Generally I like to post something at least once a week, but I'm a bit late this time around. June's being a busy month. Apart from giving a talk to a full house at Borrowash library at the very beginning of June as part of Derbyshire Literature festival, I' was away all last weekend at the Southern Writers' Conference on the Earnley Concourse just outside Chichester. I was invited to speak on Sunday as part of their programme, but thought I might as well go along for the entire Friday to Sunday agenda.
What a wonderful place - of course I forgot my camera. However, here's the url to their website. http://www.southernwriters.co.uk/
The weather was glorious which was a bonus. I arrived Friday afternoon to be greeted by tea and home made raspberry ripple cake (yum). My en suite room was very comfortable with windows opening onto a lawned garden. The grounds were populated by a variety of wildlife including some spectacular peacocks. One of my abiding memories of the conference will be opening my bedroom window on Sunday morning to watch a peacock displaying his fan and shimmying his stunning irridescent feathers. What a treat. Earnley is 15 minutes walk from the beach with a distant view of the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth. The weather being so wonderful, I went paddling on Saturday afternoon. The wind was warm and the sea was blue - heaven!
The food and service were excellent, and the workshops and the speakers educational and entertaining. Sandy Toksvig is just brilliant. My other fellow speakers, Peter Lovesey and Penny Jordan were both charming, interesting and had plenty to say that made good sense and gave the delegates food for thought.
If anyone's looking for a three day writing break with fabulous food, comfortable and beautiful surroundings, not to mention a fabulous indoor swimming pool, they couldn't do better than attend the Southern Writers' Conference. It's not just for writers from the South of England, but you need to book early. This year there was a waiting list and places are always snapped up the moment the committee starts taking bookings.
Meanwhile, historical fiction wise, I have embarked on The Agony and the Ecstacy by Irving Stone for a reading group project. So far I'm loving it, but it's going to be a long haul!