16/08/14 – #summerised

In #edbookfest, Features, HOME, LITERATURE by Sam Prance

#summerised is a feature in which we divulge on shows and talks we’ve seen this summer: what we liked about them, and what we didn’t.

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet

Carol-Ann-Duffy-Portsmouth-FestivitiesWhat’s it all about? Duffy reads some poetry from her new collection in remembrance of the first world war.
The good Duffy’s snarky comments about the Royal Family.
The not-so-good It’s hard to make a book of poetry about the first world war exciting.
Best quote On her musical accompanist, composer Jon Sampson, who was boisterously enthusiastic about a piece he’d just performed) ‘The Queen gave John to me.’

(For more on Duffy, check out our commentary on her: My Love/Hate Relationship with the Poet Laureate)

Will Self, Novelist, Journalist

Will SelfWhat’s it all about? Self chats on his second modernist novel ‘Shark’ and why he considers the genre still relevant.
The good Self is funny, arrogant in a semi-appealing kind of way and shares a good alchemy with the host Stuart Kelly.
The not-so-good To understand a talk on a modernist novel one is probably best off reading the modernist novel in question first.
Best quote ‘I’m jealous of your thoughts’ (said in conversation with his wife). His wife’s response: ‘That’s the creepiest thing, I’ve ever heard.’

(For more on Self, check out our feature on him: Sam’s Will Self Festival Fail – #wordfromtheyurt)

Theresa Breslin, William Sutcliffe and Moira Young, Authors

Moira Young Launch 6What’s it all about? A dialogue answering the media question of why book prizes are important. Featuring childrens’ bestselling, prize-winning authors Theresa Breslin,William Sutcliffe and Moira Young.
The good Moira Young’s spunky, panache-y energy in a slow-burn topic.
The not-so-good There was half an hour of rather stating the obvious.
Best quote (Theresa Breslin on whether she writes to win specific awards) ‘We all agreed, before this talk, that hereon in the aim is getting shortlisted for the cash prizes. Follow the money!’

(For more on this talk, check out our commentary: ‘Books That Win’, but what and what for?)

Xiaolu Guo, Novelist, Director

GuoXiaoLuWhat’s it all about? Xiaolu can’t really be summarised but suffice to say her talk was about language barriers, political oppression and life in general.
The good Xiaolu herself. An incredible woman, who I was really lucky to have heard speak.
The not-so-good Five minutes of cannon fire from the military Tattoo distracting everyone.
Best quote I was so in awe of her that I forgot to write anything she said down.

(For more on Guo, check out our feature on her: Xiaolu Guo: Writer, Director, Goddess – #introducing)

Tony Parsons, Novelist, Journalist

Tony-Parsons-Autho_2905921bWhat’s it all about? Parsons explains why he’s ditched ‘dick lit’ for crime.
The good Positive vibes about following your heart and doing (writing) what you believe in,even when people (publishers) advise you otherwise.
The not-so-good Too much chat on Julia Roberts (Julia Roberts bought the film rights to one of Parson’s novels. Roberts is cool but Parsons is super cool too).
Best quote ‘If you write a book for money, you don’t tend to make money. If you write a book for love, you tend to make a whole lot of money.’

(For more on Parsons, check out our commentary on him: Tony Parsons – Trading in Dick Lit for Crime)

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