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Why it must be time for the North Cornwall Book Festival...

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

Autumn brings with it falling leaves, dank mornings and tea-time dusks, but it also heralds the arrival of the wonderful North Cornwall Book Festival...

October’s North Cornwall Book Festival beckons with the same certainty as the slowly gathering carpet of flaming leaves. It is a highlight in my calendar (the book festival, not the leaf raking), a sort of ‘welcome to glorious autumn’ ceremony.

The first one I attended featured the brilliant Damian Barr, an esteemed journalist and novelist whose profile has continued to balloon ever since, and whose CV diversifies every day. He frequently pops up on Radio 4, and hosts the aspirational-sounding Literary Salon at The Savoy, not to mention having spent several years quaffing wines on behalf of The Sunday Times (I would love to know how that gig arose).

Hats off, when not slightly squiffy (I am giving him the benefit of the doubt), he even persuaded BBC Scotland to commission an autumn 2019 series on books - aptly named The Big Scottish Book Club.

“Surely all writers continually bleed their consciousness for sketchy, half-formed recollections, feeding them into their sentences?”

Maggie and me Damian Barr
Damian Barr's Maggie & Me

I digress. I met Damian at the North Cornwall Book Festival (brainchild of one of Cornwall's well known resident authors, Patrick Gale) several years ago, where he took a memoir writing class on the back of his award winning memoir, Maggie & Me (if you haven’t read it, I urge you to). It was a memorable and valuable insight into writing honestly, and learning to access the depths of your vast memory well.

I have not yet written a memoir, but surely all writers continually bleed their consciousness for sketchy, half-formed recollections, feeding them into their sentences, memoir or not?

At the North Cornwall Book Festival 2019 I have reserved my seat to see the excellent David Nicholls, who has the gift of making readers laugh and cry in equal measure, and the celebrated Michael Morpurgo, who has the equally enviable gift of being able to seize the imaginations of children and adults alike.

It will doubtless be wild and blowy in St Endellion — hell, it might even be biblical rain and gale force winds — but it will take more than a draughty marquee and bit of mud to keep me away.

The North Cornwall Book Festival 2019 takes place from October 10-13th. Visit for more details.

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