Hello everyone! I hope your week has been going well. The third week of treatment came to an end last Friday and it was good not to have to travel to and fro and attend hospital appointments every weekday. Now I can relax and I'm free to plan ahead for the rest of the year and look forward to a holiday as I don't have to go back to see the consultant radiographer until the end of January.
On the last two Saturdays since I last wrote I've managed to get into the city as the literary festival, 'Off the Shelf' has been taking place.
I met my friend and we went to the Readers' Day. It's always held in the upper reception halls of the Town Hall and it's a pleasant venue for the event. The attendees are mostly members of reading groups in the area and the day has become a popular part of the literary festival. This year the meeting was for the afternoon only rather than the whole day, which suited me.
During her Diamond Jubilee Year Queen Victoria visited Sheffield and several celebratory events took place including a ceremony to open the newly-built Town Hall. From her carriage she pressed a remote controlled device which was attached to an electric wire and the golden key that turned the lock of the gates of the main entrance. The gates were then opened by officials concealed behind them. A beautiful white marble bust of Queen Victoria set on a plinth greets the visitors as they ascend the main staircase.
During the afternoon five authors spoke about their latest novel, what influenced the writing of it, how they went about creating the cast of characters, the plot and about their writing in general. A local journalist led the informal discussion with the authors and the audience. Each author also read extracts from their novels and were available for book signing and a chat with readers after each session. Above are two of the authors (from left to right) Cath Staincliffe, Linda Green and the interviewer. The other writers were Jenn Ashworth, Conor O'Callaghan and Eleanor Wasserberg. Janet Ellis was not able to come because of an unexpected personal situation. My friend and I hadn't read any of the novels, but the afternoon was enlightening and enjoyable all the same and as we left we were given a bag with a newly-published hard back novel, which was a bonus. Everyone had a different novel so I shall do a book swap with my friend.
Since then I've reserved several of the books from the library and have just read While My Eyes Were Closed. I read it very quickly, not because I wanted to know how the plot unfolded, but because it was rather predictable. I thought that despite some twists and disclosures the ending could have been extended whilst other parts of the book cut out. I also found the excessive bad language used in the dialogue of one character, which seems to be included in most contemporary novels these days, a turn off. I think it was supposed to highlight the contrast between the attitude and speech of the other main woman character. Nevertheless hearing what the author had to say at the meeting was interesting, especially as she talked about an incident in her own life that had triggered off the inspiration for the book. She showed us her story board that she had used when planning the novel and also the green and white striped dress with the pink flower on the front that she had bought from a designer clothes company which is described in the book as the one that the little girl was wearing when she went missing. When she held it up to show us it was obvious that this tangible object had helped her to connect emotionally to the character she had been writing about. Meeting an author and hearing about the craft of writing and details of his/her life is a fascinating experience even if one has reservations about a book.
Wishing you a good day and looking forward to catching up with you soon.