Hay – Landscape, Literature and the Town of Books
The ancient border town of Hay-on-Wye is famous for three things: bookshops, the annual Festival of Literature and its stunning location. Jim Saunders’ new book is a portrait of Hay, its setting and its people in words and photographs. Atmospheric and insightful images are interspersed with an informative exploration of the town’s history and the stories and characters associated with it – among them Francis Kilvert, Alfred Watkins, Hay poisoner Herbert Armstrong, the Baskerville/Conan Doyle connection, Bruce Chatwin, Eric Gill, Owain Glyndŵr, Richard Booth, and the Hay Festival. The book also includes brief vignettes about ordinary ‘Hay people’ – a Radnorshire farmer, Paralympian Josie Pearson, a mysterious German PoW, the local carpenter, and businesswoman Joyce Gervis among them.
The result is a record of the relationship in which a landscape of great beauty shapes a people, and a people shape a unique place. Jim’s book is peppered with glorious images of the town and the surrounding countryside, and telling portraits of inhabitants and visitors. It is as special as the place and people it portrays.