Well, for the first time Exmouth Festival decided to let in authors. I do not know if this was a good or bad sign, but we are here and we are staying. Gradually we are colonising every festival in the south west from food to music like a plague of Magog – only less furry and active. Instead of implanting eggs we hopefully implant ideas into people which hopefully does not prove to be lethal.
The Festival literary side was based at Exmouth Library – the third biggest library in Devon, with five rooms of book inspired activities for young and old alike. Beatrice and the amazing library staff worked tirelessly throughout the day and the library was filled with over 400 visitors. Special guests at this event were several local Exmouth authors including David Bazell, former editor of the Exmouth Journal and the Fleet Street photographer to the royals Richard Lappas.
The morning started with a series of fun children’s activities with local children authors which included Jenny Kane’s exploration of Roald Dahl writings, Ollie Tooley and his secret identity card workshop, and Brindy Wilcox taking children on a time travel adventure to London.
There were also plenty of activities for adults interesting in books with a series of writing-based workshops for the budding authors of Exmouth. I was due to run my ‘How To Catch A Publisher’ workshop in the lovely big room next to the reference hall. I had the room arrangement and seating plan worked out and things were going smoothly, too smoothly in fact. As any soldier knows every battle plan created in the briefing falls apart as soon as you start the campaign. Well, I started organising my workshop of four people and a woman rushed in and announced, ‘Room Change’ and I was displaced into along thin annex. I charged in with minutes to spare to set up my new room. Then my workshoppers arrived. There were 9 of them in total. In a room 4 foot wide. So, I lined chairs up against the wall, like they were facing a firing squad, jumped onto the high permanent table and stuck my white board on the only empty space in the room, which I had to kneel up on the table to actually write on. My agility level really impressed me though – the hours at gym are helping!
The workshop went well even though my feet could not touch the ground and I must have looked like a hobbit. Not the image I really was going for but at least it was memorable.
At the end of the workshop I heard a couple say, ‘I told you it would be well worth coming’ so I was happy.
My friend Tracey, waiting to run the next talk could not believe the number of people filing out from the tiny room to which I replied that I’d given my first workshop in a Tardis because I’m cool like that…