Thursday, 23 May 2013

Greenacre Writers Literary Festival - Part One

This year’s festival began on Friday 17th May with a bit of a shock. Checking through emails I saw one from my co-organiser that said: 

‘Woke up about 5.45 with dizziness and headache and threw up - at least I would have if I'd had anything to throw up. Still dizzy.’ 

It was from Lindsay, who still managed to be funny even though she felt poorly. As I always think the worse, my first thought was she's got that awful Norovirus, my second thought was, quick get the red chalk and mark her door. And my third thought: what am I going to do? Lindsay and I are a team, we’d planned for every eventuality but had not thought what we would do if one of us was ill. 

I went through the list in my head of what each one of us was meant to be doing. Then I remembered, Allen Ashley was coordinating the Open Lit Mic, what this meant was that even if we were both ill, the evening could still run without us. Phew! But what about the main event on Saturday?

I zoomed to the printers to pick up the programmes, picked up samosas on my way back. Lindsay was still feeling grotty and was not sure she'd be able to make it. Did last minute list check, phoned Liz Goes, one of the Greenacre Writers, in a panic, could she possibly pick me up. 

'No problem,' she said very calmly in that lovely Scottish lilt, 'I'll be there in 3 minutes'. 

Still undressed, the bell rang, whoops. Bundled boxes, posters, lists, books into her car and away we flew to the reclaimed and liberated Friern Barnet Library in time for the first event, Miriam Halahmy's workshop.

Miriam Halahmy's workshop

Workshop 'So You Want to Write for Kids.'


At 6pm fabulous food for guests and Greenacre Writers arrived courtesy of Chris Freeman, Elaine Kitchenham, Mumpuni Murniati, and others. It was laid out ready for the moment Miriam’s workshop finished. A pale Lindsay also arrived, phew, she had made it.

We had half an hour to eat, prepare the library with posters, tables for books, food and even signs outside so people knew which way to walk through the door. Meanwhile Mike arrived with the mic and did all the clever electrical stuff. 

With seconds to spare the Open Mic began. Speech all prepared, I welcomed guests to the second Greenacre Writers Festival before handing over to Allen Ashley, who introduced the wonderful array of guest speakers.

There was an amazing line up of writers, poets, and activists, reading a variety of poetry, short stories, novels and autobiography. These included:

C J Flood
Sarah Doyle, 
Miriam Halahmy, 
Emily Toder (from USA)

Peter Phillips, 
June Armstrong-Wright (GW), 
David Nixon (GW)

Keith Martin (GW), 
Sandra Unerman (Clockhouse London Writers)

Me (GW),
Ben Jacobs (GW), 
Liz Goes (GW), 
Linda Louisa Dell (GW),
Handsen Chikowore (Exiled Writers)
Mr Greenacres (Greenacre Project)
Wendy Shillam (GW)

Sometimes pictures speak better than words, so here are a few photos from the evening:
Allen Ashley

Mr Greenacres reading about his visit to Bank Farm, Oxfordshire

76 year old activist, Keith Martin reads 'Squatney Wick' where he saw the premiere of A Polite Revolution

Poet Sarah Doyle reading one of her fabulous poems

The lovely CJ Flood reading from her aclaimed novel, Infinite Sky

June Armstrong-Wright reading her funny story Green Eyed Monster

Handsen Chikowore reading his moving refugee poetry

Emily Toder, reading her unusual poetry

Wendy Shillam reading an excerpt from her online novella, The Authors Song
Robert Newton GP and Mark Kitchenham GW enjoying the evening
Lindsay reading a short story that linked in with Mental Health Week
For a detailed account of the festival read Morgen Bailey's blog

For another write up about the festival see Greenacre Writers

Part two about the festival coming soon!  

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