Although a few days have passed, I wanted to write a blog following on from Debbie Young’s blog in which she mentions a writer who popped over the pond from Australia to attend this year’s Hawkesbury Upon Literature Festival (like you do). If you didn’t know, Debbie is the founder and organiser of this excellent authors’ festival which is based in Gloucestershire, in the beautiful Cotswold village of Hawkesbury Upton. All the excitement came spilling out on April 21st at 10am and continued throughout the day with readings and author panels and Q&A sessions. Short stories, poetry, historical fiction, crime (a VERY popular talk!) were just some of the highlights of the day. Debbie asked me to read in the poetry session and also take part in a Writing Your Passion (in my case – why do you write creepy weird stuff?) session in the afternoon, hosted by Caroline Sanderson, who is Associate Editor of The Bookseller. You can follow Caroline on Twitter here @CaroSanderson. There were some great questions from the audience, all of which I have forgotten, but I know the answers were good! Of great interest was a book written by Peter Lay in collaboration with Chinese author Zaiming Wang, which is part English, part Chinese. More information here. Such is the diversity at Hawkesbury Upton!
The next festival is already booked – April 27th 2019, so get it in your diaries now! And look – if you’re an invited author, you get a badge as well as books sales. What’s not to like!
A few days later, further inland at Stratford upon Avon, I was privileged to organise and run the first fringe event in connection with the Stratford Literary Festival. A host of amazingly talented independently published writers and performers entertained a packed house (standing room only) at The White Swan Hotel. The Warwickshire Young Poet Laureate Annabel Peet read some of her stunning work, and writer Mark Rutterford gave the best reading I have ever heard on love – from the point of view of an alien and which was the funniest thing I’ve heard this year. We had Spanish authors, Armenian authors, English authors, American authors, all reading the most incredible and moving stuff. I didn’t get a badge on this occasion, but did go to bed chuffed, knowing that there is so much writing talent of all ages out there.
So if you’re a writer who’s stalled a little bit recently, check out any open mics or small author events near you – you will discover a bottomless well of inspiration. Go for it!