Sunday, 16 June 2013

Felixstowe Book Festival: reporting back

Well, what a wonderful weekend!

Elaine and I in the lovely ex-stable venue

Felixstowe Book Festival may be in its first year, but you wouldn't have guessed it from the polished organisation, public enthusiasm, and general success of the weekend.  It certainly looks encouraging that there will be many more, and I would definitely like to go along to future years.

I should report back on my talk with Elaine - I'd decided that I would be happy if there were 6 people in the audience, so I was delighted with 14 - particularly since they were an incredibly friendly, engaged audience who seemed genuinely interested, and (what's more) laughed at our jokes - for example, Colin, you got a mention with your comment that you "read Stuck-in-a-Book, except for the bookish bits".

Our talk was about book blogging in general and particular - how it fits in with traditional media, how we got involved ourselves - and then onto the changing opinions of publishers towards bloggers (we especially cheered on the forward-thinking enthusiasm of Bloomsbury) and meeting people from the internet.  We were a bit nervous that we hadn't got enough material, but we needn't have worried - since Elaine and I have known each for so long, we were able to bounce off one another, and add in extra anecdotes and comments in turn.  All in all, I'm very pleased with how it went, and want to thank the audience for making it such a fun experience - and, of course, thank lovely Elaine for asking me to participate.

Elaine, me, Linda

In that audience were two online author friends, Guy Fraser-Sampson and Linda Gillard.  It was lovely to see Guy again, for the third time I think, and his talk on E.F. Benson's family and Mapp and Lucia was sublimely funny (as is the second Mapp & Lucia book Guy has written, Lucia on Holiday, which I read this weekend and will post about soon.)  And I finally got to meet Linda, having known her online for, gosh, the best part of a decade - and, of course, loving her novels. We had a lovely long chat, and it was an absolute delight.  It was a good weekend for meeting online friends, because I also met a lovely lady called Daphne, who has been an online friend for about as long as Linda, I believe - and is an absolute scream, I must add.

Daphne also asked me, after I'd spent a couple of hours browsing the two excellent secondhand bookshops in Felixstowe, whether I'd bought anything.  I think she probably knew the answer anyway.  Treasure Chest Books (the one I remembered from a trip to Felixstowe aged about 16) had a sale, so that most of their fiction was £1 each. I came away with quite a haul... all will be revealed in my next post!

25 comments:

  1. Aw, glad to hear it went so well. Congratulations to you and Elaine!

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    1. Thanks Victoria! I'm raring to go with another now...

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  2. It was a most enjoyable talk, Simon and your passion for books & blogging really came across. I was particularly impressed to hear why you don't (& won't) clutter up your blog with lucrative advertising. There's a man who can't be bought!

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    1. Thanks so much Linda! When challenged to lay out my policy on advertising by friends, it seems a bit flimsy, but it is still something I feel strongly about :)

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful weekend, congratulations! I can't wait to find out what you bought.

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  4. Sounds like a great time. Longing to hear what you bought!

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    1. And now it's up in the next post :)

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  5. I'm glad it well. I do wish I could have gone. Do you know I've never been to a book festival, not even the Lichfield one - it has a smaller Literary Festival later in the year, as well as the big Festival, which is mainly classical music in July, but it always seems to be a bit expensive and elitist, and tickets seem to vanish long before they are available to the general public because patrons get first choice, but I guess that's what they pay for.

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    1. I wish you could have gone too, Christine! I am very poorly versed in Lit Fests myself - just been to a few things at the Oxford one; only 3 events in 9 years of living in Oxford.

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  6. Simon - thankyou thankyou thankyou for this lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed it all and having you with me for our talk made all the difference and turned it from a nerve wracking event into one that was Such Fun! I will be posting later on Random about it as well and putting up pics so do check it out.

    It was a huge success and have had loads of people asking What are you Going to do in 2014?

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    1. Thanks so much again for inviting me to take part - such fun!

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  7. Congratulations to you both, I'm glad it went well! Also, I remember Treasure Chest Books very fondly, impossible to go in there and come out without a stack of books.

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    1. Thanks Helen! Treasure Chest Books really is a treasure chest - so many wonderful books, and I love how it just keeps going and going.

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  8. What a lovely weekend you both had and thanks for this report, Simon. I'm so glad you got to meet Linda and Daphne, too. Well done!

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    1. It was a lovely whirlwind of a weekend, with so many friends!

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  9. Never buy a car, Simon. While ever you have to lug your 'trawl' of books home on a train, there is hope for the structural safety of your house!

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    1. So true! At least I had my poor aching back as a stopping point...

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  10. Sounds lovely Simon, and I wish I could have joined in! Glad you got to the Treasure Chest - I'm looking forward to seeing your haul!

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    1. So sorry you couldn't make it, Karen - and I'm now wondering how on earth you restrain yourself with two brilliant secondhand bookshops close to you!

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  11. Congratulations Simon (and Elaine!) on a terrific session at the Felixstowe Book Festival.

    My husband and I enjoyed it so much -- as a member of the audience, I can say with great enthusiam that you were both terrific -- engaging, intelligent, interesting, and humorous -- we couldn't have asked for more. And I echo Linda Gillard that we applaud you for *not* taking ads on your site.

    Hope to see you again next year. Cheers and happy reading,
    Carolyn in Felixstowe

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    1. It was lovely to meet you, Carolyn, and thank you so much for your enthusiasm and encouragement! It really was a lovely audience, and we very, very much appreciated that :)

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  12. I enjoy literary festivals, and would have loved to hear you and Elaine. It's a few thousand miles too far, but maybe next time...

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