Shrewsbury Lit Fest

I had a great weekend at the Shrewsbury Lit Fest. The organisers had done a good job on the publicity front, with articles in the Shropshire Star and the Shropshire Magazine. The smart brochure for the festival had me on the same page as Manda Scott, one of my favourite writers, which I felt very excited about! We went to her event and she turned out to be every bit as interesting in person as she is in writing. Both of our events were at the Unitarian Church, where Charles Darwin was a regular worshipper.

Shrewsbury Lit Fest Brochure 2018

I enjoyed talking about Stranger In My Heart, especially as many in the audience were people who’d known Dad. It really strikes a chord with people when I speak about the ‘one sentence legend’ that we have about a parent or grandparent and what they did in the war. The silence of World War participants, especially combatants, seems almost universal. People recognise that the next generation down don’t even have the ‘one sentence legend’ and so will have no reason to enquire into the lives of individuals from the World War generations. My campaign to rescue these stories before they get lost forever is gathering pace as I am now an approved speaker for the WI, following my audition last week. I already have two bookings for next year!

Of course the best thing about the weekend was visiting family and catching up with old friends who’d come to the Festival. Sadly, my mum is no longer able to go to events but I showed her the various press articles about it. In the town Square there was a Peoples Vote stall, with an Emergency Poet in attendance. Love it!

Emergency Poet, Shrewsbury Square

Global Radio & Local Paper

If you missed the radio broadcast about Stranger In My Heart on the Ink & Quill show you can listen now – it’s about 20 minutes long. China Radio International is the world’s second biggest radio broadcaster after the BBC and reaches countries around the globe. At the other end of the media spectrum, we have local paper the Shropshire Star also featuring a story about the book, focusing on the Shropshire connections.

Ming Dynasty bowl with horse

Ming Dynasty bowl, Ashmolean Museum

There has been some discussion with the TV production company in LA about how the book might become a TV series but we haven’t progressed very far yet. The next step is for them to prepare a one page pitch to take to the networks (e.g. Discovery Channel, History Channel etc.) who will then decide whether they want to take it further. Unbound, the publisher, will handle any rights negotiations on my behalf. Phew!

Meanwhile, I have started researching my next book, which will be about my Great Aunt Dora (1892-1982). She was a pioneer of the computing industry, involved in Irish politics during WW1 and supplied computing machines to Bletchley in WW2. Her fiance was killed at Gallipoli in 1915 and I have numerous letters from him and from his father. To my delight I have traced his family and will be meeting them soon to show them these letters. They have some things to show me, including a photo of her from 1923, which I can’t wait to see!