by Helen Kenwright
I’m feeling a great sense of excitement – and not just our event, but because the Festival is one of the highlights of my year. There are over 350 literary festivals held in the UK each year, and I always look forward to York’s Festival, which takes place from 15th to 26th March at various venues across the City. This year there’s an added sense of excitement for us, as the Writing Tree not only makes its debut at the Festival with the workshop, but also with a spot at the HUB Bookstall on 19th, where we will be officially launching the paperback of ‘Forest‘.
As writers it’s easy to become isolated and invisible, and a festival is a great opportunity to see that we’re not alone, but part of a thriving creative community. For a couple of weeks each spring, I do my utmost to tap into the opportunity to be inspired, to learn and to find new friends in the world of local writers.
The Hay Festival (referred to by The Guardian as “the Glastonbury of literary festivals“) is now regularly televised for its interviews with famous authors. I’m looking forward to York’s headliners, including TV historian Lucy Worsley talking about Jane Austen, local MAN Booker nominated writer Fiona Mozley and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, author of ‘The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain’. But what inspires me even more are the ‘fringe’ events: the workshops, the stand-up poets, the open mic events, the opportunity to hear from the small indie publishers and self-published authors who one might not discover otherwise. I always come away with new ideas, new skills and a refreshed appreciation of how many talented writers there are out there. We may not all have that top spot at Hay in our sights, but we share a love for our craft, for books and writing, and the opportunity to celebrate that each year is precious.
If you can’t join us in York, I hope you have a similar event you can get to in your own locality. Or if not, we will do our best to inspire you here at the Writing Tree all year long!