Award winners Matt Greene and Mave Fellowes at Marlborough Literature Festival

29 Sep

I don’t know how anyone else chooses literature festival events to attend but I go to find out new authors, not necessarily to sit there starry-eyed over writers I already like.

Mave Fellows and Matt Greene are two new writers who’ve had the heady experience of winning a literary award.

Being eighty per cent through my own novel (it’s taken me about three years to get there), I was also interested in their experience of being a novice author.

For both writers, this is the first novel they wrote. Hurray! It is possible to find success with your first one. Matt wrote his in eight months (boo) whilst Mave took a couple of years.

Neither writer has any first hand experience in their subject matter – lots of Google-based research plus books from Granny for Mave. Both authors’ characters are only children (although both authors have siblings) who have ‘concentrated personalities and form extraordinary friendships’ and ‘their parents invest a lot into one child’. As an only child myself, I would say, hmmm.

Both authors read extracts of their books: Ostrich (Matt) and Chaplin & Company (Mave). Matt’s reading made me laugh, especially the use of violent console game Grand Theft Auto to test the reaction of the parents of the book’s twelve year old character, Alex. Chaplin & Company was let down by Mave’s rather flat delivery, so I’ll have to take the Betty Trask Award judges’ word that it’s worth reading.

Mave and Matt were at the Marlborough Literature Festival, Saturday 27 September. The Betty Trask Prize is for first novels written by authors under the age of thirty-five in a romantic or traditional, but not experimental, style.

Written by Louisa Davison

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