A few months ago, I was invited to speak on a panel at Cheltenham Literature Festival. It’s hard to imagine that anybody would want to listen to me talk for a minute, let alone go to an hour-long event! The panel was chaired by Nicolette Jones and my fellow panellist was her daughter, Rebecca Clee.
I’ve been looking forward to this for ages but, even now that the event has happened, it feels surreal. I would never have imagined something like this could happen.
Travelling to Cheltenham, I was incredibly nervous. Excited also but mostly nervous! My worry beforehand was that nobody would turn up, and I’ve also been worrying that I’d seize up and wouldn’t say anything at all.
When I arrived, I eventually found the Writer’s Room, where I felt very out of place with some of the big names in the same tent! I felt very spoiled! Then I met up with the amazing Debbie, who made the day ten million times more awesome. I can’t think of a better person to share the day with!
I then got to meet both Nicolette and Rebecca. I’d like to thank them for being so lovely and very easy people to talk to – it made the whole experience brilliant. It’s fantastic when you get to meet people who are passionate about reading and are very happy to talk about books. I think that’s the magic of the festival!
Usually I’m on the other side of the stage watching the event so whilst I’ve been aware of the work that goes into each event, I only knew a fraction of the effort. From stewards to sound people to the people who make sure your festival experience is the absolute best one, everyone tries their hardest to make sure everything runs smoothly.
I had an incredible time and would love to do it again. It’s the best thing in the world to talk about books in front of people who love them just as much as you do, of all ages. We managed to cover lots of different topics, and I hope that everyone who watched enjoyed it and picked up lots of recommendations.
A massive thank you to Cheltenham Literature Festival, Nicolette and Rebecca for making my day extra special.