What I did in my holidays…

September 23rd 2011

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Right then, sorry I’ve been quiet for a bit. There’s a period of time between coming back off of holiday and getting everything ready for a new term that’s never quite long enough to actually get back up to speed. So here we are almost at the end of September, I’ve had my second bout of man-flu in a month, and the usual chaos reigns…

Greenbelt – was fantastic this year, as it is every year, but differently fantastic. The festival seems to reinvent itself every so often, and as the kids get older and need less looking after (I’m a great believer in benign neglect), the grown-ups get to do different stuff. As it was, I was down to do three sessions this time: a Q and A with my good friend and colleague RS (Ruth) Downie, creator of Roman detective stories, a revisit to the subject of Christian fiction, and a workshop on ‘How not to write a novel’. All three went excellently well. We had a good crowd for the Q and A, I didn’t get burnt at the stake as a heretic after the Christian fiction talk, and the workshop was wildly oversubscribed (but we managed to get everyone in anyway!). The only dark cloud on the horizon was the on-site bookshop not having any Metrozone books at all – it wasn’t personal, as they didn’t have lots of speakers’ books. One I was particularly keen to get was Andrew Philip‘s The Ambulance Box, and have him sign it/them – but for shame, the book ordering had gone seriously awry this year.

Other Greenbelty highlights were the triple-bill on Friday night of Show of Hands, Martyn Joseph, and Billy Bragg. I also got to hear (on Monday), the Unthanks and Mavis Staples, who rocked in every which way possible.

Also of writeringly interest, I managed (due to geographical happenstance) to get to a ‘Book wake’, for Gollancz’s Tom Lloyd, held up in London – got to meet some of the Gollancz crowd, who are lovely, and shout at them over the impossibly-loud music. Thanks to Gillian for inviting me, Simon for letting me come, and all the authors and booksellers I met there.

Then, back to the grindstone. Lots of stuff going on, so there’ll be more news soon!

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