Yesterday I attended the tenth anniversary of Cambridge Wordfest with my young adult fiction book club – we got together via Forever Young Adult, aka the greatest website for teen fiction aficianados in the world.
Lunch was had at the somewhat odd Fitzbillies near the Fitzwilliam Museum. The menu is kind of rationing-era austere: my friend Anne had a “1938 beef patty” which turned out to be pastry stuffed with unseasoned mince. I had a not-very-good Welsh rarebit; but the prices are eye-watering, even for a Londoner. But I DEVOURED a rum truffle – the cafe redeems itself with its CAKES:
Fo reals, their Chelsea buns are so, like, RENOWNED, that they have a mail-order service just for the buns. Not for the rest of their cakes (which include, hilariously, little fondant frogs), just the killer buns. Amazing.
After a discussion of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (conclusion: we love but also waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah), we headed out for a wander around the lovely city of Cambridge before attending the City Picks: Literary Cambridge talk. I was expecting a discussion of Cambridge’s literary figures, maybe a bit of historical gossip? What we got instead was a wonderful virtual tour of Cambridge via many extracts from literary works describing areas of the city.
I could have lived without the attempts at American accents when reading Sylvia Plath’s letters home and I will confess to having a little snooze (it was a warm room and I had a sugar crash, plus people reading out loud to me is just the nicest most cuddlesome snoozy thing).
Next up was an emergency eyeliner hunt, dinner, lots of red wine and a talk/interview/Q&A whatsit with the marvellous Grace Dent. I think I laughed up a kidney. Returned home about A SQUAGILLION POUNDS poorer and toting many YA books to review here: James Dashner’s Death Cure (third in the Maze Runner trilogy), All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (author of the lovely Elsewhere), and Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, whose What I Saw and How I Lied is one of my favourite YA novels from the past few years.
Main regret? Not having enough time to check the programme before going and basically leaving my schedule in the hands of others, thus missing out on a talk by my Ultimate Literary Crush, Word God and Fantasy Future Husband, William Fiennes. So much epic sadface I can’t even tell you.