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Helen Fields introduced by Chris Brookmyre

​With AyeWrite fast approaching, and with an extraordinary array of activities and entertainment on offer, I’ve been contemplating the draw of such outstanding cultural festivals.  They are, of course, a great deal of fun and an always welcome excuse to spread some celebratory cheer.  But it’s much more than that.  If you could go into a library and bring every individual section of it to life for a few days, you would end up with something very much resembling Aye Write.  Not just the books, bringing the authors off the covers and into the real world with you.  The music section rings out, the science section becomes interactive, vivid, accessible.  You can suddenly taste the fayre lovingly photographed within the cookbooks, and make those beautiful arts and crafts pieces that seemed too tricky on the page.  More than anything else though, a love of culture is what defines humans as something more than flesh and blood.  It is our mutually found passion for jazz, poetry, spices, or a fascination with politics that makes friends of strangers and that leads us towards new interests.  And these things are also our greatest equalisers.  You don’t need a degree to love music.  You don’t need to be able to prepare food like a famous chef to appreciate an amazing meal.  And you don’t have to have written a book to be able to appreciate great writing.  These festivals are the bringing together of people for only positive reasons, and that in itself is something to celebrate.  So I hope you’ll come, and that you’ll say hello if you see me.  I’ll be wandering around with a huge grin on my face, counting down the hours until I do my tiny part, and loving every bright, shiny, spectacular second of it.


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