Sunday. I only went to two events but, wow, they were great.

Having a Laugh – similar to New Voices but where all three books being discussed had elements of comedy about them. Brian Bilston, Lissa Evans and Nina Stibbe spoke about their stories and/or poetry. As expected, it was as funny as the title would suggest but also incredibly thought-provoking. We learnt how each writer approached writing comedy, from autobiographical influences to the form of the text and afterwards, Lissa even kindly gave me some advice on writing comedy myself when I bought her book Old Baggage. I am now half way through reading it and it is as funny as I thought it would be.

I finished ChipLitFest 2019 with A Thousand Ships – the event of my favourite classicist and a personal hero to me, Natalie Haynes, with her new book of the same title as the event. It was a surreal experience for me, since I had only really heard her voice on her BBC 4 radio show before, but seeing her in person was amazing, especially since she came onto the stage and marathon-ed the entire Trojan War (the setting of her new book), explaining all of its subtleties that the simplified popular story misses. It was incredible. I learnt new versions of the story from more oblique sources, was given context to things that had never quite made sense and laughed at her hilarious colloquial take on events of the epic. I honestly had tears in my eyes when she compared the crew of Odysseus to the Red Shirts of Star Trek. I CANNOT wait to read her book, which retells the tale from the point of view of ALL the women involved in the Trojan War… and my mum said she has never seen me look more starstruck than when Natalie Haynes (Natalie Haynes!!) signed my book. I am a HUGE fan, if you haven’t guessed.

Another wonderful weekend and a last tip: go to as many events as possible because you won’t be sorry! A weekend of immense fun – the definition of ChipLitFest. Here’s looking at you, ChipLitFest 2020!