Those of us who attended Martin Wainwright's talk at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama in March during the LitFest - and others - might be interested in his brief but sensitive background piece on the Cumbria shootings which was published in the Guardian. This puts the horrific story of random killings into some kind of context: Whitehaven and other places on the edge of the Lake District have had more than their fair share of tragedies in the fairly recent past, for example a pit disaster in 1947 which killed 104 miners. Martin is drawing on his encyclopaedic knowledge of the True North, without doubt. The article can be found by clicking HERE.
Another reminder that festivals of literature are not all about an equivalent of winebibbing, examining novels as if they were rare vintages, or clapping the local scribblers, though we do plenty of all that. Real life and real death come into the narrative. I am now thinking of Wallander's creator Henning Mankell, a master of crime fiction who is able to concentrate all human frailty and most of the world's evils into the town of Ystad, and who has now been taken into Israeli custody (as far as we know at the time of writing) for the crime of being on a Swedish boat (the Sofia) which was part of the flotilla attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza strip. He was intending to broadcast directly by satellite connections to the Hay Festival, but apparently the signal was blocked. I bet he's there next year. Hay that is.