I phoned a friend of mine the other day because I needed to be excited at them, the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hello! Have you got a few minutes for me to be excited at you?
Him: (Pauses for a millisecond possibly in order to take a breath and actually say something)
Me: Blah blah *excited* blah…
The slightly embarrassing thing is the person I was squawking at is actually involved in the thing I’m excited about, he knew about all the details I was gushing over in excessive detail. He’s a good friend but I suspect he had actually put me on mute before the connection was “lost”.
So what was it that had set me off on such my whirlwind of glee? Stroud Book Festival.
That may not have instilled the same nauseating level of cheerfulness in you as it did me, so let me give a bit more information, trust me - we’ll get there.
For 10 days in November (11th to the 20th to be precise) Stroud is hosting over 60 local authors, illustrators and story-tellers across 40 events. Oh, I see you think “local” probably means that it’ll be a list of the same old (lovely) faces trotting out the same old (brilliant!) stuff, right?
Well yes and no, I mean if you count some of the country’s (world’s?) most influential and exciting literary geniuses as being a bit boring then well perhaps Ian McEwan, Jamila Gavin, Michael Horovitz, Kate Riordan, Murray Lachlan Young, Katie Fforde, Bel Mooney, Sue Limb, Rachel Joyce, Nikki Owen, Jacki Kabler, Alice Jolly, Adam Horovitz, Crispin Thomas, Hassan Akkad, Hannah Shaw, John Dougherty, Tom Percival, Cindy Jefferies, Eugene Lambert, and so many more just isn’t for you…
Oh and “same old stuff”? We’ve got people talking about books and anarchy and genres of fiction and fleeing across Europe to escape oppressive regimes and well, pretty much everything else.
Think it’s going to be expensive? WRONG, the event is supported by some wonderful organisations like Stroud Arts Festival, Stroud Town Council and the District Council too, so ticket prices can be kept super reasonable (they start from as little as £2?!).
So yes, all of this is very very exciting, but what makes it even more perfect is that this is another festival run by a committed group of extraordinarily well-connected experts who are working hard to keep arts and culture alive in this town come what may. And that, is what has made me have the broadest grin.
Oh, so now you’re grumbling that tickets are going to sell out super-fast and you won’t get a chance to see anyone?! Well, potentially yes that could happen, because even though this is months before tickets are selling out fast - its not just me that’s thrilled you see.
The best thing to do is to follow Stroud Book Festival on Facebook facebook.com/stroudbookfestival and Twitter twitter.com/BookStroud and keep an eye on local press. You can also book tickets here subscriptionrooms.org.uk/whatson (more events are being announced over the next few weeks too).
And yes, you are right - that is more than enough festivals in Stroud now.
No one knows what Sarah Phaedre Watson really does, she spends time gallivanting off to Africa to make films, writing for various publications, or passionately supporting community arts and events. She certainly gets about a bit