Tag Archives: author

Are you there?

10 May

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Are you there? Good.

So I went to Alex Horne’s Word Watching at the Swindon Festival of Literature last night, a tad concerned it might be a bit Radio 4, you know, cosy in a Louis Theroux sort of way. And yes, I guess it was. No agit-comic Mark Thomas-style clashes with authority or Frankie Boyle controversy for Alex.

That’s not to say he didn’t get some sound tellings-off. During his quest to get an Alex-original (or rather: re-appropriated) word into the Oxford English dictionary he was nearly banned from Wikipedia for repeatedly changing Natasha Kaplinski’s entry to describe her height as 6’2” tall and removing all references to ‘hands’ and replacing them with new word ‘paddles’. And his knuckles were virtually rapped via email by Only Connect presenter Victoria Coren for being responsible for a deluge of emails to the BBC which insisted that ‘honk’ is a bona fide word for ‘cash’. Continue reading

From shattered lives to school wars

9 May

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“Jung and Freud would have rewritten their books if they’d been to Peckham,” said Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company and author of Shattered Lives: Children Who Live with Courage and Dignity, speaking at the Swindon Festival of Literature this evening.

I sat within a near capacity crowd, and listened to this lady, dressed in what looked like a flower garden, in total awe. Not just because she’d worked with the most troubled children but because she was smiling; genuinely smiling. Continue reading

Inspired by running and bones

7 May

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Later today after the Dawn Chorus…

In a bonus to the stories enjoyed in a brisk walk around Lydiard Park grounds (lucky old Swindon with this on its doorstep) with international storyteller Rachel Rose Reid, ponies and their cute foals were close up to the fence by the path.

Rachel Rose followed two stories of love with a ‘Just So’ inspired tale of an elephant that ate its own eyes. She made us do the suction sounds as the eyes popped out. I’ve still not recovered. Continue reading

On Running

1 May
Naomi Benaron

Naomi Benaron

The only time I run is for the bus or the train.

I’m not saying I’m proud of this fact. And I’m getting to that scary age where running without some kind of stretching warm up is positively bad for my health. A long way, in fact, from the time where simply walking was just impossible. My five year old gives me this uncomprehending look when I tell him to walk (like when crossing the road), you know – that’s a run. Nope, that’s a skip. A walk is when one foot is still on the ground when the other one leaves it. Slow. Not fast. Still blank look. You know, like mum and dad. Oh – boring!

I’m also not a fan of watching sport. Maybe a bit of tennis. Perhaps even snooker though to be honest I’m not even watching the current world championships. (Whenever I watch it, Ronnie O’Sullivan loses. So I stopped. And he wins).

So when Swindon Festival of Literature director Matt asked me to chronicle the running event on the opening day (Monday 7 May) it was, at first, a dutiful ‘yes’ in response.

Then when he told me about the people taking part and their interesting stories, I was hooked. Continue reading

We are the Official Chronicle for the Swindon Festival of Literature, yay!

20 Apr
Swindon Festival of Literature launch. Photo by Festival Chronicler

Swindon Festival of Literature launch. Photo by Festival Chronicler

So I’ve just agreed to do this crazy thing.

Report on twenty-nine literature events in twelve days.

That’s twenty-nine sparklingly written accounts, plus any other back stage gossip and thoughts and feelings I can find, complete with illustrative photos, on this year’s Swindon Festival of Literature as the *trumpets herald* first ever Official Festival Chronicler. Continue reading