Wednesday 27 May 2015

Day Five of Finchley Literary Festival

The last day of the festival and I had the chance to have a bit of a break on Sunday morning, and managed to do the weekly shop and get a bit of housework done as this had been somewhat totally neglected in the past few days!

The sun was shining as I set off to the shops and I was pleased that everybody turning out for Rosie Canning's event, The Walking Writer, would stay dry. You can find out much more about it on Rosie's blog.

At about 3.00pm I was checking I had everything ready for our finale when Rosie phoned saying the walk had taken longer than anticipated and would I set up at Café Buzz? As it happened she managed to arrive not long after I had and we set up the mic for the final time.

Jemma Wayne

Our readers all turned up in good time and we were away...

Local author, Jemma Wayne, began the evening reading a powerful extract from her debut novel which was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award, and longlisted for both the Guardian Not the Booker Prize and the prestigious Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. I read the first two paragraphs - and even if I'd not have heard Jemma reading, this was enough to convince that I wanted to read this book.

Zoe Gilbert of the North London Writer' group was up next. I had come across her name before because she won the 2014 Costa Short Story Award. Take a look here. I had briefly flirted with the idea of entering myself and am glad I didn't because I wouldn't have stood a chance! Zoe read us a short story and a flash fiction piece.

Next was Tasha Kavanagh, who has had ten children's books published under the name of Tasha Pym, and has now published her first novel for adults, Things We Have in Common. Critics have described this novel as a worthy member of the Gone Girl genre. A member of North London Writers, Tasha first talked a little about her writing process as she knew there would be writers in the audience who might find that interesting.

Needless to say her novel too has been added to my library.

Irenson Okojie
Our fourth reader was Irenson Okojie, who was recommended to us by Alex Wheatle. Irenosen's forthcoming book Butterfly Fish is published on 1st June. Her reading was vibrant and I felt very excited by this book. If like me, you want a bit of it now see this extract. In London the central character, Joy, is alone and lonely after her mother's death. She finds herself intrigued by an object that her mother left her - a warrior’s head cast in brass that once belonged to a king in eighteenth century Benin, Nigeria. The story weaves contemporary London with Benin over 200 years ago. Roll on next week!

After a break for refreshments and a chance to chat to the authors - Evie Miller, another member of North London Writers, was the next reader. She is currently completing an MA at City University on novel writing. She has had two novels published, aimed at the YA market, and has now written a novel for adults, The Puppet Master's Lover, from which she read an extract.

She was followed by Lily Dunn, chair of the North London Writers. Lily works with the Womentoring project which mentors women writers, who are unable to self-finance such mentoring, without charge. Lily has had her first novel published, Shadowing the Sun, a novel of complicated family relationships and their long lasting effects. Another book to be eagerly read before going on my bookshelf! You might like to read this review.

Our final reader brought a change of style as Dennis Evans, a Finchley poet, read several poems from his most recent collection, First The Silence, which was published last year. But our evening wasn't quite over. Here is a link with some of Dennis' poems.

One of the Greenacre Writers, Kate, had brought a friend along and somehow we discovered that he was a virtuoso violinist. Would he play us out? He would, and Kate dashed home to fetch her son's violin in time for Peter Jesudason to give us his impromptu performance. One of the audience filmed on her phone. The picture quality isn't great but you can hear it here.

What a fantastic finale to the fourth Finchley Literary Festival; seven brilliant authors and a superb musician to close five days of wonderful events. FLF just gets better and better!


Patsy said...

Sounds like a really interesting event.

Joanna said...

What an incredible day, Lindsay, and some amazing-looking books that I want to investigate further. x

Lindsay said...

Thanks for your comments. Yes, the books are well worth a read!