Last Sunday I visited Cheltenham Literary Festival as a birthday gift from my daughter. It was a lovely autumnal sunny day thankfully as there was a lot of queuing outside and going between the two sites; Imperial Square and Montpellier Gardens which fortunately are literally just around the corner from each other.
An added bonus that wasn’t advertised on the festival website is that all our events were doing a signing in the Waterstone’s tent afterwards.
These are the events we attended:
12: 15pm – 1.15pm: Carrie Hope Fletcher
I didn’t catch who Carrie was being interviewed by but she started with her ‘bear story’ reading from her book All I Know Now. Billed as an ‘online big sister’ and currently playing Eponine in Les Mis she came over just as happy and approachable as she does in her videos. She talked about her book and her the new novel she is currently working on.
We queued for half an hour or so with scores of excitable teenagers talking and shouting ten to the dozen about how wonderful she was; some even came out crying. I can’t ever remember being that infatuated with a celebrity.
2:45pm – 3.45pm: Murder Mysteries and Iced Buns with Robin Stevens & Katharine Woodfine
Initially I booked this event as a filler as I needed something to see between the end of Carrie’s event and Jojo’s but it turned out to be quite inspirational (as my daughter bought me an online writing course to learn to write books for children).
Both Robin and Katharine gave us a reading and then went onto give us an insight into where there inspirations for their books lay choosing authors such as Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. But also Katharine was inspired by Selfridges and Robin; being a former pupil of Cheltenham Ladies College naturally set her first novel Murder Most Unladylike in a boarding school.
There were also iced buns at the end but only for the children 😦 booooooo
6:30pm – 7.30pm Jojo Moyes
Jojo was in conversation with Damian Barr and also started with a reading from her new book After You. The reading she chose is when Lou first attends the grief counselling group and it was quite a humerous scene.
She went on to discuss how After You came about as apparently she never originally intended for Me Before You to have a sequel and how selling the rights to the movie and writing the screenplay have changed her life. She came across a such a lovely hardworking person who’s just out to do the best for her family. Of course, we then went on to queue for the signing!
8:30pm – 9.30pm Sue Perkins
Sue was also being interviwed by Damian Barr (he’s very good!) and started with a reading from her new memoir Spectacles; The Cock & The Car story which was quite a hilarious start to her talk. She then went on to discuss how she met Mel, how Bake Off came about and gave us some Great British Bake Off backstage ‘farting’ gossip. We then went off to queue outside for half an hour to meet her at the signing (we actually came out of the building at the same time as Sue & Damian and literally followed them across the green like stalkers!)
Overall it was a fab day out, but be aware Cheltenham is quite expensive for parking, it cost us around £14.00 to park from midday.
We also came across these fab posters which have an entire book printed on them. There were all different ones; Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, 1984 and my favourite, Murder on the Orient Express. They’re called Spineless Classics – take a look here, they’re brilliant!