Last week, on the 19th-23rd October 2016, my home town welcomed back the Dundee Literary Festival. This year it was special for three reasons:
- It was the festival’s tenth year in operation;
- It was the first time I had managed to attend as it falls during the October school holidays and we are normally away;
- My friend, Sandra Ireland, was featured talking about her debut novel, ‘Beneath the Skin’, alongside Shelley Day and her debut, ‘The Confession of Stella Moon’.
The Literary Dundee website says the following:
Literary Dundee is a cultural organisation, part of the University of Dundee, which celebrates readers and writers, and brings the best writers in the world to Dundee.
We support the literary community in Dundee through the Dundee Literary Festival (October), publications such as New Writing Dundee, projects such as the Dundee International Book Prize, and a series of year round events, including our Literary Lock-Ins, produced in partnership with bright sparks within the University and outside it.
What’s not to like?
I feel lucky to live in a place that is so supportive of literary pursuits and am embarrassed that it has taken so long to be able to attend some of the fantastic and varied talks and events over the period of the festival, some with fellow writers and some with my young children.
As well as Sandra’s event I also managed to attend a lecture on The Fall of the Tay Bridge with David Swinfen; a Memoir and the Art of Life Writing showcase with writers from the University of Dundee’s Continuing Life Writing course and their course tutor, Josie Jules Andrews; a talk by Scotland’s Booker Prize winner James Kelman about his new novel, ‘Dirt Road’; a fascinating discussion about Shirley Jackson (of ‘The Lottery’ fame) and Josephine Tey; and two events for younger people – a ‘Rock and Roald Dahl party’ with Matthew Fitt, who has translated some of Dahl’s books into Scots, and a ‘Create a Comic workshop with Jim Glen. My two eight year olds had a blast. Here’s a picture of Georgia with a certain recognisable DC Thomson character…
I can’t sign off without mention of the Ex Libris Book Fair on the last day, which was a treasure trove for anyone with a love of the arts. As an added bonus I met a fellow SCBWI member, Elizabeth Wein, who I only previously knew through the Society’s Facebook page, and it was lovely, as always, to put a face to a name.
All in all it was a fantastic few days and a new highlight of my year. I think I have a bit of reading to do judging by my literary haul!