Monday, 26 May 2014

Finchley Literary Festival: Day 1

Diary of a festival organiser: Day 1 - Saturday 24th May 2014

We packed the car with posters, bunting and Greenacre Writers Anthologies, hot off the press. Event Coordinator, Mike, put the key in the ignition and it wouldn't turn. We were going to be late.

'I'll just spray some WD40 into the ignition surround and hope that does the trick.' 
I was trying to stay calm, not to swear and frantically running through the list of people on the FLF Steering Committee who would be available to help. It couldn't get any worse than last year's grand piano fiasco, could it? I couldn't think of anyone.
'We'll have to get a cab,'
'One more try...the lights have come on.'
The engine coughed a few times and stuttered into life. We were late but finally on our way to East Finchley Library for the first festival event.

We set about rearranging the children's room in the library. Mike set up the musical equipment and we decorated the room with posters and bunting to a background of Brian Wilson which the library staff seemed to enjoy!

I phoned Sarah Holding, who was running the workshop, CliFi for Kids at 3pm, she was travelling from Surbiton having finished a lunchtime musical session - she plays saxophone as well as writing. She's the author of a children’s eco-adventure series The SeaBEAN Trilogy, writing in the new genre of CliFi aka climate change fiction. Here's a Guardian article that discusses this new genre. 

I couldn't get through to Sarah, so I guessed she was still underground. Children and parents had started to arrive and I was beginning to get a little worried. The Northern line that black line/hole in the underground often swallows people whole (pun intended). At 2.45pm, Mike said he would drive to the station and wait for her there and I was to keep phoning. At 2.50pm, I got through, Sarah and her publicist Seb Cole, had arrived. The afternoon was a rip-roaring success with children and parents transfixed by the very creative writing workshop. Afterwards, we packed up our bits as quickly as possible, the library staff were waiting to go home and we only had half an hour before the next event, the 'Poetry and Music Palooza'!

My favourite moment:
When Sarah asked the children what they thought would happen beyond our lifetime, the daughter of Greenacre Writer, Mumpuni Murniati replied: 'We'll invent the fountain of youth' and 'learn to speak to animals'. (I wonder which animals she means!)

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