Monday, March 30, 2009

Chichester Writing Festival 2009

I've spent a very enjoyable weekend at the latest Festival, run by Greg and Kate Mosse in the sublime surroundings of West Dean, just north of Chichester. Greg and Kate have been very supportive of The Dog of the North since before it was published (as they are with all aspiring writers) so I'm delighted to go along to anything they run; but even without that connection the Writing Festival is an occasion to delight, with an array of stimulating panels and panellists. And it's always good to catch up with old friends and make some new ones (quite aside from the fact that some of them might buy my book...).

The panellist who seemed to make the biggest impact on the audience was Roger (R.J.) Ellory, whose novel A Quiet Belief in Angels was picked up by Richard & Judy last year. The book epitomises the "classy commercial" fiction which is currently the publishing industry's Holy Grail, but what really impressed about Roger is that he wrote 22 unpublished novels before making the breakthrough--all the time while carrying on a demanding day job. His hard work and astonishing self-belief will inspire and daunt the aspiring writer in equal measure.

If there was a common theme among all the many writers on display it was that passion and a commitment to hard work are the essentials without which publication will never happen. From my own example, minor as that may be, I'd say that's a perfect message to take away. The bottom line is that you really do need to put in the hard yards.

The next Chichester Writing Festival is scheduled for November 2010 and I'm looking forward to it already.


Unknown said...

Hi, Tim.

I almost bought a ticket to this a couple of years back. Sounds worth it.

Tim Stretton said...

You'd enjoy it...

David Isaak said...


That's got to be some kind of a record. George V. Higgins claimed fourteen, if I recall.

Twenty-two. Man. I'm just sitting here shaking my head, trying to grasp that statistic.