Thursday 21 May 2015

Diary of a Festival Organiser - Day 1

Wednesday 20th May 2015

The day began with a bit of panic when I discovered most of the organisers and participants had been struck down by a mystery virus, see more here.

This year the festival theme is supporting libraries. We intend to make the most of them while they are still here and we support all the library campaigns all over the UK fighting to save their libraries. 

We were very pleased to be launching the festival at Church End Library with Theresa Musgrove, The Hand that Smoothes the Pillow: Mary Ann Cotton – the Life and Times of a Victorian Serial Killer. 

It seems that Theresa's research is a way to take her mind off the recent election results. She is now "concentrating her mind on the happy subject of serial killers, and death by poisoning, which makes a pleasant contrast to the malodorous subject of politics in the London Borough of Broken Barnet."

Theresa Musgrove
Murni, a Greenacre Writer and FLF photographer, said about the event, "I learnt about a woman, the same age like mine, who was sent to the gallows in 1873 because of her crimes. The arsenic queen, Mary Ann Cotton, killed four of her husbands, her lovers, her step children and her OWN ones that make twenty one victims in total. Little known until recently, she is more murderous than her contemporaries Jack the Ripper and Dr. Harold Shipman." 

Her descendant Theresa Musgrove @brokenbarnet spoke about her life and Mary Ann Cotton's personae as part of Finchley Literary Festival."

Theresa, who incidentally is a descendant Mary Ann Cotton, is now writing what she hopes will be the definitive study of the life of the Victorian poisoner, Mary Ann Cotton.

Later that evening, we decamped to Friern Barnet Community Library for Mike Carey's event. I discovered that Mike and his wife Linda had worked as volunteers when the library was occupied.
Lindsay just after she'd bitten me. And me zombiefied (Mike unaware he is about to be bitten)
                                 Mike reading from The Girl.           J.P. O'Malley interviewing Mike                           
More zombies (Mike is of course wearing a human mask -he'd already been struck down with the Zombie Book Bug!)
I think the photographs tell the story of the evening quite well. For a more detailed description see Lindsay Bamfield's blog.

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