Explore the 2024 Program

Four In Hand: Lydia Tasker

Looking for your next literary diversion? The Festival programming team shares four things filling their lockdown days. This week, Program Manager Lydia Tasker shares what she's reading, cooking, listening to and watching.


What I'm reading...

I’ve been loving Larissa Behrendt’s newest book After Story. It follows a mother and daughter, Della and Jasmine, from a small Australian town who embark on an overseas trip together to take a tour of England’s literary sites in an effort to reconnect. Larissa’s writing is rich and captivating, and it’s a treat to read about international travel when the concept seems far away for many of us. After Story examines how the past, family ties and grief travel with Della and Jasmine even to the other side of the world, and the power and importance of great storytelling.

What I'm cooking...

One of the silver linings of lockdown has been taking the time to enjoy cooking - from long slow-cooked stews to more intricate recipes that don’t fit with the pacing of regular life. It’s also made me more conscious of our food waste, and we’ve been playing with using up leftovers in more creative ways and making fridge-clear-out soups with veggies that are past their best. Some particular recipe highlights thanks to Instagram have included @omnivorescookbook’s Mapo Tofu and all of @instakrill’s simple but mind-blowingly good pasta recipes.


What I'm listening to...

I’ve been relishing Sarah Winman’s new novel Still Life in audiobook. Sarah is a gift of a writer and Still Life is an exquisitely crafted story of love, art and beauty, and an homage to E.M. Forster. The lush and vivid settings of Tuscan villas in Florence to the gritty smog of London’s East End are a welcome bit of armchair travel for readers in lockdown. Sarah narrates the audiobook herself, and whilst there’s always something special about hearing an author read their own work, Sarah’s background in acting means that she is a particularly brilliant reader and her narration of Still Life is a treat to immerse yourself in. 


What I'm watching...

On a recent slow, lazy weekend I started the first episode of This Way Up, a comedy series written by and starring Irish actress and comedian Aisling Bea (who might be familiar to Taskmaster fans). At 25 minutes each, the episodes are perfectly digestible for my preoccupied lockdown brain, and I quickly found myself at the end of season 1. The show tackles mental illness, family complexities and loneliness but is loaded with true laugh-out-loud humour and Aisling Bea and Sharon Horgan’s chemistry playing sisters is warm, hilarious and completely authentic.