So last Saturday (11th June) I was lucky enough to get ticket for Emerald Streets first ever literary festival held at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Books have always been a huge part in my life – I absolutely loved bedtime story time in my house growing up and have fond memories of being read everything from the original 101 Dalmatians to Enid Blyton’s The Wishing Tree (my favourite!). I find books real escapism and an opportunity to take yourself out of everyday life to… well that’s the great thing you can go anywhere! To magical lands, back in time or even into the distant future.
I love so many different genres of books, it is hard to pick a favourite but I love a book that really makes me stop and think, I’m not really for the easy read romances so to speak – although there is totally the time and place for those (usually after I’ve read a couple of heavy books and need some light relief!).
So when tickets came up to go along to the event and hear from some incredible female authors such as Jessie Burton (author of The Miniaturist) and the universally loved Maggie O’Farrell I hit the ‘buy’ button instantly. When buying tickets you were asked to book your places on 3 talks or workshops – so I selected a talk by Jessie Burton, Maggie O’Farrell and a creative ideas workshop. What was disappointing is through the booking process it didn’t highlight to me the workshop time overlapped with one of the theatre sessions – but I didn’t let that get in my way!
Firstly the venue was gorgeous – really light and open with some stunning details which were really well thought out. There was also an outside tent where you could relax and sip on either a free Apperol Sprtiz or a range of alcoholic or soft drinks available at the event. There was also a Waterstones pop up which was great and I left with a couple of great new reads.
On the day itself I attended the talk by Jessie Burton about her new book The Muse (out 30th June) and Maggie O’Farrell. Both talks picked up on the creative process they go through, inspiration and tips they have for aspiring writers. What I found really interesting was the difference in both writers process for writing – Jessie found planning the novel in any detail too overwhelming while Maggie said she was a slave to a post-it note and a great planning session.
What was also super interesting is their differing views on authors feeling obliged or using social media as an outlet for gaining readership or sharing themselves outside of their books. Jessie who is 33 (and has written two books – talk about feeling like you’ve achieved nothing!) is an open user of social media and in fact uses platforms like Pintrest to help your visualise characters and stylistic properties in her books which I love. She also has a wonderful Instagram account (she is also a great bold fashion icon – can you tell I’m fangirling a little?) On the other side, Maggie prefers to let her books speak for themselves and isn’t on social media at all, but it doesn’t and won’t affect her cult status in the publishing world!
I was also lucky enough to have both authors sign their latest books which I can’t wait to get stuck into. If you haven’t read Jessie Burtons ‘The Miniaturist’ please, please read it! It is so different and her writing is historic and descriptive – it remains my favourite read of the past year.
Overall it was a wonderful day I really enjoyed it all and it was incredibly well organised – I really hope it is something they will bring back next year.
Until next time