Tuesday 20 April 2010

Scarborough Literature Festival: A Pictorial Report

The Fourth Scarborough Literature Festival continued the fine tradition of bringing together an excellent selection of authors of varied styles and genres. The weather was varied too!

Here's a pictorial report of a very enjoyable week.

The opening guest was Gervase Phinn. His session was a sell-out and a packed hall enjoyed his witty talk, nostalgia and jokes. It was an excellent start to the Festival.

Next up was David Nobbs. He wrote the Reggie Perrin books and TV series and has worked with a whole host of comedy giants, including the Two Ronnies, Les Dawson, Frankie Howerd and Leonard Rossiter.

He is a genuinely witty man and his talk saw another packed hall and a very appreciative audience.

I asked him who he thought was the most naturally funny person he'd ever met. After a little think, he said, 'Peter Cook'.

Philippa Gregory was the first guest of the second day and her talk sold out too. As an historical novelist, she was able to shed light on various research methods and the importance of checking things for oneself.

Linsey Davis and Dr. Paul Doherty are also historical novelists and they both feature detectives in their stories.

They were interviewed by Peter Guttridge, who did a very good job throughout his time at the Festival.

Jacqueline Yallop continued the historical theme of the second day. She has a book in the pipeline all about Victorian collectors.

Amnesty International presented an interesting talk in the evening.

Iranian writer Rouhi Shafii shed a lot of light on the life and times of writers in her home country. Informative and disturbing.

The night time lecture was by Dame Stella Rimmington, the former Director General of MI5 turned thriller writer. It was yet another sell-out.

Apparently, 'Spooks' is not a very accurate portrayal of life in MI5.

The third day started with a pairing of Kathy Lette and Adele Parks.

I found this session to be a little adrift from my taste. Rather too many anti-men jokes made it a somewhat repetitive hour.

Tom Holt and Adam Roberts were more to my liking. They are to be found somewhere in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, pastiche and quirky humour.

Dr. Michael Leach was a terrific speaker. He told us all about the ticks of the trade for a wildlife photographer. Not all what you see on the page and screen is quite what it seems!

He was so enthusiastic and interesting that the session ran over the allotted time by 30 minutes. Definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.

Crime writer Robert Goddard brought the Saturday to a close. He was another very informative and interesting guest.

Unfortunately I couldn't make the Sunday sessions, so I missed the History of the Beano amongst other things.

There was also a very interesting set of 'Dark Art' pieces on display during the Festival. They were created by 'Sarahphotogirl' and some of them can be seen here:

...and here:

I enjoyed the Literature Festival very much and I hope there will be another one next year. It provided an oasis of entertainment and inspiration and has given me plenty to think about.


Anonymous said...

Any books you would recommend from this batch of speakers?

Sean Marsh said...

I restrained myself and bought only two books at the festival this year (both by David Nobbs).

Methinks the two authors most suited to you would probably be Tom Holt and Andrew Roberts, but I haven't read either of them.