Over the May Bank Holiday, I took part in the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Fair.
The fair, which takes place both inside the castle and around the ground, runs from Saturday to Tuesday and this was it’s fourth year.
I was there on Family Day, running workshops with my children’s creative writing club, Storymakers.
I’ve been running Storymakers for almost two years now, since my first book, The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants was published. What started as a couple of workshops to help the girls in my daughter’s year, has extended to a fully established business that provides weekly classes to children aged from seven to 14 years. I also work with schools, but this was my first literary festival.
On the day, I ran three workshops each with around 20 participants. The ages ranged from seven up to 12 years, so it was an interesting challenge (I don’t normally have such a wide age range in the same room at the same time).
We looked at how to find interesting story ideas from the every day, as well as how we use all our senses in our writing. The sessions were interactive and lively as well as being great fun. By the end of the day though, I was exhausted!
What’s particularly great about the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Fair, is that it not only brings together fantastic authors and interesting people, the setting for the fair, the backdrop, is so beautiful, magical and inspiring.
The programme of events that happens over the four days takes place within close proximity to one another. This is rare for a literary festival, which usually happens in a town and as such, is spread out over different venues.
I did my workshops in the library, which is a beautiful room, and I could feel it was alive with history and so many stories of its own, not just from the many ancient books that adorned the shelves.
School’s Day this year, featured bestselling authors Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Dan Freedman and Max Evans, award-winning poet Joseph Coelho and performances from festival favourites Really Big Pants Theatre Company.
Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll be in the big marquee alongside them. For now though, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of something so inspiring and important. Hopefully, I’ll be back there next year.