11-03-2016

Official EAFOL16 blogger Asma Merchant had an action-packed Thursday!

Writing WomenSuch a full day of sessions and activities! A literary festival secret I would like to share is to attend panel discussions. When you do that, besides the known names, you get to see authors who you normally wouldn’t and that helps expand your library and your taste in reading. I attended four different panel sessions and that has made me curious about so many authors.

My first panel was Writing Women with four authors. It was a discussion on how women writers get pigeonholed and different aspects of writing as women. I have read Annabel Kantaria’s Coming Home but I am definitely going to buy the books of the other three authors, Ann Cleves, Freya North and Gill Hornby. I enjoyed myself thoroughly because honestly I enjoy reading such books.

Next off was a children’s panel. With Sean Fay Wolfe, Marcia Williams, Jonathan Meres, Curtis Jobling, Holly Smale and Brandon Sanderson, it was a complete madhouse of a session. Children’s authors are a whole different breed of authors, I feel. They engage with their audiences on a completely new level. There was a whole lot of fun, laughter and inspiration for the children. I believe every adult should pick up children’s or Young Adult books every once in a while to see what the next generation is reading.

One more panel was the Festival Reading Group with Victoria Hislop, Helen Macdonald and Anchee Min. Throughout the year, the Festival runs a monthly reading group where they read authors coming for the next Festival and this session is like the ultimate book club where you get to meet the authors in the end! Another compelling session which is going to send me to the bookshop yet again.

Lastly, I attended a panel on China: Writing in Red Ink with Anchee Min, John Man and James Waterson. So you see how many more authors can be packed in a day by attending panels. This also gives you a chance to see if the authors are having individual sessions later that you could attend.

I also attended the Literary Lunch with Suzanne Husseini. She is such a bright and vibrant personality with a welcoming touch and that’s exactly how her food was. An Ode to Palestine was the theme and the food was beautiful to look and taste.

Another author I got to see was Ben Crystal who has written a book called Shakespeare on Toast which is about making Shakespeare more accessible and his session was fun and engaging. He is going to be at the Orwell Lecture on Saturday with his father David Crystal and I think that is going to be stellar session.

So many authors, so little time!