I was honoured to be asked if I would be Blogger in Residence for the Literally at Newbattle book festival. In it’s debut year it was held over the weekend of the 26th – 27th of April at the stunning Newbattle Abbey College.
On the Friday evening there was a celebration of Scotland in words and song with Jackie Kay and Karine Polwart. I have seen Karine many times and I adore the beautiful Scottish lilt to her singing. My favourite songs were the King of the Birds and Salter’s Road. This was my first experience of Jackie Kay and I really hope it is not my last. Full disclosure, poetry is not always a good fit with me. But I loved Jackie Kay’s, especially Brendon Gallacher and ‘Maw Broon goes for colonic irrigation’
On the Saturday the sun was shining down on the Abbey. Making it even more magical if that is even possible. The location for the festival was sublime, the abbey has a history so deep and powerful. I will most definitely be coming back to learn more about it.
First up for me was a panel chaired by Rebecca McKinney the driving force behind the festival. With Ever Dundas and Ross Sayers two up and coming authors. It was a fantastic hour hearing about their publishing journeys and the inspiration behind their books.
Here they are reading from Goblin and Mary’s the Name.
Next up we had two hours of wonderful crime fiction shenanigans with authors Jackie McLean and Lesley Kelly. Chaired by the enthusiastic and iridescent Jacky Grámosi Collins. I adored this panel and not just because my best friends were part of it. It was in itself brilliant!
We learned about the inspiration behind the books and the publishing journeys that Jackie and Lesley went on. Then we (the audience) were split into groups of three and asked to discuss why we love crime fiction.
The time flew by so fast, I could have sat for hours more.
Here are some readings by Lesley Kelly and Jackie McLean for you to enjoy.
Some snaps in the boardroom and then we took some fun photos using Lesley Kelly’s plague props.
An amazing day, I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend as Blogger in Residence. It was a lovely experience, thank you so much to Rebecca McKinney for asking me to be part of it.
I thoroughly recommend the weekend it is a must for book lovers and it is lovely to support the community and share in our love of books.
Huge thanks to the sponsors of the event.
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