A great afternoon at the Didsbury Arts Festival yesterday. First, down to Pizza Express and a lovely hour with Adele Geras who read to us from her latest adult novel, A Hidden Life, and her new novel for young adults, Dido. It's always great to hear Adele read - she has a great voice, and everyone there was entranced. Then Adele talked to us about getting published, and gave us the clearest account I've ever come across of the developments in publishing over the last ten years or so. All while sipping coffee... lovely.
Then up to Fletcher Moss Park to hear Nick Royle read from his spooky bird stories outside the cafe and the house where the RSPB was founded. On Saturday people congregated on seats round the lawn in Parsonage Gardens to listen to music, some of them bringing little picnics, and it struck me that that was what it must have been like in parks in Victorian times. It really was very nice indeed. And then yesterday, in Fletcher Moss Park, they pulled the benches into a semi-circle and about thirty of us sat there in the open while Nick read and the beech nuts fell off the trees (one fell on my head, just as I was dreading!). Nick wouldn't have seen this, but as he read his story featuring all the different kinds of crows, three members of the crow family, magpies, flew down onto the roof of the house behind, and began stalking around and leaning over the edge of the roof, for all the world as if they were watching and listening (just like the magpies in my new novel!).