Sep 15, 2012

A sunny and stunning Saturday by Caroline

St Peter Port has been a hive of literary activity today – I hope you’ve all enjoyed the talks and workshops you’ve been to.

It’s been an enlightening day in so many ways. Marina Lewycka’s workshop opened everyone’s eyes to all the things to consider when choosing your narrative voice. Jim Delbridge entertained us with his rewriting of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Marina cast her expert eye over the writing some of us had been working on.

[caption id="attachment_153" align="alignnone" width="640"] Barclays Hub[/caption]

Dean and Armelle have set up L’Escalier Café in Market Square so a few of us had lunch there before Lucinda Dickens-Hawskley’s talk and Jeff Norton’s MetaWars. If, like me, you loved The Hunger Games then MetaWars sounds like the next book series in which to immerse yourself. 12-year-old Jeff proclaimed, ‘I hate reading’, having been put off by some of the stuff he had to read at school. Inspired by the kind of adventures that changed his mind about books (like After the Bomb by Gloria Miklowitz), Jeff set out to create an addictive story about a teenager fighting for the future. In a world where everything is online, whoever controls the Internet controls the world. There’s the Millennium Corporation, trying to take over every aspect of your life, and the Guardians – they seem like the good guys but it’s not black and white: whose side are you on? Then there’s the terrifying Island of the Uploaded, where you can live online forever. There’s only one catch to achieving digital immortality: the process will kill you. It wouldn’t be so scary if it didn’t seem so horribly feasible..

[caption id="attachment_230" align="alignleft" width="640"] Me introducing Jeff Norton © Carl Symes[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_231" align="alignleft" width="640"] Jeff Norton - if you think you don't like reading then give MetaWars a go © Carl Symes[/caption]

After Jeff’s dystopian vision it was a nice contrast to talk about book groups with Ella Berthoud. I had a bibliotherapy session with Ella last year and she recommended some great books, notably the wonderful How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. So although she was giving us tips on how to run a book group, I noted down every book she recommended. If you’ve managed to see Ella for a bibliotherapy appointment, do follow up on her great suggestions!

[caption id="attachment_172" align="alignnone" width="640"] Ella Berthoud © Carl SymesShe has amazing eye makeup as well as being incredibly well read[/caption]

We’ve blogged a couple of times about our 11th-hour addition to the programme, Colin Grant and Bageye at the Wheel. We all enjoyed being taken back in time to the early 70s, when Colin was growing up in one of the very few Caribbean families on a Luton housing estate. The extracts we heard from his affectionate account of Bageye, the father who has recently come back in his life after 32 years’ absence, were both funny and moving. So I’m now the proud owner of two new, signed books which are on my ‘must read soon’ list.

[caption id="attachment_173" align="alignnone" width="640"] Colin Grant © Carl Symes[/caption]

It was a quick dash to St James to catch Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke’s Laureate Readings. I’m quite envious of the A-level students studying Carol Ann’s poetry, some of it is hilarious and she delivered it brilliantly - I especially loved Mrs Faust. Gillian’s poems about a swan who loses his mate were particularly poignant.

At least two of the younger bloggers are watching Attila, Linton and Ruts DC at the Fermain right now. I’m looking forward to their updates as well as some more photos from today’s action.

There’s so much going on tomorrow – do check out the programme on if you don’t have a brochure, we still have tickets for a number of events and the LitFest Fair will be on all day - it's free and there will be loads of things for children. Please book for the (free) Poetry Slam Final at St James!