Sunday, 20 February 2011

Another sort of book day

Another sort of book day entirely - guest blogger literary agent Robert Dudley reports:
‘‘Get Writing’ hosted by the Verulam Writers’ Circle took place yesterday at the Uni of Hertfordshire. Verulam are a writers’ group based in St Albans whose moving spirit is one Jenny Barden, a real force of nature. There were about 190 people there who enjoyed a series of events between 9-6. As it was a foul day and quite a few people had travelled considerable distances to get there this was quite a tribute to Jenny’s organising and inspirational skills. I was asked to talk for ten mins at the start of the day with another agent, John Jarrold and Matt Bates, the chief buyer for WHS Travel on ‘How to Impress Us’. Then there were ‘workshops’ run by visiting authors including Rosy Thornton, Leigh Russell, Toby Frost, Jean Fullerton and others on a range of subjects such as Writing a novel with a foreign setting, Creating compelling lead characters past and present, Bringing storytelling alive through the speech of the characters. This was followed by three very senior publishers, Simon Taylor from Transworld, Marlene Johnson, the children’s publisher at Hachette and Gillian Green from Ebury Press talked about e-books. After (a very delicious) lunch the television presenter Sue Cook presented the ‘Get Writing’ cup to the delegate who submitted the best story for the Get Writing Short Story Competition (who actually wasn't a member of the VMC!) – and talked about her life. Then it was time for the ‘pitches’ – to us agents and the publishers - three minute and five minute – which were over-subscribed with would-be novelists and writers. Finally a number of talks and Q & A sessions by publishers and authors brought the day to an end. I don’t know what they charged (it was £55 - ER)but I would say that unless it was very exorbitant most people would have felt they received exceptional value for money.’

Thanks for a v. interesting post Rob - maybe we should try a writing day here in Moffat? See for details of the Verulam Writers Circle's multifarious activities throughout the year.

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