Monday 25 May 2015

Diary of a Festival Organiser - Day 3

Friday 22nd May 2015

Duncan Barrett
Our first event of the day took place at Waterstones, North Finchley with Duncan Barrett (unfortunately Nuala Calvi was unwell). Duncan spoke about their latest book The Girls Who Went to War. Their previous books include The Sugar Girls and GI Brides. I learnt a lot about women in the services during WW2, and interestingly though not unsurprisingly, they had to put up with a lot of unkindness from the general public who thought they were all 'tarts'. The Government were so worrried that they made a propaganda film The Gentle Sex. The Girls is already a bestseller and is at No.3 of the Sunday Times top ten.

While we were rehearsing for the next event, Paul Baker was meeting walkers at Finchley Central station and taking them for a literary walk. Paul, a qualified City of London guide, led a special Finchley Lit Fest walk. Two miles from Finchley Central to East Finchley, taking people past a number of Finchley's literary connections including Charles Dickens, Sir Edmund Gosse, John Betjeman, Spike Milligan and Will Self, amongst others and painters, William Hogarth, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Ford Madox Brown. Even more Finchley in Fiction here.

The next event was Mike Gee's Literary Slideshow. This was a slightly different show from his usual secret green spaces event, it included readings by Lindsay, Mark Kitchenham, Chris Hurwitz-Bremner and myself of over twenty pieces of poetry and prose to lovely photos. I particularly enjoyed the last two lines of The Song of the Dandelion Fairy: (There are fairies with this link!) '...You can never drive me out, Me, the dauntless Dandelion!' However, this event nearly didn't happen. Just as we left Mike's house with a lorry-load of equipment, two fire engines went whizzing past. I didn't know where they were headed but I did instinctively feel we should go the long way round to the library. It was just as well we did because when one of the guests arrived he said there was a fire in North Finchley High Road and people were stuck in traffic for up to two hours. North Finchley library is at the top end of Finchley. There were some people who didn't make it but we still had fun and decided (to our peril) that it was a rehearsal for another literary slideshow in the future. Date to be confirmed!

I couldn't attend the Writing for Wellbeing event with Andi Michael but I heard from a participant that she had a wonderful time. More events tomorrow!

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