LitFest 2015 – An Author’s View

By Anthony Poulton-Smith

My association with the idea of a literary event in Tamworth began a couple of months before the launch on March 7th. Now almost three months later I am unsure if I was invited or whether I gate crashed – it was probably somewhere between the two. Now the proverbial dust has settled is a better time to review the day and, more importantly from my perspective, what has followed.

Tucked away amongst the history in the main room of the Town Hall, it was not always apparent just how much work was going on downstairs and outside. Indeed as I was the first author to speak, it was not until around midday when interviewed by TCR fm that I managed to descend the stairs and saw just how many people were involved.

On behalf of every author may I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of those who gave their time to such a worthwhile cause.

Anthony - Image copyright Stacey Raven
Anthony – Image copyright Stacey Raven

Upstairs I had the opportunity to listen to other authors as they spoke about their work. I took the trouble to talk to each one, listening, learning and offering my own ideas. For those not involved in publishing the written word, it may come as a surprise to learn that authors and even publishers are not involved in a cut-throat fight for supremacy in the best-seller lists.

Of course they want to sell more than the competition but it is not quite the same as, for example, the rivalry between supermarkets. While the blue supermarket aims to destroy the green and the orange versions (and vice versa), thus eliminating the competition, with the written word this would be a big mistake. Authors, generally speaking, encourage fellow authors and potential authors, as success breeds success. More book sales means more books, more authors, more readers, more book shops and more libraries – and so it mushrooms.

For me this was the reason for supporting the idea of a celebration of the written word in Tamworth (and indeed elsewhere). Yes I met old acquaintances, met some new ones, and even sold a few books. While we authors offered thoughts on our own writing to others, I know each and every one of us learned something from those who came and spoke to us in and around the Town Hall and surely this is the real delight in the literary festival and its celebration of the written word. Every single one of us has something to contribute in some way, no matter what that contribution may be.

Not everyone can write, but then writing is hard work (believe me!), it is reading which is the real joy – and even for those who write.

Having read we are as keen to discuss the merits, be they good or bad, of the novel, the text book, the comic, magazine, newspaper article, poem, biography, even menu with our friends and families – just as we would with television programmes. It is this feedback which authors need in order to grow and improve and, for me, this is what Tamworth Town Hall on March 7th was always about.

Since launch day an enormous number of new initiatives and ideas have been brought to the table. In the weeks and months to come we will all have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits and results which have come from listening to the people in and around Tamworth and what they would like to see and hear.

So keep an eye on this website, and in the press, and continue to give feedback on what and who you would like to see. I, and other authors, look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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