Sunday, 12 June 2016

Writing - I used to be indecisive

There is always the question in the air that I dread and it begins with the words 'What is your favourite ...'

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For ten days a year 85,000 people come from all over the UK, Europe, America and the rest of the world to join a carnival celebration of ideas and stories at the Hay Festival.
The programme of some five hundred events takes place in the tented festival village during the spring bank half term holiday. Writers, politicians, poets, scientists, comedians, philosophers and musicians come together on the greenfield site to talk, eat, think, drink and be merry.

This year the BBC have spent time asking my least favourite question of a variety of celebrities, which I will come too shortly.
First of all my reasons for not liking that question in the first place. In fact I think it is psychological as much as anything else because I  have enjoyed aspects of art and literature at different stages in my life and according to the context at the time of experiencing that piece of work. Hence my favourite books currently are the trilogy by Philip Pullman, because I am reading them currently and I chose to revisit the books as the result of a need to relax into some fantasy stories.

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My favourite composer, whom I have enjoyed ever since I first heard the 1812 Overture as a child, is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. However, I find that his big sound isn't always what I need and even though he composed plenty of gentler pieces, I look in other directions when in a more reflective mood.

Similarly, in art there are individual pieces that have an effect but I really couldn't say that there was one particular artist that floats my boat.

So back to the Hay Festival.

Ben Miller

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My favourite book is The Fight by Norman Mailer. For me it’s the kind of voice that you rarely hear. It’s a brilliant fiction writer, writing about a real event, which in this case is something I love – boxing. The famous Rumble in the Jungle...

Charlotte Church

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, or the trilogy. They’re my favourite books because of the amount of imagination, blending fantasy, sci-fi and real human themes and the idea of killing God in a kids’ book is pretty bold!

Mark Strong

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That is a very difficult question, almost impossible to answer at the moment. I just read a book called The Vegetarian by Han Kang, which won the Booker Prize this year. It was recommended to me and it’s still in my head, so right now I think that’s the greatest book I’ve ever read.

Just a selection of some of the people who attended the Hay Festival this year. We who write would love for someone to feel the same about the work that we produce. On the other hand we shouldn't worry because favouritism is such a transigent state.

God Bless