It's the Bath Festival of Literature again, and so far, the events I've been to have been excellent.
The first was a talk by Dr Alice Roberts, about the Celts. I had watched the programme which she and Neil Oliver made for the BBC, which was shown last November - its a fascinating subject; so much is known, but also there are so many things which are not known, and cannot be known.
Prof. Alice Roberts
Dr Roberts is an excellent speaker, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She is not, herself an archaeologist; she is an anatomist, and is currently Professor of Public Engagement in Science, at Birmingham University.
She explained the uncertainties about the origins of the Celts (hint: not where you thought) , and the fact that certain things we think we know (such as druids and human sacrifice, and Celtic warriors taking heads) seem to come from just one (Roman) source, with no confirmation..
She talked about some recent discoveries in Germany, and the quality of the work being done there, and waxed enthusiastic about proofs of decapitation.!
It was very interesting, and although I didn't buy a copy of her current book then and there,(It's a big glossy, *heavy* bardback.) I may yet succumb!
After this event, my friend T and I indulged in tea and cakes, and a visit to Mr B's Emporium of reading Delights, where I was very restrained about the number of books I bought, then, after a little more shopping, I headed to the Masonic Hall, to hear Neil Jordan interviewed about his most recent novel, The Drowned Detective.
I have to admit that I have not read any of his books, I was aware of him as the director of films such as The Crying Game, Michael Collins, and Interview with the Vampire. However, I enjoyed hearing him talk about the new book, which is a detective story about relationships, and memories, and a touch of the supernatural, set in an unidentified eastern European country.. it sounds intriguing.
He also spoke about the respect writers have in Ireland, about how he 'drifted' into becoming a director, a little about Interview with the Vampire. I'd have loved the chance to sit down with him for a chat - he's the sort of person who it would be interesting to get to know him better. And I have bought one of the earlier books to get started!