Literary Festivals - Debbie Bennett
There was Wales in March at Sci-Fi Weekender. And then there was the Northwich Literary Festival in June. Now we're not talking Hay-On-Wye here - Northwich is a small market town in mid-Cheshire, but this is, I think, the third year in which it has run a small literary festival, consisting of a couple of dozen events in local cafes, libraries and theatres - talks, readings and discussions. Plus there was a "poetry trail" around the town, where many of the vacant shops displayed poems and artwork in the windows for a few weeks (far better than an empty window).
Last year, I emailed the organiser, Suzi, but was too late to be included. Email me just after Christmas, she said. So I did - in early January - suggesting a talk on independent publishing: how I'd done it, my journey, what it meant, Q&A etc. I'd get a few more authors on board and we'd put something together, so that readers and potential writers could find out what was involved.
So that's how Jan Ruth, Conrad Jones, Simon Gould and I ended up in Cafe Terazzo in Northwich on a sunny evening in mid-June. We'd discussed it beforehand - what we were going to do - and decided that Conrad, being the expert as he's been interviewed on the red sofa at the BBC, could start us all off while Jan and I drank a bottle of wine and waited for inspiration ...
And we talked. All of us. To a full house of people having a drink and/or a snack (they do great tapas apparently). I assume they'd come to see us, as it wasn't raining and Northwich does have a good spread of cafes and pubs. We talked about what the differences were between traditional and independent publishing, why we'd all chosen the latter route, how we'd done it and what we all felt were the most important things to remember about publishing a book independently. We fielded lots of questions and everybody seemed happy with the answers.
Now we have a whole year to think about what we can do at the next literary festival!