Sign up to the newsletter

Writers' & Artists' Blog

Literary Festivals Are The New Rock & Roll

Kilburn Literary Festival

Literary festivals are the new rock and roll.

Ok - maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but they are definitely branching out in their appeal. No longer the preserve of genteel market towns, literary festivals have gone urban. 

Nowhere is this more evident than in London. Putting aside the giant London Literary Festival, it seems that every nook, cranny and postcode is holding a Literary Festival - from central London’s Soho Literary Festival (with it’s 36 events at The Soho Theatre), to the leafy suburbs of The Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival, where over 90 authors appear over 3 days. 

Now back to my popular music analogy...

While the slightly edgier Stoke Newington Literary Festival - which celebrates the area’s radical and literary history - brings a bit more rock and roll to the London literary calendar, The Kilburn Literary Festival is the newcomer going all out to claim the title of funkiest festival of the …

Read more | 0 comments

To Plan or Not To Plan

Helen Jones

‘I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.’ Douglas Adams


There are as many ways to write a story as there are writers, each of us taking our own journey to the end of the tale, discovering which methods work best for us as we commit words to paper. As I continue to learn more about the process, I’ve discovered that most of those methods tend to fall into one of two groups; planners and pantsers – I’m assured these are the technical terms and they can be defined as follows:


Planner: Writes a detailed plan of their novel, chapter by chapter, making sure loose ends are tied up, that the story progresses at an acceptable pace and the desired conclusion is met. Often this is in a chart format. Then they start to write.

Pantser: Starts to make a plan, has a few ideas, or one idea, or maybe a couple of characters. Starts to write and realises they had no idea what the story was actually …

Read more | 1 comments

Leapfrogging the Slush Pile

Writing advice

When preparing my submission for agents, I did everything I was supposed to do. I made sure my opening chapters were the best they could be. I wrote a succinct synopsis. I composed a professional and engaging cover letter. I researched which agents were likely to be interested in my work and prepared to send it to a small selection.

Then what? Then, I would wait and stare down the silent weeks and months ahead. My submission would wend its way to the bottom of some tall, teetering slush piles. The agents concerned would get around to looking at it at some point, eventually, in some brief window of time during their busy schedules. They would be looking for a reason not to like it.

I decided this would not do. I wanted to take a more pro-active approach. There must be other ways of connecting with these people. But, apart from stalking and accosting, how?

Well, it turns out there are events specifically designed to bring agents face to face with aspiring authors. …

Read more | 2 comments

Self-Publishing My Children's Books

Victoria Brock

Children’s author Victoria Brock shares her story and tells us how she found success in self-publishing.


I really struggled at school and, at eight years old, I was sent to an all-girls convent school where I was taught by nuns - it was strict, scary and very tough for someone who wasn’t very academic. I'd sit at the back of class wondering what was going on while all the other girls were putting their hands up to answer questions that I had no idea about, and nobody seemed to care.

Then, one day in my English lesson, we were asked to write about the 1987 hurricane that had happened a few nights before. I went home, thought about it and wrote every detail down about that night and what I had experienced. A few days later, my teacher took me to one side and told me how amazing my story was and that it had totally taken her to where I was that night.

From that day onwards, I dreamed up stories, wrote poetry and always believed that I would one day have my own book published. In April …

Read more | 3 comments

Write About What You Know

Alison Baverstock

...is familiar advice to the would-be-published. The idea is presumably that being on home ground will help you get started; providing you with lots of material to write about – as well as a strong idea of the potential audience.

But what if what you know bores you? What if you are just too busy living your life to want to describe it to others?  You may have more fun thinking about something that is new to you –I have heard fiction authors say many times that it’s more interesting to explore something that has not affected you yet – but might – would feel, and to let your imagination go.  Joanna Trollope talked in interviews about the fascination of finding out about how supermarkets worked as preparation for The Rector’s Wife and from hearing her speak, she clearly enjoyed the research she did for The Soldier’s Wife.

For my own part, while I was first published through writing about my role as a publisher, it was distance from the profession that gave me the …

Read more | 2 comments