Sep 16, 2012

My Saturday at the festival.

To start off an exciting Saturday at the Guernsey Literary Festival I had an extremely helpful one on one poetry master class with Candy Neubert in the morning. Taking my own collection of original poems with me, she advised me, giving me constructive criticism and encouraging me to keep writing. This was all whilst surrounded by the beautiful Candy Gardens that I strolled through as I made my way to my next event: short stories with Chuma Nwokolo.

Chuma instantly struck me as a very talented and intellectual man. During his introduction, we learned that he was in fact a fully qualified lawyer and had an active political role; he even went on later to confirm that he had been to the houses of parliament to instigate the pass of a new law that would help to close corrupt corporations in Nigeria, his native country. Chuma talked mostly about his latest publication, reading a few short stories from it that dealt with post-dictatorship Nigeria. The stories were profound, yet interlaced with humour and always with an interesting twist at the end.

I had an hour to kill before Michael Morpurgo’s talk began at St James, so I decided to simply walk around and absorb the atmosphere of the festival. I have never seen town to be like this. A wave of optimism had seemed to absorb the Market Square. People were smiling as they walked from event-to-event, buying books and generally just enjoying the promotion of reading. After this, Morpurgo’s eagerly anticipated talk beckoned me.

For someone of such success, I expected Morpurgo to be bogged down by pretension, despite being a children’s author. My prejudgement, however, could not have proved any more contrary. Michael proved to be a very funny and caring man, always addressing the audience and encouraging the children to ask questions. He even stayed behind to meet and greet every single fan that was there. I managed to get a few words off Morpurgo, who exclaimed that it was the “history of the island that fascinate him”.

Next for me was Carol Anne Duffy and Gillian Clarke, both respectively are the Poet Laureates for England and Wales. There session was simple, yet profound; simply consisting of both taking it in turns to read a selection of their poems. Having both was a refreshing mix. Whilst Carol’s poems adhered more to social satire, Gillian’s were more traditional in a sense, taking experiences from her own life and background. They were both fascinating to watch, the words they spoke seemed to create imagery without the aid of any lighting or effects.

That was my Saturday at the festival, hope everyone attending enjoys the final day!