A couple of years ago, I was invited to appear at the Yeovil Literary Festival to talk about my novels and books in general. At one event, I chaired a discussion between three of us fiction writers – Jill Mansell, Stella Newman, and me – and it was a real blast. The conversational format is so much more engaging than the straight ‘author talks to audience’ lecture-style approach, and, in my opinion, it makes the event more appealing. I can’t be alone in thinking: ‘I haven’t read/don’t know that author so there’s no point in going to their talk’. But once the event is a conversation, it becomes more relevant to everyone because often it includes very interesting discussion about the process of writing, thoughts about the genre, and insights into the life experience of the author.
I’ve been very honoured to be invited back several times to interview authors at the Festival, which goes from strength to strength. Yeovil might not have the visual appeal of a quaint seaside town or a stately home, but it has a vibrant and lively literary scene, drawing in a huge range of authors, from celebrities to local talent. The organisers have done an amazing job building this festival up into a really marvellous and entertaining event. Last year, one of my highlights was interviewing the wonderful Giles and Mary from Gogglebox. This year there is an embarrassment of riches. I’m excited to be interviewing Matt Pritchard about his cook book, DIRTY VEGAN. I’m fascinated by the vegan trend and how far this kind of eating and cooking has come in such a short time. (2pm, Octagon Theatre)
I’m going to be talking to Janet Ellis about her novel HOW IT WAS – a bittersweet, thoughtful and elegant story of thwarted lives. (Johnson Studio, 4pm, Friday 1st) and on Saturday, I’m very busy meeting some amazing novelists: Diane Setterfield, to talk about ONCE UPON A RIVER (Johnson Studio, 12pm); Barney Norris, to discuss THE VANISHING HOURS (Johnson Studio, 4pm) and Deborah Moggach to chat about THE CARER (Johnson Studio, 6pm). And on Monday 4th, the last day of the Festival, I’ll be talking to Adele Parks about the gripping LIES, LIES, LIES (Yeovil Library, 4pm).
I’m hoping to attend lots of other events myself – there’s so much on offer. If you are in the area and would like to attend, please do come along – tickets are available on the Yeovil Literary Festival website, and I hope to see you there! Find out more: yeovilliteraryfestival.co.uk