Monday 1 October 2018

Jersey's Festival of Words

I'm just back home after taking part in Jersey's Festival of Words, a very well-organised literary festival on one of my favourite islands. I was involved with a couple of events - first, a crime writing workshop, and second, a talk. Both took place at Jersey Library in St Helier, where I've spoken a couple of times previously. It's an excellent library, well-designed and with admirable facilities.

Flight times from Manchester meant that I had some free time which enabled me to do some sight-seeing, and take advantage of fantastic sunny weather. I caught a bus to Gorey, a port on the south east tip of the island that I've visited before, and which is quite lovely. Wandering around the harbour, and then Mont Orgeuil, a very well-preserved castle, was a delight. The exhibits inside the castle included the fascinating "Wounded Man" and also "The Dance of Death" installation, and these vivid images set me thinking about possible story ideas...

The crime writing workshop was fun, with a good group of participants who got into their stride quickly with a variety of writing exercises. I've conducted a number of workshops over the years, in an assortment of venues (including a prison and a young offenders' institute, as well as libraries) and find them very interesting. It's something I might well do more often in the future.

The subject of my talk was "The Making of a Crime Novel". I give a range of talks - the most frequently requested over many years being  "My Life of Crime", but this was a new one, and the focus was on how I came to write Gallows Court, and the process of moving from the first idea to publication and marketing. I don't speak from notes (usually) so each talk is a bit different, even if the subject is the same. And "The Making of a Crime Novel" will return in the near future...In the meantime, my thanks go to Judith Baker and her colleagues for inviting me to take part in a splendid festival.

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