On Friday 26th May pupils from Years 8 and Years 9 set off to Hay-On-Wye to experience the Hay festival. We set off on a coach from Brynteg and began our hour and a half adventure to the Hay Festival. The bus wasn’t boring at all! We sang popular songs, we joked and laughed, even the teachers got involved, although Mr Gibson and Mrs Owen were more interested in ‘confiscating’ the Haribo supplies! All of us lost track of time on the bus we were having so much fun! The landscape on the way was beautiful, a real Welsh landscape! Lush green field’s drifted by, obviously filled with sheep. We passed Pen-y-fan, on which all we could see were little specs and they were people hiking up the mountain. We finally arrived in Hay-On-Wye and passed through the town to the Hay Festival entrance, it was only a small town but it was beautiful, there were little book shops, cafes and some boutiques too. With the border to Herefordshire only meters away! Finally, after driving for an hour and a half to get there, we had arrived!

It was really a beautiful day, the sun was out, sweltering heat, hardly any clouds in the sky. I think the weather forgot we were in Wales! We were happy to get off the coach as we were baking inside, it was nice to get some fresh air! We had arrived at the Festival and it was no disappointment, bright colours, art work out the front, friendly faces greeting you, there was a real buzz of excitement. The tent was swamped with book enthusiasts, schools and helpers. We found a relatively large spot for our group and that was our meeting point.

We had about 20 minutes before we had to go to a talk so we wandered around for a bit, whilst Mr Gibson and Mrs Owen sought their caffeine fix, leaving Mrs O’Brien basking in the sunshine.

After having a wander around the stalls and tents we went to our first talk, and our first talk was with Daniel Morden      (the author of Dark Tales from The Woods).   He told us one of his stories from one of his books which was `The Leaves that Hung but Never Grew`.  He told us the back story of where he got it from and what he thought of it. He then got on to tell us about the story, and you may think he’d sit there and read it, but he didn’t he was very active and he didn’t read it like a robot he read it with real enthusiasm and liveliness.  He did have a rule though, when he came across a word that we knew in the story he would stop and make us yell it out so he could continue on with the story, he did that a couple times throughout the story. Our teachers shouted a little too loudly, which was slightly embarrassing, but all good fun. When he was telling the story, you could almost imagine what it was like. You could imagine what the scene was, the weather, what the characters looked like, what it sounded like. He told everything like it was, he didn’t change any words he read it how it was. But what also amazed me was that he wasn’t reading from the book, he was telling it from his mind. He remembered every line, every word a character said. He put different voices on for them too! Mr Gibson muttered something about it being a nice way to make a living and Mrs Owen kept saying that it should have been her, whatever that meant.

After the amazing talk from Daniel Morden we had the opportunity to get a book signed from him so a few of us went to the book tent and waited in line. In person, he is a really nice person, he wasn’t rude and he wasn’t rushing anyone he was really nice.

Because it was a hot day we all went to find somewhere in the shade. We realised that we were lucky because other schools had to wear uniform and we didn’t. We had about another 30 minutes before the next talk and we spent that getting ice cream, sitting down, taking photographs and just having fun, some of us even went to see the Duchess of Cornwall who attended the festival. We had got to our next talk with an author called Pete Kalu and he was talking about how he felt like he could make a change to people by creating a safe place in a book and how he felt after he had done that. He told us about a comment on one of his books and how a little boy left a comment saying, “I liked the dog the best” and he was confused because he’d spent all this time on characters when he had made up the dog in a matter of minutes but he was okay with that because it made the boy happy. During the talk, he did tell us little re-enactments on stage from one of his books and talking about his ideas. But he also wanted to get people on stage – we didn’t know why yet, but Hollie Mullan and Matthew Galivan made it on stage, making Brynteg proud!  He wanted three short people and three taller people to show how it’s not the size that wins, it’s about how smart you are.

We had about another hour before we had to leave, so we all looked around again, got ridiculous amounts of ice cream, just spent time together and before we knew it we had to get back on the coach. It was a really good day out and we all enjoyed getting an insight into the lives of top authors and how their minds worked. We are all grateful to Mr Gibson, Mrs Owen and Mrs O’Brien for organising the trip and for tolerating our singing on the trip home.

Written by: Kaitlyn Clark Year 9