Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Our Essex Book Festival event

Here's my lovely group of Essex writing friends at our first Essex Writers' Panel event, this afternoon at Halstead Library as part of the Essex Book Festival.

From left to right, Maureen Lee, Fay Cunningham, myself, Fenella Miller and Jean Fullerton (who did a great job as our chairperson, keeping us all in order and making sure none of us did more than our fair share of yakking!).

The event went really well: Halstead is a lovely library in a beautiful small Essex town, and the people were all so friendly and welcoming. We all chatted a little about ourselves and our writing, and then answered questions from the audience.

In fact we could have gone on answering questions for the rest of the day, they were all so lively and interested!

As you know I give quite a few talks to various groups on my own, and I enjoy it, but being part of this panel is a whole different experience - great fun, especially as we all get along well together (it does help!) and we all write different types of books so each of us brings something different to the discussions. Actually although we advertise ourselves as a panel of five, I think they are getting real value, as I am there both as Sheila Norton and Olivia Ryan!

We all enjoy giving something back to the libraries, as they provide such an important service - and an important part of our income through the Public Lending Right payments. Now we've done our 'inaugural' event as a panel, we're looking forward to further events we've got booked, after the end of the Book Festival. If they're all equally successful, I think we'll be very happy!


  1. Sounds like a great day and I'm sure it'll be the first of many.

  2. Thanks Colette. Yes it was great fun and we were very well looked after!

  3. Hi Olivia, I hope this means that you and your friends will be back again next year and will do an evening chat for people who work full-time.

    I look forward to meeting up with you again

  4. Hi Jarmara! Unfortunately we didn't get any choice in where or when our event was scheduled - we were just grateful to be included (considering all the Big Names appearing during the Festival!). Of course, we'd rather have had an evening or weekend event but I guess they are reserved for ... those Big Names! We're not complaining as we were made so welcome at Halstead and it was a lovely event. However please do feel free to let the event organisers know that you'd like to see us at the Festival next year! :)

  5. Ooh it looks very posh! So glad it went well, and a lovely endorsement for libraries in general.

    Ours is going to be closing on Mondays from 1st of June and some of the smaller branches altogether, but the good news for our branch is that they're hoping to do hold more author talks in future :o)

  6. Thanks Karen. Sorry to hear about your library going part-time and others closing. Our village library is only open 3 half days and 1 whole day but I can understand that - it's the complete closures I find so sad. Good news that yours is having more author talks though!