Literary Festivals And The Big Time

“For 50 years the literary festival remained a pretty humble affair, and not many people’s idea of fun. Facilities were spartan and the tea was served in plastic beakers. As for champagne, forget it. Things began to change in 1988 when Peter Florence set up the Hay Festival, attracting a host of big literary names to the little town on the Welsh border, and, perhaps crucially, newspaper sponsorship to ensure free publicity for the event.”