My local book festival has been going for a while but I’m ashamed to say yesterday was my first visit.

I kicked off with Rachel Hore’s session on how to approach writing a novel which was interesting and useful. I’d never heard of Rachel before – she’s a tutor in Creative Writing at UEA and has published 7 novels. I found her talk very reassuring – I’d been worriting away that I didn’t feel ready to start on novel number 3 as I don’t yet know exactly how it ends. Rachel said she leaves the plot to her characters – throwing them into a situation and seeing what happens – which is exactly what I did with A Greater World. Thus liberated, I found myself jotting notes and ideas for the book as she talked – so that was a result! No excuse for further procrastination – which I think is what my search for the definitive ending was all about. Rachel’s novels are historical with modern time shift

My next stop was “e-books and Self-publishing”, where I hoped to learn something new – but didn’t. I’ve already had a full self-pub immersion – maybe if I’d gone to this talk last year…

Oil Painting of Dora Wordsworth

Afterwards, on the spur of the moment I passed on Malcolm Gluck’s “A Life in Wine” (on the basis that I prefer to drink it than listen to it) and chose Katie Waldegrave’s discussion of her acclaimed book, The Poets’ Daughters, about the lives of Sara Coleridge and Dora Wordsworth. Katie was expertly interviewed by former BBC broadcaster Susannah Simons (whom I happen to know as she bought my apartment). I had no prior knowledge of either Sara or Dora and have had little to do with their fathers since university, but by the end of the session I was sold on what sounds like a thumping good read. Being  women in those times was hard enough , without being the daughters of literary giants who were the rockstars of their day, but these two definitely had more than their fair share of tough times. Life-long friends, the pair faced anorexia, drug addiction and depression and in Dora’s case a very questionable relationship with her possessive and bullying father who spent years bitterly opposing her marriage and for whom she was amaneunsis and in Sara’s the death of babies and multiple miscarriages.

Image of Dora Wordsworth in 1839 from The Wordsworth Trust

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