This weekend, the literary and academic elite gathered in Cambridge for the Wordfest.
Started by Cathy Moore, the literary festival has grown immensely in size and popularity in the ten years since it began.
Spring 2012 was no disappointment. I went to a few inspiring talks, including Michelle Hanson. Though she was great, Fiona Shaw absolutely stole the show for me; providing me with one of the most sensational hours I can remember.
It was only due to a passing comment expressing interest in seeing the well-known actress that I ended up sitting down at 6 o clock on the Sunday evening in the main chamber for the last event of the festival. I was feeling rather pleasantly dozy at the prospect of an hour listening to a speech about love poems, after a pint of cider and a weekend of scheduling and attempting rendezvous.
I think it is safe to say no-one knew what they were getting themselves in to. Firstly, I had no idea Fiona Shaw herself was so incredible. She was hilariously funny; much of her perfectly-timed wit relating to her birthplace, County Cork. She was spectacularly clever; spending much of the hour casually reeling off chunks of poems and plays; from Shakespeare to T.S.Eliot’s The Wasteland. A justified idol, she rode the audience participation wave with perfection; listening and commenting on audience members favourite love poems when they read them to the group. It was quite spectacular - due to Fiona Shaw’s last minute confirmation, the audience were unprepared for this contributory requirement. However this was apparently not a problem for the average Wordfest goer, who it seems has a good poem or two stored in their incredible brains.
It was a interesting, inspiring and emotionally charged hour; one of which I will remember for a long long time.