The best events at book festivals are often the ones that are stripped of all formality, where the authors can freely exchange ideas and experiences between themselves and the audience without the public feeling like they are overhearing a secretive gossip session or a dry academic debate.
Fortunately, this was such an event. We started with a brief reading from each of the writers (a particular shout out to Kirsty Logan here as she managed a flawless performance despite a number of technical distractions) which not only showcased the writers’ skill at creating magical, odd and compelling worlds, but also how wonderfully different these worlds can be. Louise Welsh, who has recently completed her Plague Times Trilogy with the No Dominion, read first and took us into a world of troubled children and darkness, Kirsty Logan then read from her second novel, The Gloaming, and whisked us off to an island of mystery and magic, while Ever Dundas read from her debut novel Goblin and sent us back in time to war torn London where a girl called Goblin is trying to survive.
What followed was a fascinating discussion, expertly chaired by Sasha de Buyl-Pisco, which explored both the writer’s intention to transport readers to new and unknown territories, as well as the process they undertook to create these worlds. There was also a particularly interesting conversation about the role of a writer’s public and private persona which, had there been more time, could have delved deeper into the changing role of the writer, but with so many captivating worlds, ideas and eras to ponder, this hardly mattered. There are seldom more enjoyable conversations than writers sharing their humility, wit and insight and Louise Welsh, Ever Dundas and Kirsty Logan made me wish there was a book festival every week.
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