Why I Love Book Festivals by Sarah Webb

Every year I’m lucky to be invited to lots of book festivals. This festival season I’ll be at Listowel Writers’ Week in Kerry in June which I’m really looking forward to; plus Dalkey Book Festival, also in June; a festival in London in July (details TBC); Kilkenny Arts Festival in August; and Mountains to Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire in September.

I’ve been writing for children for some years now and I’ve found that the children’s events at festivals are just getting better and better. I’m very impressed by the range of events at this year’s Listowel Writers’ Week, there really is something for every child of every age. In a future festival blog I will talk about the session I am doing at the festival for very young children, and why it’s vital to share nursery rhymes with babies and toddlers. But for today I will concentrate on why I love book festivals.

Why I love festivals so much:

1/ Firstly and most importantly I get to meet my young readers. There’s nothing like meeting young readers in person, it’s such a thrill and they are so enthusiastic about books and reading, it really is refreshing.

2/ Making new friends. I still keep in contact with some of the adults I taught writing to at last year’s Writers’ Week – what a lovely bunch of women they were. I hope to meet some of them again this year.

3/ I get to hang out with my writer friends like Roisin Meaney and Oisín McGann. And I love attending readings and hearing other writers talk about their work, it’s fascinating.

4/ I always learn something new at festivals, from fantastic books to read, to how other writers organise their writing lives – are they morning writers or evening writers; do they have any lucky writing charms; paper or laptop etc.

5/ My mind fizzes with new book ideas after book festivals. There’s nothing more inspirational than being surrounded by world class writers. My favourite festival talk ever was one given by Patrick Ness about writing with joy – it was spoken from the heart and very moving. If he’s ever at a festival near you, go! You won’t regret it. He is a truly gifted speaker.

6/ Book people are my people and it’s lovely to be with my tribe. Spending a few days talking books, books and more books, that’s my kind of holiday!

Yours in books,

 Sarah Webb

There will be Cupcakes and Book Fun with Sarah Webb on Sunday, June 3rd at 11.00-12.30 in Lynch’s bakery, The Small Square. Sarah will talk about her latest book for young readers Ask Amy Green: Love and Other Drama-Ramas, and will answer questions about writing and getting published. All young writers are welcome to bring their work to read aloud!

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