Monday, 5 June 2017

Listening to Authors
Apologies for a lack of blog posts over the last few weeks. As well as editing a fifty page sample of novel two and trying to write a synopsis ready for submission, I've attended a number of events where I've listened to some fascinating author talks. I enjoy hearing about other writers' journeys to publication and about the way they organise their time for writing.


The first event was the regional NWR conference held in Newport on May 13th. NWR stands for National Women's Register. Its mission statement is to 'connect women who are interested in everything and talk about anything'. The organisation is interested in all issues but particularly those relating to women's lives. Imagine how pleased I was that a conference 'Celebrating the Heritage of Women's Writing in Wales' was being held on my doorstop. Wales is particularly rich in independent publishing houses and three of the authors speaking - Judith Barrow, Bethan Darwin and Carol Lovekin -  were from Honno, the Welsh Women's Press. All three gave very interesting yet differing accounts of they got published and their lives as writers. Lleucu Siencyn, CEO of Literature Wales, spoke of her support for women authors and literature in Wales and Penny Thomas, editor at Firefly Pressended the day by sharing her experiences of the Welsh publishing scene. 


The next event was hosted by Bargoed Library. Crime writer Graham Hurley gave a lively talk about he made the move from a successful script writer to full time novelist. His series with DI Joe Faraday is set in his then home town of Portsmouth and ended after twelve novels. His spin off-series is set in the West Country where he now lives and features DS Jimmy Suttle.

Jo, my daughter, and I went to The Hay Festival again this year. I wrote about the festival two years ago so this time I'll just tell you about two events we thoroughly enjoyed. We'd pre-booked tickets as many of the popular authors' and speakers' events sell out way before the festival opens. Our first event was Rosie Goldsmith's interview with Victoria Hislop about her latest book, 'Cartes Postales from Greece'. As a true 'GrecophiIe' - is there such a word? - I have enjoyed all of Victoria Hislop's books that have a Greek setting. The fact that this new book features wonderful photos from around Greece would seem to be an added bonus. She has described the novel as 'adult fiction in full colour' and has proved that 'photography can add rich atmosphere and authenticity to a story'. Through Rosie Goldsmith's insightful questions, we learned much about the inspiration for the novel. We learned about the characters encountered by the author as she travelled around Greece. She visited all the places mentioned and wrote much of the book on that journey. As some of you know, part of my second novel is set on a fictional island in Greece and was inspired by the one where my aunt and uncle lived. While I was listening to Victoria Hislop, I became convinced - or rather day-dreamed - that perhaps the best way would be to go back out there and become immersed in the place and the Greek way of life for months at a time! The next best thing is that 'Cartes Postales' is top of my holiday reading for next week. 


Graham Norton's interview by Viv Groskop was also a sell-out. His debut novel 'Holding' was published by Hodder and Stoughton last year. It is set in a remote Irish village where very little happens until human remains are found on an old farm. He talked about writing about characters and lifestyles that bear no resemblance to his own. He discussed that he wanted the writing to be judged in its own right and not by the fact he is a celebrity. Viv Groskop handled the interview superbly and as well as the novel, there were questions about Eurovision and 'The Graham Norton Show'. It was a highly entertaining event but there was enough information about 'Holding' for me want to read it. The reviews are very positive.

Jo and I had a brilliant day and vowed to return again in 2018.

Thank you for reading. What author events have you attended lately? I'd love to hear from you. Thanks. 

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook Page.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mention, Jan. You've certainly had a busy time.x

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    1. A pleasure, Judith. :-) It just seems to go like that but hearing every one of you brought it home to me how each author is so different in the stories they have to tell. That's what makes it exciting!

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  2. One of these days I'll get to the Hay Book Festival, Jan, but in the meantime, I enjoyed reading about your visit! X

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    1. Thank you, Sue. You'd love the Hay Festival and it's atmosphere. We'll have to p,an it in advance next year! :-)

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  3. Thank you very much for the name-check, Jan. It was a pleasure to be part of the NWR event. xXx

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    1. You're very welcome, Carol. I enjoyed hearing about the stories behind 'Ghostbird'.

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  4. Loved this blog, Jan. I missed out on both these events so I've been catching up with them via everyone else's experiences.
    You're the second person I know who saw Graham Norton at Hay. I've read his book and really enjoyed it. It's a quite a gentle read for a crime novel.
    I love Victoria Hislop's writing too, and especially enjoy dipping into the women's short story collection she edited recently.
    Thanks and looking forward to your next post xx

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