Saddleworth Literary Festival 2016

    Recently. I had a very interesting day at the very first Saddleworth Literary Festival which was held in Uppermill, in Saddleworth, high up on the moors above Oldham. As it is on my doorstep and I have a book blog, I just had to go along. There was a very full programme of varied talks and workshops with several authors and literary agents lined up to speak. I was surprised at the breadth of  guests. Writers of contemporary and historical fiction, crime, legal drama, biography, children's literature, were all there as were poets and playwrights. 

  Phaedra Patrick, a local author, spoke to a packed room about writing her debut novel :The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. I reviewed this book in April 2016 and you can find my review here . It was fascinating to hear that this book was sold abroad before an UK Publisher was found and that it has been translated into more than 20 languages. Quintessentially English, I wonder what foreign readers make of Arthur. I always like hearing from authors about their writing habits and routines and she had some sound advice on structuring a novel. I was pleased to hear she has further novels in the pipeline. Her overall message was to write for yourself  not to a perceived formula and to enjoy the process, long as it may be.

If you want to connect with Phaedra, follow the links:

Christine Green is a London Literary Agent who spent her early life in Saddleworth. She gave an entertaining look at her working life, first working for Faber and Faber and then after she set up her own Literary Agency when her first novelist turned out to be Maeve Binchy. She too gave great advice to aspiring writers on submitting manuscripts only after you have finished the first novel. If she accepts an author, a collaborative process of editing starts. It was interesting to hear how Publishing has changed over the years as Technology has transformed everything. Self -publishing is not a bar to getting a publishing contract at a later date, as some people fear. Above all, she said, the advent of e-books has not meant the death of the traditionally printed word. People still like reading from a book. Hear, hear!

    Lastly I enjoyed hearing two historical novelists comparing their ways of working: Katherine Clements and Livi Michael. Katherine has recently published her second novel, The Silvered Heart, which is set in 1646, at the time of the English Civil War.
Livi's latest novel, Accession is the third in a trilogy centred on Margaret Beaufort during the Wars of the Roses. Although they both concentrate on different historical periods, the writing process has a lot in common. I enjoyed hearing how they chose their periods and central characters- both women. Weaving historical detail into a work of fiction has to be done with a light touch, it seems, although the structure afforded by actual events can also be a great help.

If you want to connect with these authors, you can follow these links:
Katherine Clements Twitter
Livi Michael             Twitter

In short: a great creative initiative, full of like-minded people - hopefully the first of many.


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