I was visiting a friend of mine, Meg Reid, last year for coffee and a catch up as we had not seen each other for some time and she mentioned that after moving to Felixstowe she had mooted the idea of a book festival. This suggestion was greeted with great enthusiasm and, before she knew it, she became the founder and director of the first Felixstowe Book Festival. Absolutely thrilled and delighted to hear about such a wonderful venture I asked if I could help in any way, my offer accepted immediately and, before I knew it, there I was agreeing to give a talk about this blog, Random Jottings. The idea of moi talking at a Book Festival is All Too Much to Bear and one I would never have contemplated in a million years. Simon of Stuck in a Book has recently agreed to join me for this session and this has really made my day as, in one fell swoop, I have shared the responsibility of our talk, those attending will have much more fun and, most importantly of all, I will not be so nervous if Simon is there....
The authors gathered are an eclectic, interesting bunch and I am most grateful to those I contacted who agreed immediately to attend and incredibly grateful that nearly all are asking for expenses only. This is the first year for Felixstowe and, obviously, it is vital that we cover our costs and make a success of it so that it can become an annual event. Therefore, authors who are so kind and generous are loved by us all. I know there are book festivals that expect authors to be delighted to be asked and appear for the prestige, but we cannot offer that in this fledgling enterprise - we are not the Hay Festival (yet!) so to give up their precious time for an untested and new venture is wonderful and all involved are really grateful for their support.
Many of the authors appearing, have been reviewed here on Random Jottings - Rosy Thornton, Helen Rappaport, Guy Fraser-Sampson, Ruth Dugdale, Linda Gillard, Martin Edwards and Adele Geras and I am currently reading the works of the others so that when I have the pleasure of meeting them, I can make coherent conversation. It is a labour of love I can assure you.
Meg Reid, the director, fills me with admiration with the amount of work she takes on, not only in her own sphere (she is a Life Coach) but her seeming endless capacity for organisation and her imaginative structure for the Festival as a whole, is quite breathtaking. Meg used to run a theatre company and I would imagine if you have done that, a Book Festival is well within your capacity.
Finance and Sponsors are in place, but we could always do with more assistance and support. We have already had so much help from the owners of the Festival venues who have offered us meeting rooms free of charge and have been so supportive, and local firms are doing their bit BUT while I am writing about the Festival on Random, I am taking the opportunity of asking if there is anybody out there who would care to support the FBF in any financial capacity via sponsorship or a donation to help us to make sure we have a viable and successful event.
Please check out the Help Us section on the Festival's website at http://www.felixstowebookfestival.co.uk/ and see the levels of sponsorship available and, even if you feel you cannot be a sponsor, then perhaps you could help out by being a volunteer and give a hand with meeting and greeting and helping at events? Any offers of either help will be greeted with cries of joy and you will be most welcome.
We also have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FelixstoweBookFest?ref=hl so I would be delighted if you would visit that and Like us - the more the merrier and I will be posting on that as and when further information comes up. No self respecting Festival can get away with not having a Twitter account these days and we can be found there https://twitter.com/felixstowebook We need to build up our followers here as much as possible so, once again, if you have a Twitter account and could follow us and let your followers know all about this event, Random will call down blessings on your head.
OK that is enough pleading from me for one day, but I Shall Return at a later date. SO excited about this wonderful new venture which really deserves to be a success so that we can return in 2014. I thank you all in advance for your interest.
I must just finish by saying that Felixstowe is a rather charming little seaside town with a friendly atmosphere and is also home to two wonderful second hand bookshops. Go on you know you want to visit.....