One of the treats of a British summer is the plethora of literary festivals around nowadays. There can be few pleasures more engaging than being in our wonderful historic country listening to an author talking about their book whilst supping a glass of something delicious.
Indeed, they are now so popular that major authors can now command big money and getting a look in on the schedule is out of the question for lesser authors like myself. This can make the bigger events feel less personal, as event officials rush their writers off to private areas giving us little opportunity to talk to the authors in person.
But if you choose a new event, one that’s still in its early years and has plenty of authors who are early on in their writing career, you can get the best of both worlds. Small enough to still maintain their house party atmosphere, you can hear first-hand from a variety of authors, some new, some not so new, about their work, their inspiration and what drives them.
Hawkesbury Upton is one such event. In its first year, the venue alone is a perfect place to spend time in. It’s in a beautiful south Cotswolds village called Hawkesbury Upton, close to the famous Badminton estate in a gorgeous pub called ‘The Fox’, with its own Italian restaurant. The event will be opened by best-selling novelist Katie Fforde and best-selling literary novelist and poet Orna Ross, who is also founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors. There are a variety of talks starting at 7pm, author readings, an exhibition and a shop open all evening, something to entertain everyone. The event will feature local charity, Readathon, aimed at encouraging children to read and even a literary calligraphy exhibition.
To truly soak up the literary connections you could stop over at The Bodkin en route. This beautiful local restaurant in the village of Petty France near Hawkesbury Upton was visited by Jane Austen, who is reputed to have scratched a message with her diamond ring on an upstairs window. She commemorated her stay in her novel ‘Northanger Abbey’.
The day is on World Book Night on April 23rd. Interest has been so great that who knows, in a few years the event might be taking its place amongst the biggest of the book world.
And for one final treat, Write Romantic’s Helen Rolfe and Lynne Pardoe will be making their debut in the literary festival world at the event! For the full programme, see the webpage.