Philip Whiteley's Blog

September 28, 2015

Devon sent

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 4:14 pm

I’ve just spent a weekend at the Appledore Book Festival, so thought I’d pen a quick blog to give my impressions. First of all – and the autumn sunshine helped – this corner of north Devon is astonishingly beautiful: take a trip to the Torridge and Taw estuaries if ever you are able.

The Festival lasts a week, has multiple events at venues in a tiny area of this old Devon town. Obviously, I couldn’t attend all; I decided to prioritize the less famous, more bookish events, including the Sunday morning talk Giving up the Day Job, with three authors relatively new to print: Emylia Hall, Shelley Harris and Vanessa LaFaye. They spoke of how their real-life experiences informed their prose, something I very much approve of; also, at the surprise at the success of their early novels. All had been selected as Richard & Judy selected reads, and were honest enough to discuss the pros and cons of an accolade that can distort the UK market. I selected The Sea Between Us, Jubilee and Summertime respectively by the three authors as paperbacks to buy and get signed.

There were some nice observations by Veronica Henry, chairing the discussion, about how print is coming back into fashion and the enduring appeal of a great story. I asked about the creation of character and I liked Vanessa relating how individuals in her book can develop a mind of their own, and surprise her.

Appledore’s organizers have got a lot of things right; the multi-venue, multi-day arrangement, the mix of celebrity and less-well-known authors, a poet in residence and a mix of genres. I shall put in a bid to appear myself, one year.

For more on the Festival, which takes place in September in each year, go to the home page:

Close of Play publisher’s page:


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