New writing festival in Bucks

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.


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7 responses to “New writing festival in Bucks

  1. Gareth Davies

    Thanks for this excellent summing-up, Andrew, and for doing it so promptly. It certainly helps us persuade the wider world to take note of us. We have the determination of Dave Sivers and the other organisers connected to our community library to thank. Can’t wait for a romantic novel or murder mystery to be set in Ivinghoe as a tribute to what we hope will the first literary BeaconLit of many.

    • Hi Gareth,
      Although Ivinghoe itself doesn’t feature, my crime novel The Scars Beneath the Soul is set in Aylesbury Vale, and a future Archer and Baines title might well include Ivinghoe as a crime scene!

  2. apgoodman

    Hi Gareth,
    You’re very lucky to have such a picturesque setting as Ivinghoe to have as a back-drop, so it wouldn’t surprise me. Are you likely to have a longer schedule for next year?

    • Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for the kind review – I’m glad you enjoyed the event. I’m preparing a press release on BeaconLit – are you happy for me to quote from your review there and on the website (and to add a link there)?

  3. Gareth Davies

    Dave Sivers and the organising committee will be looking in detail at the success iof this year’s event and what might happen next year, but speaking personally, it would be wonderful if the festival can be repeated and made bigger. We have the issue of only a limited time slot in the marquee (where the festival had kindly been given space, as you note), which is needed for a big event in the evening, having been used for a full scale ball the night before. But let’s see. People were speaking very positively on Saturday.

    • apgoodman

      I really do hope that you’ll be able to stage another event next year. I wasn’t aware of the time restrictions placed upon you. I realised that you were keen to have the marquee cleared asap after the second panel finished, so I’m guessing that went well. Do you know what the earliest time you might be able to have access on the morning? Even a couple of hours could let you host one more panel.

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