Wednesday, 30 August 2017

My local book festival - Lari Don

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is wonderful. Of course, all book festivals are wonderful and everyone’s own local book festival is precious to them. But I am privileged to live in the city with the biggest book festival in the world. For almost 3 weeks every August, Charlotte Square in Edinburgh becomes the heart of the literary world. (Yes, other festivals are available in Edinburgh at the same time, but this one is about BOOKS!)

I used to go to the Edinburgh Book Festival when I was an aspiring writer, before I had any idea what I wanted to write or how to go about it. I used to sit in huge tents listening to authors launching their new books and scribble down every tiny (and contradictory...) writing tip that I heard. I used to attend writing workshops in much smaller tents, and ask earnest and naïve questions. I remember coming out of one ‘how to write for children’ workshop with an idea I was convinced was a bestseller and sitting down on the muddy grass to fill a whole notebook with enthusiasm. (I’ve never written any more of that story. I wonder where the notebook is...)

I still go to the book festival every August, and I still sit at the back of tents with a notebook on my knee (because writers still say interesting things, and I still scribble them down.)

But I also chair events, and ask earnest and possibly naïve questions on stage.

And I also (and this is the bit I sometimes can't quite believe) stand on stage and read my own books to audiences. I talk about my writing process. I share my stories with young readers and answer their (challenging and very pertinent!) questions.

I launched my new book – The Witch’s Guide to Magical Combat - last week at the book festival. The last book in a trilogy I’m sure I wouldn’t have written without all the notes I scribbled and all the earnest questions I asked, many years ago.

I love book festivals. But the book festival which means the most to me, the book festival which reminds me how far I’ve come and how privileged I am, is the book festival which happens just up the road.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival is now over for another year. But I wonder what words and stories and books will be written over the next 11 months by all the aspiring writers, young and old, who were in those audiences...

Lari Don is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for all ages, including fantasy novels for 8 – 12s, picture books, retellings of traditional tales, a teen thriller and novellas for reluctant readers. She has just launched the final book in the #Spellchasers trilogy.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

More strength to you to continue. Nice to be forthright about what one believes in.