From the moment I heard that the Irrawaddy Literary Festival was to take place in Yangon, I have been in a state of undisguised anticipation. I booked a day’s leave for the first day on Friday and managed to protect the time.
So to say I was gutted when I awoke in the early hours of Friday morning, with tell-tale stomach cramps and all the other signs of a nasty stomach bug, would be a highly accurate description of my physical as well as emotional being. I was violently ill all day and was unable to venture far from bed let alone get dressed and head anywhere near the festival. There are some things which just cannot be rationalised, and are just plain not fair!
By Saturday morning, although still not truly back to full strength, I was at least able to head outside, and slowly made my way mid morning to the Festival. From that moment onwards, I spent the most amazing time. My whole bookcase seems to have come to life with such a wealth of well known writers as well as authors new to me being all around me. I listened to wise and inspiring words, chatted with the real people who own the names I have seen on my bookshelf day in and day out, and I turned into one gushing “I-just-loved-your-wonderful-book-and-fascinating-talk” groupie in a frighteningly short period of time. I am not quite sure how otherwise to articulate that in a non gushing way.
The sun has set on this first Literary Festival, and I have a great deal to share, about the ideas and inspirations I have gained and the conversations I have been part of. This is a very quick preview for now…………..