Saturday 18 October 2014

The Parisot Literary Festival 10 - 12 October

There is something inspiring listening to authors talk about their writing process and read passages from their novels.  This was the second Parisot Literary Festival and it didn’t disappoint. 

Fellow Parisot Writing Group member Vanessa Couchman was first on.  There were no signs of nerves as she gave us an engaging talk on how she wrote her debut novel, The House at Zaronza and how she got her publishing contract with Crooked Cat.  The passages she chose to read were moving and, I thought, encapsulated the essence her novel.  

In the afternoon Amanda Hodgkinson talked about her second novel, Spilt Milk and her novella (10,000 word story) Tin Town which appears in Grand Central, a collection of stories by bestselling authors.  Amanda read the opening extract from Spilt Milk and the prose was lyrical.  She confessed to having written the opening scene last and I wonder how many other authors do this.

Piu Marie Eatwell finished off Saturday’s session with a talk about her book, They Eat Horses, Don’t They? 

The author dinner in the evening proved popular.  I was lucky to be on Amanda Hodgkinson’s table and it was nice to chat in a relaxed setting. 

On Sunday morning there was a cookery demonstration by Robin Ellis.  Robin played heart throb, Ross Poldark, in the 1970s series Poldark, based on the novels by Winston Graham.  I spent many Sunday evenings as a child watching Poldark with my Mum so I was excited to meet Robin.   Robin has Type 2 Diabetes so changed the way he eats and set about writing healthy living cook books.  The food he cooked us was delicious – pumpkin soup and salmon fishcakes.

In the afternoon former civil servant, Clive Ponting, gave a talk on how the origins and impact of World War One.  His talk was hugely popular and the library was packed. 

Tracey Warr concluded the festival with a talk on her two books, Almodis and Viking Hostage. I liked her mantra of “write what you don’t know.”  Her novels are set in the 11th century so I guess this explains her thinking!  She explained the importance of setting in her writing and how she likes to visit a place in order to be able to write about it in a compelling way.  

The Parisot Literary Festival is a bilingual event organised by a small Anglo-French group of book lovers.  In addition to the author readings I went to, there were readings being given by six French authors too.  I enjoyed the event and was amazed to think that all this was happening in a small village in rural SW France.  I can’t wait for next year!  

With Robin Ellis!

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