The Hay Festival of Literature and Arts is currently taking place in Hay-on-Wye, Wales and Laura and I drove up there on Wednesday to see Channel View series editor and author Mike Robinson speak. Neither of us had ever been to Hay before so we were pretty excited!
Mike’s talk was ‘As Readers We Tour the World’ (which links to books we’ve published in our Tourism and Cultural Change series) and it centred on ‘the way in which literature, the literary, and the idea of literary heritage feeds into our practices and performances of being a tourist’. To illustrate this, Mike focused on a lot of fun examples such as the impressions and expectations of England to international readers of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, tourists to New Zealand to visit the ‘real’ Middle Earth and visitors searching for a fictional and undead Dracula’s grave in Whitby!
There was a good turnout for his talk and lots of questions afterwards, including a query on how to get more tourists to Doncaster!
There were definite perks of hanging out with one of the speakers as we got to go into the green room (though we didn’t see anyone famous we recognised) and “artists only” restaurants! We managed to get to one more talk before leaving for home – and we had a good explore of the festival – definitely worth going if you’re in the UK !
Mike Robinson is Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham, UK.