North Cornwall Book Festival 2014: catch-up with all our coverage

We published lots of blogposts over the weekend: catch up with them all here


Reports on talks, sessions and workshops

Personal responses and creative writing

My favourite book: festival-goers and authors share their favourite volume

Our brilliant festival team was: Jay Armstrong, Sarah Purnell, Annie Harrison, Anna Cathenka, Aysha Bryant, Shannan Sterne, Sarah Cave, Emma Gibbs, Paige Davis and David Brady. Thanks also to Sorrel Watson for her interview.

Interview: Jill Murphy on the Worst Witch

By Emma Gibbs

Jill Murphy is best known for The Worst Witch stories that follow the misadventures of Mildred Hubble at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. The books were an instant success when they were first released 40 years ago and still remain hugely popular today. Murphy, an author and illustrator, went on to win the 1995 Smarties Book Prize in the 0-5 years category for her story, The Last Noo-noo. She is also famous for The Large Family picture books. She currently lives in Cornwall.

Ahead of The North Cornwall Book Festival, which Murphy will be attending for a children’s workshop on the 26th October, I talked to Jill to discuss her life as a writer…

Why did you decide to write children’s fiction?

“I have always done it, and could read and write from a very early age,” she said. “There was really no alternative.”

I asked about the incredible realisation that she could both write and draw well at such a young age. She “didn’t see it as a talent,” she said, but as a way to entertain herself. And as for her artistry skills, she explained she was often told she could “draw her way out of trouble” in school.  Continue reading

North Cornwall Book Festival: a preview

By Sarah Purnell

This weekend promises to be a good ‘un. With a whole range of different workshops and speakers at North Cornwall Book Festival, it’s difficult to choose which to be most enthusiastic about. The team from the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University are going to be dotted about, trying to soak up as much of it as we can.

For poetry lovers there’s stuff aplenty: on Saturday, the fire poet, Philip Wells teams up with Victoria Field and they will be doing a reading of their work, with a musical accompaniment. Then later, over in the barn, there’s a poetry workshop, exploring the therapeutic potential that writing and reading poetry can have. Pen and paper at the ready!

I’ll be embarking on my own kind of therapy in Bibliotherapy with Elle Berthoud who, after our appointment, will write me a prescription for reading happiness. I have no idea what to expect, but it’s going to be an enlightening experience either way!

Also on Saturday, Aysha Bryant from our team will be setting off on the Betjeman walk, guided around Trebetherick and visiting places of interest to John Betjeman buffs.

I’m looking forward to hearing John Crace talk about his new post as the Guardian’s sketch writer. If anyone has read his Digested Reads, you’ll know this will be a fun hour!

Sunday kicks off with a short story workshop with Tiffany Murray. Let’s hope we didn’t have too much fun with The Bookshop Band the night before, because it’s pencils to the paper again; creative caps on, chaps.

We will also be over at the Betjeman marquee, listening to Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul. Titled Textales: If Cloth Could Talk, this should be an interesting discussion about the cultural significance of textiles, and Balfour-Paul’s search for indigo. There will be the chance to actually touch the materials too.

So from papermaking, to asking “What is fiction for?” there’s a great deal going on – and it all comes to a head on Sunday evening when festival founder Patrick Gale will be interviewing fellow author, Louisa Young.

We’ll also be pouncing on festival-goers as they emerge from the workshops and talks to ask them about their experiences. And look out for our interview with Jill Murphy; the author of the popular Worst Witch stories will be taking up residence in the Trefelix dining room to talk about how she wrote, and made, her first books.

So, if you see one of us – we’ll be easier to spot: lanyards, notebooks, furiously scribbling, asking for selfies – come and say hello.


A book in the grass
A book lies in the grass. Picture: Andrada Radu/Flickr/Creative Commons

This weekend a group of students from the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University will be heading to North Cornwall Book Festival to report, react, and respond to the author talks, debates and workshops on offer. We’ll be posting all of that – and more – on the blog throughout the weekend, as well as publishing interviews with authors such as Patrick Gale, Jill Murphy, Philip Wells and Horatio Clare in the next few days. Check back for our coverage – and in the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter @swjfalmouth

Picture: Andrada Radu/Flickr/Creative Commons