Sunday at the Newark Book Festival

I only had one event scheduled for the Sunday, but I was quite excited to attend the session and wrap up my Newark Book Festival 2020 experience. Overall the festival has been a highly enjoyable event, I’ve loved the opportunity to log into these sessions and relax at home while listening to authors discuss some of my favourite genres!

Gothic Fiction Panel

Authors: Rhiannon Ward, Jess Kidd, Francine Toon

I love Gothic fiction, and I think it’s really interesting that it’s a genre that has remained popular among writers and readers – with people managing to bring the tropes into contemporary fiction as well. This means that readers are now familiar with what happens, so authors are having to find new spins and work their own niches.

Within the session they discussed the resurgence of Gothic thrillers, and Jess believed that it is an effective way of looking at power relations as it questions authority and takes a look at the masks people wear. I loved Francine’s point, that she has seen a resurgence in witchcraft alongside feminism – with more people being interested in the history and aesthetic of witchery. The authority relations and the supernatural elements are always within Gothic, but recent interest in them has led to interest in fictional interpretations.

I thoroughly enjoyed the set up of the session – I thought it was highly effective to talk through the different tropes of Gothic fiction. They covered the supernatural, grotesque, cruelty and romance. It was so interesting to hear the authors discuss how they have used those tropes within their works, and how they think it relates to the Gothic. My favourite part had to be when they discussed the supernatural elements, and how their childhood upbringing played a part in the ghost stories they were told and the legends they learnt about. Those were cited as influences for their writing as it plays such a big part of Gothic fiction.

The characters within Gothic works are always deeply interesting ones to read about, as they are often troubled with a lot of emotions – as Francine discussed. Especially within her crime/Gothic novel, as it explores a lot of themes of grief and longing. I liked hearing about their female protagonists, and the motif of the main character being unable to control their own destiny.

I came away from this session feeling enlightened about what the core elements of Gothic fiction are, and how it can be still be applied to contemporary fiction. I can’t wait to get stuck into more Gothic books!


Above is a podcast I recorded with Alex to review the Newark Book Festival, on Southside Broadcasting!

I discuss the events I attended and what I thought of the overall layout of the Festival.

-Personally, Emma

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