Wednesday 22 October 2014

Two Literary Festivals In One Week

Last week I visited the Guildford Book Festival.  The previous weekend I had been at the Parisot Literary Festival (see previous blog post).   I was interested to see how the two festivals would compare.  The Guildford Book Festival was in its 25th Year and the Parisot Literary Festival is just starting out.  The other main difference was that the events at the Parisot Literary Festival were free, but at the Guildford Book Festival there was a modest charge.   

The first session I went to was a workshop on The Perfect Manuscript.   It was run by Alysoun Owen, editor of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.  The main messages I took away were the need to encapsulate my manuscript in three sentences, which I’ve now done and not to send it out until it is ready – I’m wondering if my manuscript will ever be ready!  Alysoun also spoke about the importance of joining a writer’s group, entering writing competitions and self-promotion via a blog and Twitter.

On the Friday evening I went to hear Kate Mosse talk about her latest novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter.   It is a gothic thriller so a different genre from her books in the Languedoc Trilogy:- Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel.  She explained that the idea for The Taxidermist’s Daughter had probably been bubbling away in her head for 35 years.  It is a story inspired by place, the village of Fishbourne in West Sussex.  It is set in 1912 over a short timeframe of four days.  One of the things she said that resonated with me was that all writers are learning all of the time.

If I had had the time there were other authors I would have liked to have heard, Andrew Marr, Reverend Richard Coles, Sophie Hannah to name but a few.  Ah well there’s always next year!

I enjoyed both festivals.  The fact that The Guildford Book Festival is set over a whole week is a plus, but I liked the intimacy of the Parisot Literary Festival.   I feel lucky to have been able to attend two literary festivals in one week.


  1. Interesting comparison. Guildford sounds like it may have been more workshop oriented??

    1. There was a short story workshop too, which I would have liked to attend, but couldn’t. There were more events as it was a week long, but the events were spread over a larger geographical area at different venues and I missed the friendly atmosphere of Parisot.