Welcome to Elaine Roberts with another in her interesting series about
literary festival and workshops. This
month Elaine interviews Janet Gleeson from the
Dorchester Literary Festival.
to the RNA blog Janet.
Can you tell
us something about your festival, how it came about and how long its been
The Dorchester Literary Festival started three
years ago after a chance conversation with a friend and

fellow writer,
with whom I work on Antiques Roadshow. We wondered why it was that
Dorchester, a county town rich in literary legacy, and the birthplace of Thomas
Hardy, didn’t have a literary festival. We chatted to the manager of the local
Waterstones, to the County Museum, Tourist Information Centre and Library
Service, as well as to local writers such as Tracy Chevalier, Minette Walters
and Julian Fellowes, and decided there would plenty of support so off we went.

Who are your main
speakers this year?
This year we
have around 24 events, with speakers including Tracy Chevalier, Thomasina
Miers, Val McDermid, Henry Blofeld, Fergal Keane, Penny Junor, A N Wilson, Adam
Nicolson, Alastair Sawday, Amanda Craig, Jane Corry, Marianen Kavanagh and
Katie Hickman.
As our blog is for
writers can you tell me how your festival would benefit our members?
The festival
provides a wonderful opportunity for would be writers to hear and meet some of
the nations most successful and creative authors talk about their
books, to discover how they work and how their ideas evolve. Many venues
are relatively small so the events tend to have a very personal and informal
atmosphere, and there is always time to ask questions.
Is there anything to
enter (maybe a writing competition), if so could details be provided?
We are launching a new writing competition at this
year’s festival. More details will be announced nearer the time in our brochure
and on our website www.dorchesterliteraryfestival.com
How about staying over
for the whole event. Where can people stay?
There are
lots of hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation nearby, if you stay for
a few days you will be able to soak up the wonderful Dorset scenery as well as
attend the talks.
What does it cost to
Most adult events cost £10, but there are tempting
discounts for those who spend more than £30.
Do workshops/talks fill
up quickly?
Talks for popular events can sell out quickly although
we do sell tickets on the door if there are any still available.
How much time does it
take to organise the festival?
Almost as
soon as the festival closes we start preparation for next year, contacting
publishers to find

out what will be coming out and deciding who we’d like to
invite. Organisation is time consuming but it is hugely worthwhile to bring so
many great writers to such a great county town.

This year’s festival will take place 18-22 October.

Thank you for taking
the time to talk to visit the RNA blog, Janet and we wish the festival every
About Elaine:

Elaine is a member of the RNA’s New Writers’
Scheme and is currently working on a family saga. She has sold short stories
worldwide and enjoys attending RNA events such as the London chapter and our
annual conference. Elaine is a great fan of writing retreats either week long
by the sea with friends or one-day retreats with fellow writers in her hometown
of Dartford. Elaine runs a writing blog along with writer, Francesca Capaldi
Burgess called WriteMindWritePlace.


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