Monday, 9 June 2014

Finchley Literary Festival: Day 5 and 6

Diary of a festival organiser: Day 5

The afternoon began with a real treat. The Reader Organisation had organised two sessions to take place at North Finchley Library organised by Ruth Cohen and Paul Higgins.
Ruth and Paul are old friends of mine – Ruth because she is a Greenacre Writer member in the Short Story group and Paul because I met him when I trained as a Shared Reading Facilitator back in Autumn 2011. For this event, I had decided I would be a participant. The session began with us introducing ourselves and Paul told us a little bit about The Reader Organisation which you can find out about here.

Paul then began reading a short story, it was about two people that meet in an unfamiliar airport and how through questions and answers they get to know each other and maybe even fall in love a little. We read a little, spoke a little and laughed a lot. Then we shared a poem, which was very moving all about another world when people would have time to stop and stare.

It was such a lovely respite for me as I had been rushing around all week, in fact weeks with the organisation of the festival and I left the library feeling totally refreshed.

Meanwhile, Mike was attending Maggie Butt’s ‘How to get your poetry published’, at East Finchley Library which he said was an eye opener and he even read his poem, Death of a Seaside, a lovely piece about a run down hotel by the sea.

After a quick rest, it was all hands to the deck again for Maggie Butt’s ‘Ally Pally Prison Camp’ presentation and Mick Crick's 'Private John Parr' talk.

Did you know Ally Pally was once a prison camp? Maggie has written a book, you can find out more here

Day 6

I have to confess I missed Paul Baker’s literary walk, it just was not possible to attend every single event. You can find out more about Paul’s walks here

As Paul’s walk was coming to an end, we were setting up a small cave for Finchley’s Dragon’s Pen. Church End Library who have provided such excellent support for the festival, gave us a room which we prepared for Gillian Stern, Cari Rosen and Mary Musker. It was quite an odd experience for me because I had put myself down for a slot to present my writing and at the same time, I was meeting and greeting and introducing other victim writers for the lovely beasts. It was an interesting experience, pitching my writing, selling myself, and one that I enjoyed once I got used the dragons’ fiery breath.

As the event finished, the very professional Allen Ashley was up the High Road in North Finchley library preparing for his creative writing family workshop which was also well attended.

Allen then did a quick turnaround and headed toward Friern Barnet Community Library where he was hosting the ‘Spoken Word’ showcase.

As well as local writers and poets, we were joined by Theresa Villiers MP, who came especially to support the Finchley Literary Festival. Theresa used to support the Greenacre Bicycle Rally, so it was very nice to see her and you can find out here whether she enjoyed the evening.

The highlight of the evening for me was Allen's poem, 'The Mill Hill Boys', all about what it is like to come from Finchley and be in a band with the Mill Hill Boys. I hope to hear it one day set to music.

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