Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Lowdham Book Festival

A few months ago I had the delight of reading ML Stedman's début novel The Light Between Oceans - a wonderfully atmospheric and engrossing tug-of-love story - so when I heard the author would be appearing at the relatively local Lowdham Book Festival I told The Mole we had to go! I also suggested he read the novel first - which he did.

The event was billed as Coffee and Cake with debut novelists Rachel Joyce and ML Stedman to be chaired by Alison Barrow from Transworld Publishers and held in the slightly unusual but very beautiful St Mary's Church. As it turned out, due to hold-ups with the train bringing ML Stedman and Alison Barrow, the audience started on the coffee and cake before they arrived - an excellent way to keep everyone happy and occupied while waiting for the vagaries of transport.

The real event started with Rachel Joyce and ML Stedman reading short teaser sections from their respective novels and then chatting to Alison Barrow before throwing the discussion open to the audience. Topics covered included the authors approach to writing, how and where to get their thoughts into words, striking a balance between the creative world and the real one, the route to publication, future novel writing plans. A comment of ML Stedman's that particularly struck me was how she sees her novel as a chrysalis (while working on it) now turned into a butterfly heading out among readers and coming back with their thoughts of what the book meant to them or how they saw the characters.
I normally go to events involving an author whose work I've read and loved, I suppose in the hope of gleaning extra insight into their novels or them as a person. This time there was an author who had deeply impressed me - and one of whom I knew nothing. The extract from and talk of Rachel Joyce's novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry have whetted by appetite enough that I now intend to track it down and read it.

Both books are published by Transworld.

The event still has a few days to run and the timetable shows that the events are varied and include a cooking demonstration by the kind person that provided the cakes for this event.

Read The Mole's review and/or mine

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