The 2012 Borders Book Festival is now over as the sun finally comes out. It all started for me on Friday night with William Boyd. He was excellent fascinating to learn that he starts a book by deciding on the ending then works out how to get there. It was also interesting to learn he has a city fascination to date Los Angeles and London have featured. With Vienna centre stage in the latest book. We also learnt that he has been asked to write a new James Bond book by the Fleming family which will be set in 1969 and will be out next year.
Saturday in pouring rain I decided at the last-minute to go to the Sir Walter Scott prize. Really enjoyed it as I had read the majority of the books. Although I was surprised that Sebastian Barry won assuming that it would be Pure by Andrew Miller. I was really pleased as I though it was an excellent book. Though I did enjoy Andrew Miller as well. For me my overall favourite was the Sister Brothers. But I was pleased for Sebastian Barry though rather gutted that I left my copy of his book on my sofa so couldn’t get it signed by the 2012 Sir Walter Scott prize winner!
My husband and I were back at the Festival on the saturday night for a corporate reception and to see Rory Bremner, Kirsty Wark and James Naughtie! Very funny and I was also amused that they spent quite a lot of the session discussing Hitler and the second world war! William Boyd did say we have a fascination in the UK with the two world wars and this was no exception.
Sunday morning it was still raining and there was a huge temptation to sit at home for an extra hour and read the papers and miss the session with Vivian French. I am so glad though that I didn’t as it was a marvelous session particularly for my daughter. My daughter is quite shy yet before I knew it her hand was up answering questions and before I knew it she was up on the stage helping create a new character for Vivian’s new book. It was great to see.
Then came the session I was dreading. Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon. My son loves these books as much as I dislike them. He has been looking forward to the session since the programme first came out. And for him I went. It was actually great Francesca was hilarious with perhaps the curliest hair I have ever seen. She did though give some great insights into her books and how she puts them together and the look on my son’s face was worth it. And I was highly amused that there is a character called Fiery Fiona remind you of anyone?
We had a short breather which gave us time to enjoy a Langshaw ice – cream before we went to see Barry Hutchison talking about his new book the 13th Horseman. As this was billed as 9 plus I was slightly worried that my son might have been a bit bored! No need to worry Barry is quite the most hilarious person I have heard in a long time. We all roared with laughter and my daughter told me that I had not laughed like that for ages! So we bought the book and I’m looking forward to some more laugh out moments as my daughter and I read it over the summer.
My family left at this point. And I had two sessions to go. The first was new fiction writers. I had read all three and particularly enjoyed tell the Wolves I’m home which is about a 14-year-old girl whose favourite Uncle has just died of aids. She discovers he had a partner and the story is about her secret friendship with him. And the impact that has on her family. It is a great read and makes you realise how big Aids was in the 1980’s and the fears that people had at the time of people with HIV. As well as showing about families and how we deal with one another. It was a really interesting session and great to meet these writers in person.
By my final session I was very tired! But for me it was the best. This was Patrick Gale whose book a Perfectly Good Man I loved. Sally Magnusson interviewed him and he was very forthcoming about how he writes and focuses on characters and new ideas and projects he has for the future. Including writing a series for BBC2 which will be out probably in 2012. I took copious notes and really loved him as he was so enthusiastic about what he did and how he went about putting his novels together.
It was a great session to finish with. It was a very wet Book Festival the rain hardy stopped. But it was a feast of fiction literature and I really enjoyed it for that. In life much changes but for me my love of reading particularly fiction has never left me. I love being engrossed in a novel and its characters and being taken away to another time and place. Book Festivals allow you to discover new authors but more importantly learn more about their craft and how to write. Not just me but my kids too who now have a great insight now how books are put together.
But its all over now. Well not quite we all have a rather large pile of books to read as a result which will keep us busy. So please no more rain can we order sun so we can sit in the garden and read tthem?