Festival 2015: Report

Here is a report from Pam and some photographs from the 2015 Open Festival of Writing. You can click on the photos to display larger images.

Eighty-seven happy faces at the gala dinner said it all!

The 20th Annual NAWG Festival – The 2015 Warwick Festival of Writing was once more an epic event which will be remembered for its outstanding workshops, professional tutors and top quality accommodation.

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Lady Emma & Lord Julian Fellowes.

From its splendid beginning, on the Friday afternoon, sipping tea and indulging in jam and cream filled scones, with our special guests Lady Emma and Lord Julian Fellowes, to the sad goodbyes to newly made friends and old acquaintances on Sunday afternoon, the event was electrifying.

I had not been sure of exactly how the tea-time reception would work out, as it was a new venture. But I needn't have worried because our guests Emma and Julian were so warm and gracious that the event sailed along. After a great welcoming speech Julian mingled and sat with many delegates who were eager to talk to him. Emma also engaged in conversation, happy to chat to all around her. It was such a casual and friendly affair. When the time came for their departure, Julian gave another inspiring farewell speech. He outlined his own career, first as an actor and now as an author and creator of Downton Abbey, at present in its sixth season. Enlarging on his writing career we were told of his persistence to get published, then the lovely couple left us with this quote:

"Writing can be a solitary affair and the opportunity that the association (NAWG) offers, of comparing experiences and views is invaluable. We loved being among fellow writers who are climbing the same mountain."

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Tasty buffet lunch.

The Friday evening meal was superb. Everyone was friendly right from the start and new friendships were forged. This was followed by a great talk from Steve Bowkett about his Adventures as a Visiting Author. We were by now well into the spirit of the festival. As you will see on the photograph pages in Link magazine, there were many messages applauding the tutors, and Steve started us off to make everything buzz with his stimulating and humorous talk.

The Gala Dinner on Saturday evening, lived up to its name and was glitzy with fantastic food, prepared by top chefs, all expertly served. It was a truly spectacular event with the evening progressing through the Award Ceremony and on to After Dinner Sparkles. Lynne Hackles gave an inspirational after dinner speech in which she too talked of her persistence in obtaining writing jobs which have led her to a very successful career as a writer.

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A well-earned tea break.

By the time Sunday came, everyone was working hard and enjoying their varied workshops. The tutors might have been flagging but the delegates looked sad that it was soon to be over.

On Sunday morning at the AGM, some quite sobering facts were revealed about NAWG funds which are diminishing, caused by various factors, like increases in postage and committee expenses. We were, a couple of years ago, working very hard to complete all the jobs and desperately needed 'more hands on deck'. Quite suddenly more members came forward to be on the committee, which was wonderful and instrumental in the success of this festival, but this immediately increased cost involved for committee meetings. Even so, after a fairly in depth discussion, your representatives, who attended the meeting, seemed to go away happy that we are doing our best for you and understood our reasons for the increase in membership fees, as explained in the August Link.

So, back to all the splendiferous words about the festival – it really was a good one! Many thanks to all that came, and thanks also to the tutors, for the time and effort they put into helping to make this year's festival, fantastic and not forgetting your stalwart committee. Thanks also to the delegates that came – tell the world how much you enjoyed it and I am now able to tell you that we shall be going back next year. Mark your diary now; join us at the next NAWGFest 2nd—4th September 2016; University of Warwick.

— Pam.

ps. There is still time, before the end of the year, to book a place with a £20 deposit, which will give you a £40 start to the cost of a full weekend in 2016. For full details and how to apply, e-mail treasurer@nawg.co.uk.

Drinks Reception
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Gala Dinner
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After Dinner Sparkles
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Competitions Awards Ceremony

You can also see the competition results.

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There's also a photo album on our facebook page.

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Author: Kevin Machin Date: October 7, 2015 7:55 am
Categories: NAWGFest Tags: photos
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Competition & Mentorships

We are proud to be associated with the Highlands & Islands Short Story Association.