Have you ever noticed that, when you buy a particular car, suddenly there are loads of them on the road? Or you buy an item of clothing, and everyone seems to be wearing it? The reality is that there aren’t more of those cars on the road, nor has that coat or dress suddenly become more popular. It’s just that you’re noticing it more because it’s now at the forefront of your mind.
The reason I mention this phenomenon is that I made a decision a few years ago to start going to more literary based events. To be fair, I don’t mean literary in the sense of purely high-brow writing. I’d much rather be involved in stuff that’s commercial and engages the masses. Let’s face it, it’s the kind of stuff I read and – hopefully – the kind of stuff I write.
Having made that decision, initially, I didn’t know where to look. But, the more I looked, the more I found, and usually in places I had to travel a long way to. Like so many things, the focus seemed to be on London and the South.
Not any more, though, and increasingly this is the case. Is it because I changed what I was thinking about? Partly. I’m sure there was much more going on already that I wasn’t aware of. But there are also new events popping up all the time.
There was no such thing as a self-publishing conference a few years ago. Now there’s one every year. There’s a proliferation of writers groups and book clubs, and the range of literary festivals has broadened. All of which is great news for authors, publishers and booksellers. Because that means there’s a lot more interest in reading than the mainstream media would have us believe.
About six years ago, I acquired my Kindle and, since then, have been a complete convert to the e-Book. And yet, I have more hard copies now than I have done for some time because I like meeting authors and getting them to sign their books.
Why am I telling you all this? It’s because (yet again), I want to mention this coming weekend’s North Notts Literary Festival. Held in my home town of Retford, the festival offers a range of events, including workshops, guided walks, talks, performances and signings – all from local writers.
Before I started looking for events to go to, would I have even noticed this one? Maybe. Would I have managed to become a part of it? Definitely not.
For a full list of activities, take a look at the festival website. If you’re not sure about anything, feel free to ask the organisers – or me, if you think I’m more approachable. Clearly, the highlight of the weekend for me will be the two Read Dating events I’m taking part in. They’ll be taking place at 2:30pm on the Saturday and Sunday. The venues are The Glasshouse and The Barrister’s Book Chamber respectively.
It’d be great if any of you reading this were to come along, whether just to see me or to soak up the atmosphere of the weekend and meet some proper writers. We’re surprisingly easy to get to (see my last post). But, if you can’t and you’d like to do more of this stuff yourself, do start looking around. There’s a lot more of it out there than you think.