hay-on-Wye is great! Been there twice and still haven’t hit every bookshop!


  8. How did i not know about Hay. Can’t wait to learn more.


  9. I came back from Hay yesterday… I just love it there so much. I’m trying to get my head in to a place where I might be able to actually write something worthwhile about it on my blog. But I may just settle in and read what you have to say instead!


  10. Reblogged this on Julian Froment's Blog and commented:
    I love the ‘Kindles are Banned from the Kingdom of Hay’ banner! I haven’t been here for a few years now, but there were some great book shops, and I doubt whether much has changed. A great place to visit.


  11. I love this! Wish I was there. This is going on my facebook page right now!


  12. I came to visit today! Rainy, but still lovely 🙂


  13. What a great place! It’s so wonderful to know that places like this exist in the world.


  14. Just two words….really jealous!


  15. Pingback: Quinto & Francis Edwards | The Matilda Project

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