The Guildford Book Festival was established in 1989, and has grown in scale and reputation ever since.
This year was the first opportunity I have had to embrace the Festival….and there sure was a lot to wrap your literary arms around.
As a travel writer and blogger, I have wondered if I could ever make the leap towards crafting a readable work of fiction. Step forward Rachel Marsh, and her engaging Creative Writing Workshop which ran all week, and introduced the lively class to character development, writing dialogue, plot, editing and getting published, amongst other fun and interesting themes. Watch this space….
Before the start of the Festival I had written an article for TripFiction, giving a sneak preview of the GBF events that featured authors talking about books with a strong sense of location.
With my journalist’s hat on, and with huge thanks to TripFiction for opening the door and Tamsin Williams from Wigwam PR for shoving me through it, I was privileged to interview some of the Festival authors. Here are links to my posts, published on TripFiction:
- Emma-Jane Kirby – The Optician of Lampedusa
- Catherine Hewitt- Renoir’s Dancer
- Judith Mackrell – The Unfinished Palazzo
- David Cronin – Balfour’s Shadow
- Terry Stiastny – Conflicts of Interest
- Sir Chris Bonington – Ascent
Somehow, I managed to learn enough about the migrant crisis, 19th century French Impressionism, Venice, the Palestine/Israel conflict, political thrillers and mountaineering to bluff my way through chats with these esteemed writers. Hopefully.
A couple of disappointments. Something went desperately wrong with directions to the venue for the Alan Hollinghurst event, talking about his new book The Sparsholt Affair. I missed seeing Alan, but that did at least mean I caught all of the Chris Bonington talk, which made my phone interview with the knighted adventurer rather more rewarding.
And I’ve been stalking author Laura Barnett for a while, since reading her charming and hugely successful debut novel The Versions of Us. She has been touring the UK, promoting her second novel Greatest Hits by performing gigs with singer Kathryn Williams, bringing to life the soundtrack of the book. Sadly, their performance at this year’s Guildford Book Festival was cancelled at fairly late notice, and with no real explanation.
But those small mishaps did little to dent my enthusiasm for a brilliant Festival. Thanks to the many people involved in making t all happen, and looking forward to 2018 already.