The Book Festival was first planned for 2020 but of course had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Now it is back and I've been involved, liaising with the more than 35 local authors taking part and planning some great events which I hope will get readers interested and excited about our authors' work. We also have some writing workshops scheduled.
For authors, it is very welcome as the series of lockdowns has meant many have been unable to promote their books, or even have new books launched properly. When we put out a call for local writers, we had no idea that so many would want to join the Author Market! We have already had to start a waiting list for next year.
‘Authors in conversation’ panel sessions at the Author Market
Informal half hour sessions, assisted by a facilitator, with two authors whose books have something interesting in common. Each author will give a short reading from their book and then will chat about the inspiration for their books and how they approach their work.
Saturday 7th Hertford
1.30-2.00pm Strange Worlds
Abena Eyeson (author of ‘Looking Up’) and Roxy Eloise (author of ‘The Guidal’) talk about writing for teenagers and how fiction can help adolescents face change and the unknown in their lives.
2.00-2.30pm The Story in History
Louisa Treger (‘Madwoman’) Zoe Jasko (’What the Wind Saw’) discuss their books and how they research and create vivid historical stories.
2.30-3.00pm Tales of the Dark Fantastic
J S Watts (the ‘Witchlight’ trilogy) and John Tarrow (‘A Stranger’s Guide to Talliston’) talk about myth and magic in their work.
3.00-3.30pm The Power of Stories
Sara Nisha Adams (‘The Reading List’) and Nick Jubber (‘The Fairytellers’) talk about the age-old power of literature and its effect on our lives.
3.30-4.00pm Life and Love
Lauren Forsythe (‘The Fixer Upper’) and Hina Belitz (‘To Lahore With Love’) on their novels about women trying to navigate the choppy seas of life and relationships.
Sunday 8th Ware
1.30-2.00pm Danger on the Page
Philip Cox (‘Sam Leroy’ series) and Sarah Goodwin (‘Stranded’) discuss how they create suspense and peril in their thrillers.
2.00-2.30pm Law and Disorder
Paul Gitsham (‘DCI Warren Jones’ series) and Abi Silver (‘Burton and Lamb’ series) talk about their police procedural and legal mysteries.
2.30-3.00pm Bringing the Past to Life
Vivien Freeman (‘The Escape of Rose Alleyn’) and Philip Allan (‘Alexander Clay’ series) talk about their approach to creating vivid characters in historical fiction.
Free of charge but participants to book on Eventbrite via the www.hertsbookfestival.org website.
Hertford (Old Cross venue)
11.00am-12.00 Writing your memoir - Dr Bev Morris
Do you need some practical tips on writing your memoir –what structure to choose, how to deal with difficult truths and how to bring your story alive?
Memoir is the most unique form of writing because it tells a story in a way that only you can. Taking your life and turning it into a book, play or film is a huge undertaking. Joining this workshop provides you with a chance to try out your memoir ideas and to meet other writers on their writing journey.
The workshop is led by Bev Morris, a prize-winning author of short fiction and poetry as well as being a writing mentor specialising in memoir. She has written the story of an ex Special Forces soldier, created a podcast giving voice to survivors of abuse, published poetry on the pain of a lost love, and is working on a memoir in flash based on interviews with military veterans.
Bring a notebook and pen and be ready to write!
12.00-1.00pm Writing Historical Fiction - Dr Kat Armstrong
You may have a great idea for a historical novel, or a work in progress you want to improve, or you may simply love to read historical fiction and wonder how it’s done. Whatever your starting point, all you need for this workshop is a pen and paper and a willingness to forget the history books and let your imagination run free. We’ll start with a couple of exercises to prove we’re all capable of bringing the past to life, whether we’ve been writing historical fiction for some time or have never tried it till now.
Kat Armstrong is the author of ‘A Sharp Pair of Eyes’ and is currently working on the sequel.
2.00-4.00pm Wild Your Words – El Rhodes
Join award winning writer and teacher, El Rhodes for a two hour creative nonfiction writing workshop. Find out how to get started on a piece, get creative with it, and how and where to submit your work. This session is suitable for anyone, whether they’re a complete beginner or already have thousands of words under their belt. We’ll focus on nature writing, but don’t expect to stop there. Come with a blank page, leave with a draft piece and inspiration.
Sunday 8th May
Ware Priory (Fletcher’s Lea)
11.30am-12.30pm Getting Published – Nikki Vallance and Karen Skinner
Do you have a book you'd like to write but have no idea how to get it published? In this interactive workshop learn from two local authors, Nikki Vallance (www.nikkivallance.com) and Karen Skinner (www.klskinnerauthor.com) about the routes they took to publication and the alternative options available to writers today. Come prepared with all your questions and take away your own action plan to getting published.
1.00-2.00pm Writing Ghost Poems and Stories - Sarah Wragg
Ghost stories are more popular than ever and there’s an unending appetite for new stories about spooks. But how does a writer go about creating a ghost that’s suitable for fiction? Whether you’re writing a novel, short stories, flash fiction or poetry, this workshop’s for you. Sarah Wragg specialises in writing ghost poems and recently published her prize-winning first collection, Ghost Walk. She’s busy working on her second collection which is about real as well as fictional ghosts haunting Hertford and Ware. With having to invent dozens of different ghouls for so many short, poetic bursts, she’s learnt a thing or two about bringing ghosts to life. In this workshop, she’ll share her secrets about creating convincing ghosts and their stories for the fiction market.
Everything is free of charge, there is lots for families and we hope it will be a real community event.