Friday, 31 August 2012

Lancaster Litfest - first impressions

I've taken a first peek at Lancaster Litfest's 2012 programme. It may just be that I've overdone the caffeine today, but now I'm all aflutter.

It's probably more years than I realise since my first experience of Lancaster Litfest. I heard Wendy Cope read at the Dukes Theatre. I'd never been to a poetry reading before and I wasn't sure what to expect. I felt sure that all female poets must wear scarves. I've even tried wearing a scarf myself, but I still couldn't make my lines scan.  Wendy Cope didn't wear a scarf, but she did look like my grandma and her poetry was warmly received. By the time I saw Carol Ann Duffy in 2010, I was hooked.

Last year our reading group went to hear Carol Birch talk about her Booker short-listed novel, the wonderful Jamrach's Menagerie.  I took my daughter to the discussion of young adult literature and wondered about drawing boundaries in teenage reading, before realizing that the boundaries had been crossed without my even realising.

My brief excursion into creative writing did go some small way to demystifying the art of writing. No longer did I view writers as gifted gods, far above Premiership footballers and Hollywood actors. These were people like you and me. Didn't they have days too when the ideas didn't come, or the words clumped together on the page like lumpy porridge? I was determined not to feel out of place amongst the 'literary types' in both the audience and on the stage.

So this year, in a spirit of adventure, I have put myself forward as a volunteer to promote Lancaster Litfest in the ether and anywhere else where people will listen. I have no idea what this will entail, but I'm hoping it will lead to some interesting experiences and blog posts too.

I've yet to study the Litfest brochure in all its details, but I've already circled the poet Gillian Clarke and Jo Baker, author of The Picture Book, reviewed in my last post. My daughter's eyes lit up at the mention of the  Gothic young adult fiction event, so that's another for the diary.

You can view the Lancaster Litfest brochure here. Let the reading begin!


  1. Fantastic. Can't wait to hear how you get on.

  2. My problem with literary festivals (and a lot else besides!) is that I can't 'do' evenings. However, our own litfest has decided to put on a reader's afternoon this year with a number of writers, including one of my great favourites, Patrick Gale, taking part; I was probably the first to sign up. I shall look forward to sharing your festival vicariously.

    1. With work and family commitments, I can't always 'do' afternoons. It's great that there are so many litfests to cater for all our preferences. I look longingly at Port Eliot and Edinburgh - one day perhaps! In the meantime, I'm lucky to have Lancaster Litfest on my doorstep, so there's no excuse for not making the most of it.

      I hope you'll post about Patrick Gale. I enjoyed 'Notes on an Exhibition' and I'd be interested to know more about his work.

  3. Replies
    1. You're welcome! I'm looking forward to being involved.


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