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.

Like Lime Through Feathers: Lavinia Greenlaw at the North Cornwall Book Festival

Sarah Cave

I was excited to be covering Lavinia Greenlaw’s reading at this weekend’s North Cornwall Book Festival. Her poetry is beautiful. Last Autumn I discovered her smooth, complex verse in a volume that put Greenlaw’s poetry side by side with the journals of William Morris during his travels in Iceland.

There is a comfortable, gentle atmosphere in the Betjeman Marquee where Greenlaw is due to speak. People are holding copies of her new collection, A Double Sorrow, Troilus and Criseyde, a response and a rewriting of Chaucer’s famous work. The books re-emerge later in the bookshop during a signing session.

Greenlaw reads a selection of her Chaucer-inspired poems. She tells the audience that rather than translating Chaucer’s (or Boccacio’s) story she wanted to “clean out the language.” Her verses are clean and precise and flow musically. Although the book is in rhyme royal seven-line verse, from page to page, the language lilts effortlessly.  Continue reading

Interview: Patrick Gale on A Place Called Winter

Patrick Gale
Patrick Gale’s forthcoming novel is A Place Called Winter. Picture: Endelienta

By Jay Armstrong

Patrick Gale is busy – and he’s showing no signs of slowing up. The best-selling author is a passionate advocate of the arts in Cornwall; he is chairman of the North Cornwall Book Festival, this weekend returning for a second year at St Endelion with a mission is “to bring books and their authors to Cornwall”. And who better placed to do that than the popular and prolific Cornwall-based novelist?

Along with the festival, Gale’s energies are currently divided between screenplay projects – he’s developing an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and is writing a three part original drama series, Man in an Orange Shirt, for BBC2 – and promoting his fifteenth novel, A Place Called Winter, due to be published in March 2015.

Gale is known for a deep connection to his authentic characters, often sketched around personalities from his past, and this latest work delves deep into his own family history. It is loosely based on the story of his maternal great grandfather, Harry Cane, who left his wife and child in England to set up as a homesteader in the wild prairies of Canada.  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