Saturday at the Newark Book Festival

I attended the Newark Book Festival last year with Siren FM, and I never imagined that the events would take place online this year! Even so, I have loved attending two events virtually today and I have so many thoughts. I never need an excuse to discuss books or listen to people talking about books!

The virtual set up was really easy, both the registering beforehand and attending the event, which made it stress free and simple! My connection was great – I saw in the comments box that some people struggled, but they were able to reconnect through refreshing. The comments box also meant that we were able to ask questions at the end of the interview, and some people had some really interesting thoughts in both of the events I attended.

Crime Through The Ages

Interviewer – Nick Quantrill
Authors – Frances Brody, Mick Finlay, Rod Reynolds

Nick took us swiftly through the key points of the discussion – the inspiration for the setting of the story, how their characters were designed and why they chose their particular decade. Frances bases her Kate Shackleton mysteries in 1920s Yorkshire, Mick writes his Arrowood series in 1890s London, whereas Rod writes in contemporary London. As they were all quite different and had their own niches, it was really interesting to hear what drew each of them to a particular place and time. As well as learning about their creative process in tweaking it and using historical artifacts like photos to help with the overall design. Location seemed important to all of the authors as they expressed their fondness for being able to walk the streets and picture their scenes come alive.

One thing all the authors had in common was that they knew they didn’t want to write from the position of a police protagonist – which was really interesting. As Nick pointed out, they can be quite integral for moving the plot along and being the first point of call. All of the authors were united in their belief of having a unique and different character, with Rod pointing out that it was too difficult to write a book with all of the police guidelines and rules.

I really enjoyed the conversation at the end of the discussion, about the recent popular rise in crime fiction. Frances had some really interesting insight – she believes that the books offer a question, answer and resolution that offers security to people. Readers know when they read a crime book that the story will be resolved. Mick and Rod agreed that the genre of crime has expanded a great deal, with psychological thrillers being a new aspect of the genre – so now there is something for everyone.

I love crime fiction, and this just further made me appreciate the genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations and the insights into writing within the crime genre.

Bronte 200

Interviewer: Tim Rideout
Speakers: Rowan Coleman, Lucy Powie, Lauren Livesey

I learnt so much from this event. I love classic literature and I can’t believe I had no idea about the celebration happening at the Bronte Parsonage. I especially liked hearing from Lauren, who is the events manager at the Parsonage, as she took us through the different personalities of the sisters.

As someone who went into the event knowing nothing about the sisters, I felt empowered by all of the passion coming through from the speakers! I want to learn more about them going forward! They all presented such interesting views and it was so clearly apparent to us viewers how much there is to gain from reading the Brontes – and how passionate the speakers are!

It was particularly interesting for me to hear about Anne. Most people will refer to her as the quiet or the unknown sister, but the speakers really brought her to back to life by discussing her character merits. We learnt that she was incredibly moralistic and deserves more recognition for her work – I went away and bought Agnes Grey!

The part of the discussion that struck me the most, was when the speakers were asked about the legacy of the sisters and why people should be reading them today. Lauren believes there is a “Bronte out there for you”, so everyone can still read their relevant works because they effect everyone differently. I loved Rowan’s point too, that they’re just bloody good reads!!

I really enjoyed this talk as I love classic literature and I found it so empowering to learn about the Bronte sisters – I can’t wait to go away and start doing my own research.

-Personally, Emma

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