Good morning my loves!
Today I get to tell you how much of a brilliant time that I had at this years Crickhowell Literary Festival.
Our aim in this fourth Crickhowell Literary Festival is, as always, to provide enjoyment, entertainment and interest for everyone. We have certainly hit the ground running with events on some of the year’s hottest best-sellers (Vesna Goldsworthy on Monsieur Ka and Kit de Waal on A Trick to Time); on high-profile contemporary crime fiction (Sophie Hannah’s latest Poirot mystery and Oliver Bullough’s Moneyland); on famous classics (Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights) and on two of the year’s most discussed television series, Keeping Faith and The Handmaid’s Tale. Events on current affairs include our president, Owen Sheers, paying tribute to seventy years of the National Health Service with a screening of his film, To Provide All People, and Professor Brian Cathcart, with whom we can explore just how far the British Press is corrupt. You can share the experience of pilgrimage with Anne Hayward, and a fourteenth-century Christian Mystic will make a ghostly appearance at Bethesda Chapel. Walks, foraging, nature, school visits, writing workshops and music will charm the most reclusive from their home comforts and, just for pure entertainment, you can enjoy a ‘Rugby Special’ event with sports commentators John Inverdale and Eddie Butler, or listen to a panel of local writers talking about their favourite houses in literature.
– Emma Corfield-Walters & Anne Rowe, Festival Directors.
This year was the first year that I attended the festival, but I know for sure it won’t be the last. Emma and Anne manage to create such a warm and welcoming atmosphere, it’s almost hard to leave at the end of the day. I only attended one day and really wish I’d booked to see more events. The ones I did see however, were absolutely wonderful.
I had so much fun I actually forgot to take any pictures…. Always a sign of one having a great time!
In between events, I was lucky enough to sit down with Sophie and Stu for some good food and a good natter. What did we discuss you ask? Well, we contemplated the state of the human psyche. Are we born inherently good, or evil? I know, mind blowing.
Sophie Hannah interviewing Stuart Turton, author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
This was the first event that I attended (but you know your girl did a bit of reading, tea drinking and cake eating before heading over to the venue). I knew from the moment I realised the festival was a thing, that I had to BEG to somehow get Stuart Turton there. I had no idea if this was possible but decided that maybe if I made enough noise on social media, that I might be lucky.Now, I don’t want to say that I was the deciding factor in Stuart attending the festival, but……
Watching this first event was an absolute joy. I had read some of Sophie’s crime books a long time ago and watching her interview Stuart was like watching myself, had I been given the chance to do so. It was clear from the off that Sophie read and loved The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle almost as much as I did.
Stuart talked about his planning when it came to plotting and writing the novel, and to be completely honest, his thought process gave me a headache. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil the book if you haven’t read it yet. But, Stu wrote timelines for ever single character in blocks of two minutes. Let’s put that into perspective. Each character, for the period of a day, in blocks of two minutes. I know, that blew my mind too. I think it is one of the things that makes the book so cohesive. There is not one point where you think, wait. Isn’t the character supposed to be somewhere else at this time.
I really could sit here for thousands of words babbling on about how much I loved this book and how much I loved seeing Sophie Interview Stu, but I don’t think you’ll have time for that…
Sophie Hannah – The Mystery of Three Quarters
Now, as I said previously, I had read some of Sophie’s crime novels but shockingly, hadn’t read any of her Poirot continuation novels (I know, shame on me). I think I had been pretty reluctant to read them as I thought (naively) that they would try to be something they aren’t. Boy, was I wrong.
At the very beginning of her talk, Sophie shared the story of how her Poirot novels came to be. It was hilarious. So funny it had to be true, you couldn’t make something like that up. Of course, I can’t tell you the story now, because I would hope that you’d go and see Sophie yourself, she is a much better storyteller than I.
I loved the fact that Sophie works so closely with the Christie family on the novels, and writes them with the blessing of her great grandson and the rest of the family. After hearing this I felt far less reluctant to give her Poirot books a go. I now have all three of them…. two of them signed…. Yes, we all know I have a problem.
I had such a wonderful day and seriously urge you to go out and get your mitts on Stu and Sophie’s books. You really are in for a treat. Oh, and as I am writing this, The Death of Evelyn Hardcastle has debuted number 5 in The Times Paperback Chart!
Peace and pages