On the day of the last event that will be taking place later tonight at Drummonds as part of the Worcestershire Literary Festival, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone involved, all the volunteer team/committee, to everyone who took part, read and helped, to all our sponsors, to all the venues for hosting festival events and to all those who ran events as part of the festival.
The Worcestershire Literary Festival 2012 could not have happened this year without the support and commitment of volunteers and organisations who supported us as we are a not for profit/voluntary organisation with hardly any funding at all to speak of. We would have loved to have done more and put on more events (specifically children’s events) but the lack of funding and resources/time meant that we could not do as much as we wanted to do this year.
This year’s festival was challenging for a variety of reasons. This was the year of the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Torch coming through the County, the Euro tournament and Wimbledon. We didn’t have a library in Worcester in which to host some events or book signings (the current library is closed as the stock is being moved into the new library The Hive). The festival took place in the middle of some unprecedented bad weather. The current economic climate means that the general mood of the public is currently on the low side (it is no coincidence that our most popular events involved comedy – people seem to want cheering up at the moment). We had to move our launch event to the Swan Theatre due to costs and the Queen’s visit, and we couldn’t hold our planned Author’s Fayre at the Guildhall due to the Queen’s visit and the decorating that was taking place in the venue for her visit (we couldn’t risk it not being finished in time for June 23rd and letting lots of authors down at short notice).
Despite all these factors and challenges the show must go on as they say and I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to everyone who came to the events we held and supported us, especially on those nights when England were playing in the Euro tournament. We couldn’t have predicted that England would get through to the quarter finals, and we are very grateful for your support. It is vital that the arts continue to be supported in this current climate for their very survival.
Highlights of the festival for me include the launch event at the Swan Theatre when Maggie Doyle was crowned Worcestershire’s Second Poet Laureate, meeting Calum Kerr at Worcester University for our Flash Fiction Event (and big congratulations to Amy Rainbow for winning the WLF’s first ever flash fiction competition), “Fancy A Double” at Malvern Cube (I still laugh when I think about it now), Worcester Sauce at Little Venice, the Parole Parlate Festival Special and “You Can’t Be Serious”.
I will be writing thank you letters and emails to all our sponsors and sponsors in kind this week, and to all those who have helped us, but I want to say a personal thank you to the following:
To Martin Driscoll and Dr Mark Robbins, my two Deputy Directors, for all your hard work, help and passion for the WLF.
To Sylvia Herbert for all your hard work towards the running of the festival and in the festival information point.
To Nick Munro Turner, you have become a really good friend and your blogging and help in the info point and with the festival generally over the last year is really appreciated.
To Geoff Robinson, our Official Photographer, for all the amazing photoshoots you have done for us.
To Polly Robinson, for all your help with the Flash Fiction competition and support of the WLF.
To Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, for running the Flash Fiction competition and making it such a huge success.
To Alan and Tana Durham, to Rod Griffiths and to Jennifer Bogan for helping steward and promote events.
To Suz Winspear for supporting the festival and Parole Parlate so wholeheartedly and for performing at many of our festival events.
To the members of the Worcester Writers’ Circle – I hope we will be able to continue our partnership as the WLF moves forward to 2013.
To Stephen Wilson, the County Arts Officer, for all your help and support of the WLF and for allowing us to run one of the 3 taster day events in The Hive on April 14th, which was a huge highlight for me this year.
To Theo Theobald, Worcestershire’s first ever Poet Laureate, for all you did during your year as Poet Laureate.
To Gary Longden, for your continued support and great reviews on your blog and “Behind The Arras”.
To my partner Russell Peach, for all your help and support since we got together, and for understanding that the festival takes up a lot of my time and resources in June!
If I have missed you out, please let me know so I can add you to this list.
And so we move forward to the WLF in 2013 and beyond. I was debating on whether to step away from it, but the reality is it is in my blood…and so I will be back at the helm, and more fully than I was this year too, from now on. Dates for the 2013 festival will be announced after our wash-up meeting next Tuesday, but provisionally they are June 15th to June 23rd (watch this space for confirmation, as they may alter slightly). Our monthly spoken word event “Parole Parlate” will continue on the first Thursday of every month upstairs in Little Venice, and we are back there on Thursday 5th July 2012, so come and join us! We will be looking towards hopefully doing something for 100,000 Poets For Change, for Children In Need and for Earth Hour, as well as other possible one-off events throughout the year until the 2013 festival. Be: Magazine issue 2 will hopefully be out in September 2012, as I am taking over the role of Managing Editor from Taliah Drayak (it was a huge blow to the magazine and the festival when she moved). We will be launching National Embrace Literature Day on Wednesday 19th June 2012 as part of the festival. And our series of Learn : Eat : Perform workshops will launch again from September, but they won’t just be poetry based – we will be running workshops on novel writing, characterisation, genre writing, scriptwriting and more!
Above all….the WLF is YOUR festival, so please Be: part of it!
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Worcestershire Literary Festival