A brief glimpse of the dawn of the space age

Tough to pick one from every Book Festival attended (my first was the second ever, in 1985) but my space age brush with fame stands out. I was proud to secure a prized ticket, sometime in the 1990s, to hear the first woman in space.

Valentina Tereshkova was passionate, articulate, animated, funny. She practically danced around the stage as she shared her vivid memories from that pioneering flight back in 1963.

She spoke in her native Russian and there was barely a murmur from the audience. Sadly, the interpreter was one of the most wooden, inanimate speakers I’ve ever heard. All of Valentina’s joy was lost. Lost on all but for a friend sitting beside me who happened to be a lecturer in Russian Studies and so enjoyed an exquisite and essentially very personal performance from this remarkable person. Thankfully, Tereshkova’s (signed) book was in English.

Devin Scobie