I’ve just got back from the small Buckinghamshire village of Ivinghoe and the first BeaconLit festival of books and writing. It’s been a long time in the planning but with the sterling work of the festival committee, volunteers and sponsors the day went ahead without any issues – pelting rain and high-winds notwithstanding, but then again this is the British summertime.
The day consisted of two discussion panels – Murder and Mayhem, and Pain and Passion, along with author tables and practical sessions between panels. The Murder and Mayhem panel consisted of authors S. J. Bolton, Alison Bruce and Elena Forbes and was geared around “the dark world of crime and thrillers”, and the Pain and Passion panel had Kate Lace, Carole Matthews and Sue Moorcroft and geared around “the tearful truth about romantic fiction”. Both sessions were moderated by local author, and event co-organiser, Dave Sivers.
Although this was the inaugural event the organisation was pretty good and, despite the best efforts of the weather, went ahead without any outward signs of hitches. The huge marquee – as loaned by Ivinghoe Entertainments – was more than large enough and allowed the event to go ahead. There was plenty of room to move around between author tables without being cramped and provided a light and airy atmosphere.
One of the most interesting tables was the small publisher Mardibooks, which helps authors get their work into print. Their approach was friendly without being pushy and Belinda (one of the two co-creators of Mardibooks, who I spoke with) came across as very genuine and without any hidden ‘agenda’ like some small publishing outfits. If you’re a writer who would like to get published then they are well worth looking at as an option.
Overall, despite me being one of the handful of men attending, it was a really pleasant event and one which the organisers hope to expand in the years to come.