It's not just a book thing!
I kicked off yesterday by going to see the Nordic crime writers at the Town Church. Lene Kaaberbøl, Anders Ronnow Klarlund and Jacob Weinreich were interviewed by Gary Burgess, who did a great job despite some technical issues with the microphones. Lene writes her crime novels with Agnete Friis, while Anders and Jacob are known collectively as the Kazinsky writers. After talking about the challenges of writing a book with someone else, they focused more on the appeal of Scandinavian crime novels and TV dramas. An interesting fact: when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came out in Sweden, its title translated as ‘Men Who Hate Women’. Since Scandinavian men are not a misogynistic bunch, this provocative title immediately caught everyone’s attention. Lene advised would-be writers that every scene in a book has to move the story forward, and Anders compared novelists to whale hunters, who have to hook their readers right from the start.
Kate Adie exuded gravitas, but in a really friendly and appealing way. Her talk was about the role of women on the Home Front during the First World War, and was full of fascinating information, delivered without notes and in a way that would put most history teachers to shame. The tiny little revolutions that took place everywhere were disturbing to many, and women were frequently put in great danger in the workplace simply due to the fact that their long skirts, petticoats and corsets were totally impractical. In summary, Kate said that women proved they could do so much more than they had been thought capable of, but are still trying to convince some people that they should. The question-and-answer session was brilliant, and could easily have gone on for much longer, but the Southbank Sinfonia was ready to perform.
The dinner at the OGH is always a highlight of the LitFest and Evelyne and Pauline did a fantastic job of dressing the venue with a Time Travel theme. Gary Burgess was an excellent host and Neil Perryman entertained us all with his tales of growing up with Doctor Who in the 1970s. I was lucky to be on the same table as Nic de Lisle, who was our team captain in a sci-fi quiz and single-handedly won a hamper and pile of books for us all. Thanks Nic! There was lots of time-travel fancy dress around; my friend Joni and I went for a steam-punk look. A perfect end to a lovely literary day.