In a blur of Street Bandits, dance bands, and street poetry, the 10th Frome Festival has stage-dived into town and is scorching its way through the week, with the sunshine as support act. On Saturday, Gordon's Soap-Box Poets event offered timely words on every hour to entertain the passers-by on Cheap Street (thanks Roger Hyman for the pic) while Writers In Residence penned their competition entries in shop windows.
Then on Sunday the excellent Writers and Publishers Day, organised by Bev Jones - who also organised our souvenir bags which I suppose makes her a kind of literary bag-lady - also included the Short Story Contest Results event for which my friend Kate Harrison was senior judge. Kate seems an unlikely senior but she gave a very good talk crammed with useful tips like "The shelf life of a new book is longer than milk but shorter than yoghurt – but hey, you can wear your negligee to work!” and I was delighted for the chance of a catch-up to hear about her new life in Barcelona.... lucky Kate, and if that's not enough she has a new contract too for a trilogy of YA books which sound like they'll march right off the shelves. Alison Clink, the driving force behind the Short Story Competition, gave an entertaining breakdown of the principle topics in this year's record (555) entry: "Violent murders – a lot of simmering bitterness ending in graphic decapitation. Ghosts and Care Homes were definitely in, this year, too, sometimes combined.”
And then we all had lunch in the Black Swan garden.
It was impossible to get to all the talks, but I made it into Life Coach Annie Lionnet's inspirational talk on writing a self-development book.
Sunday evening was the long-awaited opening of Frome's new Pub Theatre, Upstairs at the Lamb, with a production of St Nicholas by Conor McPherson, performed by Matt Ward, and brought to Frome by Nevertheless Productions - the inspired instinct of Rosie Finnegan, Frome's own Supergirl, who I am thrilled to be working with on this project. Phew. Exhausted and it's only Monday...