Yet again, the Festival of Writing was an absolute blast. So much talent; so many inspiring stories; such warmth and love between fellow authors. I think the weekend is best summed up in this email I've received from a delegate who has just signed up for the January online self-edit course. (September's is sold out.)
I did feel a huge sense of trepidation on Friday when I was driving up to York. My inner monologue kept asking me what on earth I was doing! By total contrast, I listened to Jo Cannon's heartwarming story yesterday and felt a real sense that I belonged there. I really didn't want to leave! But I have come away with a wealth of information and tips to apply to my writing, and am looking forward to getting stuck in.
For me, it was my busiest festie yet - and that's saying something. I ran the self-edit mini course on Friday and was also on the panel for the wonderful Friday Night Live experience. Massive congrats to all the shortlisted authors and the joint winners, Gerry Fenge and Jo Bunt. On Saturday, I had two hours of Book Doctor slots, a workshop on psychic distance and I did the compering for the Saturday competitions after the gala dinner. Congrats to everyone who had cause to celebrate. The real high was being on the crime genre panel as an author rather than an editor or tutor. And on Sunday, I had another hour of Book Doctoring, a final workshop on dialogue and - oh bliss - I had the privilege and enormous pleasure of being the person who introduced the final keynote speaker and FoW success story, Joanna Cannon.
|Self-edit mini course. Interesting body language when people are forced to write about an emotionally charged episode from their own past.|
|Self-edit alumni: Gerry Fenge, Sylvia Petter, Julie Cordiner and Arabella Murray|
|The view from my desk for Book Doctor sessions|
|Veggie starter at the gala dinner|
|Yet more Cloudies|
|The wonderful Cally Taylor and her agent, Madeleine Milburn|
|Cally and Madeleine|
|Struggling with psychic distance|
|Cloudie, Scheherezade, who won the Pitch Perfect competition|
|Katherine Hetzel AKA Squidge, with tiara for added sparkle|
|Winner and runner up for Jo Cannon's Goat bursary: Linda McLaughlin and Nasreen Rafiq|
|The glorious and inspiring Joanna Cannon, who made me cry in front of several hundred people. Be more goat, people|
|The only book I came away with - but what a book|
|I've been mentioned in acknowledgements for many novels but this is the first time I've had one dedicated to me. Thank you, Squidge|
|Dialogue workshop - writers gotta write|
|Who could ask for a more beautiful setting?|
|The traditional self-edit alumni photo. Similar numbers to previous years but many different faces|
Having been reminded that I'm also an author, I'll sneak in a nod and a wink to remind people that my first three Nirvana novels are all available as e-books on Amazon: here for the UK and here in the US. This has just been posted on my FB wall by someone who bought a copy of Trading Tatiana over the weekend:
Every line is bursting with wit handled with the lightest touch, and I can't stop chuckling. The characterisation is very clever and your observations hilarious. Every time you introduce someone they become my new favourite... The list is growing.
My cockles are warmed to boiling point.
As in previous years, lives will have changed over this weekend. Whether or not people end up being signed by agents, everyone should go away with new tools to apply to their writing. FoW is magical and I wish everyone the very best for the journey ahead. See you online - if you haven't already joined the Cloud, what are you waiting for? - and, hopefully, at FoW17.