Friday, October 5, 2007

The Festival Has Begun

And....Go! The literature festival kicked off yesterday with two events - the marvelous Poetry Bed event in the windows of Heal's (of which more later) and, a few hours later, a cracking gala launch with Rose Tremain at the Whitworth Gallery.

Though my humble mobile-phone picture above makes it look rather like an abstract painting, the Whitworth is always a lovely setting for an event, and if the full house was anything to go by, it made a strong start to this year's festival.

The format - discussions between the author and Patricia Duncker interspersed with readings from her new book, The Road Home - was nicely balanced. The two authors had a spirited and wide-ranging talk that covered the differences between writing historical and modern fiction, research methods, the inspirational role of images, and the myriad ways authors find the characters and settings that provide a route into a particular story or time.

There were plenty of great insights into the writing process. I especially liked what Tremain said about why she never returned to the part of New Zealand that inspired her novel about the Gold Rush, The Colour, after she got the idea for it while visiting the country:

"Your imaginary landscape takes over for the real landscape, and it's much more vibrant and real to you. I never went back because I was afraid to, in case it disturbed my imaginary landscape."

And as for Poetry Bed... well, I'll let our first review competition entrant tell you about that one. See below (or, erm, above.)

- Kate Feld

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