It's now a few days since my wonderful weekend at the Edinburgh Women's Fiction Festival.
The weather was atrocious! Serious flooding occurred across many parts of Scotland during the past weekend but I'm pleased to say that the venue - Morningside United Church - was dry and warm. Only when I nipped out - to grab a coffee from the nearby Costa shop, or when I ventured further down Morningside Road in Edinburgh with Julie George, to pick up a sandwich for lunch - did I get very wet in a very short time.
The venue was a bit strange in that sitting on a traditional bench pew for hours and hours was a novelty, listening to various authors talk about their own books, or the main topics of their writing. Thankfully there was a cushion to stave off serious bottom ache! Nevertheless, the organisers of the festival did extremely well to source the use of the venue whilst keeping the cost down to a bare minimum for the attendees. There was a small bookstore available in the front foyer run by The Edinburgh Bookshop (Bruntsfield), their main store being located only a few doors up the road. The groaning tables in the church foyer were naturally geared towards those authors who were participating in the discussions.
I don't read many fiction paperbacks these days, mainly reading fiction via my Kindle, but I did come home with a couple of new books. One is by Danielle Devlin. 'Burnt Offerings' is set in Scotland 1589, and my interest was piqued after a 'Witchery' session with two writers Anya Bergman and Stacey Thomas (whose novels I may likely read as well).
The other paperback is by one of my fellow Romantic Novel Association Scottish Chapter members, Nina Kaye, her novel being titled 'One Night in Edinburgh'. I bought my copy after the Friday night inaugural session and began it on my return to my hotel. The choice of Braid Hills Hotel was a very good one (once I found it on the Friday afternoon) since it's on a main Lothian Bus Route which linked the hotel to the event venue, and to Princes Street in central Edinburgh.
|Braid Hills Hotel|
My lovely RNA Scottish Chapter author friend Mairibeth MacMillan picked me up from the hotel after I checked in, and we went for a quick dinner in a restaurant very close to the venue. After the evening session, I headed back to my hotel by bus, the service absolutely excellent compared to transport in the Aberdeenshire boondocks!
|Jackie Fraser, Milly Johnson, Eva Verde|
'One Night in Edinburgh' was an entertaining engrossing read, perfect for my long journey home from Edinburgh to Aberdeen by coach on Sunday. The excessively heavy rainstorms had crippled a lot of transport across Scotland and I was glad to have booked my coach ticket in advance, since many disappointed rail travellers were trying to find an alternative route home. My train journey northwards from Aberdeen was cancelled but an Inverness-bound coach got me to my nearest county town where my lovely son-in-law collected me in still-dire weather and got me home.
The main point of the last rambling paragraph is that I spent some of the travel time reading my new novel and actually finished it by Monday.
And the festival itself? It had as many as possible hour-long discussion sessions crammed into Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. though it was surprising how quickly the day passed. The authors and their 'interviewer' were well organised, responses to the prepared questions seamlessly answered. I knew it was going to be mostly geared to romcom/ chick-lit/ feel-good fiction - not my usual writing genres - but it was great to hear what drove the authors to write what they do, whether newly published authors or those of long-standing like Jenny Colgan and Mike Gayle whose session wound up up the event. All in all, it was great to just sit and listen and not need to do any presentation myself, or talk about my own writing.
|Catherine Hokin and Karen Swan|
Where I was seated meant taking photographs was very difficult so, sadly, I had to delete most of what I'd hastily snapped.
Another lovely aspect of the whole event was that in addition to meeting up with members of my RNA Scottish Chapter group, I met a new author friend Julie George who had come all the way to Edinburgh from Cornwall. Another far-flung attendee who joined our little RNA group for a short time was a young writer from Georgia, USA, who was on her honeymoon. Both of these attendees indicate the power of advertising on behalf of the organisers!
Would I attend next year? Absolutely!... and I might sign myself up for some of the workshops if available, which I chose not to do this time around.
Well done to all who organised the Edinburgh Women's Fiction Festival!