This weekend saw the launch of a new literary festival in the small town of Chipping Norton. I signed up a while ago for the mailing list and was automatically entered into a ticket prize draw - of which I was one of the lucky winners!!
Unfortunately due to distance, time and family, I couldn't make full use of my prize and attend EVERYTHING! I would have loved to have caught a lot more than I did - particularly the drinks reception on Friday evening, which I was allowed to attend as a prize winner, and Jasper Fforde on publishing unconventional novels on Sunday - I caught him briefly last summer at Edinburgh Lit Fest and he was hilariously funny.
We decided to go to a couple of events, held on Saturday, of special interest to our teenager and after a brief stop-over for lunch at Charlecote Park near Stratford,
we arrived with plenty of time to spare before the first of our picked events - Guy Browning's talk entitled Making A Living Without Any Serious Work. It's easy to see why a talk with this title would appeal to a teenager but it was a fascinating and funny account of how chance, luck and the letter 'K' had played such a large part in Guy's career - from allowing him to leave his advertising job to producing a film, Tortoise in Love, along with his whole village and premièring it in Leicester Square. In many ways, his life seems very like a feelgood movie and I hope it continues that way. As a special treat for his audience, Guy had brought along copies of one of his books, The Lost Pond, to give away. He must be a very modest chap though and not expecting a large crowd - as he only brought 12!
Our next event followed on immediately so we had a dash across town to the Chequers Inn for Emma Lee Potter's workshop - How To Break Into Freelance Writing. This was a more practical talk, full of useful advice for aspiring journalists - which I'm not going to pass on! Emma was very helpful, answering lots of queries from the audience and pointing them in the direction to find out more. The Teen certainly came away inspired and more confident of how to progress in this field, and hopefully others did too. Emma is one of many people that I've 'met' through Twitter and I'm a regular follower of her blog, so it was lovely to be able to actually meet her.
Meanwhile Emily Barr had been holding an event Bringing your Characters to Life in the Jaffe & Neal bookshop just down the road. I discovered her novels by accident through a Twitter give-away and was pleasantly surprised to discover more grit and depth in them than might be expected from their covers. So I couldn't pass up the opportunity of stopping by to say 'Hi' and get my copy of The Life You Want signed.
After that, it was time to head back North up the motorways, accompanied on the way by rainbows.
Hopefully, we'll be back to Chipping Norton festival next year - though I'd hope to make it a longer stay.