Last weekend I went to the Budleigh Literary Festival http://www.budfest.org.uk. It is a small festival with no major sponsors and yet they attract some of the biggest names in literature. I went to talks by David Hare, Hilary Mantel, Margaret Drabble, Patrick Gale, Ben Okri and Sarah Waters to name but a few of the participants. Listening to other writers talking about their techniques for writing, where they find their inspiration and their ambitions for their writing provides inspiration for beginners like myself. A walk along the promenade between talks to air the brain and dwell on the talks – what more could any reader/writer want?
David Hare talk about his work in the theatre reminded me of watching ‘Murmuring Judges’ at theNational and wanting to leap up from my seat, throw my arms in the air and scream ‘Yes’. How he managed to penetrate that most inscrutable of professions I don’t know but he got it right. It’s just a pity the myth has not yet succumbed to the truth. Then Hilary Mantel talking about the gaps in history in which she works. Margaret Drabble, who I have always thought of as a rigorous academic having such warmth and talking about her latest book, ‘Pure Gold Baby’ I have read a number of her books a long time ago, but I was inspired to go and buy some to read again. I must confess from the lovely second-hand book shop in Topsham.
The next day, it was Patrick Gale who had used a family story as the inspiration for his new book, reminding me about the family saga I hope to write some day. Next was Ben Okri who interviewed Erica Wagner, when she was meant to be in conversation with him and finally Sarah Water on her novel ‘The Paying Guest’ which I had just ordered from second hand bookseller. To add to that I met a friend I had lost touch with thirty five years ago, to find she was now living in Budleigh.
I did buy some books at the Festival – it’s what keeps them going, but sometimes I resent having to pay full price when I know I can buy them on Amazon or second hand much cheaper. It’s a difficult issue when we all have limited resources. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
I must get back to writing next week, but the last few weeks have been spent frittering the time away and having fun. I’ve been in Morocco for a week. What a delightful country, France with added spice, India but better food. I mention food because I did a course at L’Atelier Madada http://www.lateliermadada.com/fr/ I made a tagine for lunch The trip began at La Roserai Ouirgane in the Atlas Mountains. Then a few days in Marrakech, including the souk and the Majorelle Gardens. www.jardinmajorelle.com Then to Essaouira (has all the vowels) on the Atlantic coast. A picture beats a thousand words so …….