And so this year’s Independent Bath Literature Festival draws to a close – after 10 days and more than 100 lectures, panels and debates spanning everything from Darcey Bussell on why ballet dancers are like racehorses, to Aminatta Forna on hitchhiking across the Congo, to Harry Mount on the essential Englishness of picnics.
There was no small sprinkling of literary mega-stardust, too. Hilary Mantel told a packed auditorium that being a historical novelist is “talking to the dead for a living” (carefully avoiding any mention of real Royals). And JK Rowling made a rare public appearance, describing her liberation – and grief – at the conclusion of her Harry Potter series.
More than anything, however, the festival was made by the audiences that thronged to venues large and small throughout its duration. Roll on next year.