NAWGFest 2016: Report

Here's a report from Pam. There are also some photographs from the event.

Chairman's Report on our Fantastic NAWGFest 2016

Fabulous! Best ever. I've heard so much excitement about this year's festival that I am bursting with pride. I would like to express many, many thanks to all of those who came and made it the event that it was – tutors, speakers, stall-holders, book-sellers and especially the delegates.

From the cream-tea reception on the Friday afternoon, held in the Chancellor's suite at the University of Warwick, to the sad farewells on Sunday afternoon, there was an exuberant buzz of delegates enjoying themselves. I couldn't have been more pleased.

Photo: talk by Joyce Worsfold

Talk by Joyce Worsfold.

On Friday evening after an excellent meal, we were entertained by Joyce Worsfold who told us about her writing experiences and, in particular, her book A Fistful of Marigolds. It tells about the joys and misfortunes of a primary school teacher and includes an hilarious account of what a playground full of children do with a large box of condoms that has appeared from nowhere. This set us off in a jolly mood for the rest of the festival.

On Saturday, we were joined by more delegates, those booked for a shorter weekend. After the first set of workshops, there were the book-selling stalls to explore, an excellent buffet lunch and a talk, followed by the Grand Raffle.

So much was fitted in that we had what we had hoped for – never a dull moment. The talk by Stuart Gibbon was a splendid professional talk about police procedures that writers might need to know about to give authenticity to their stories. It was well received and very much appreciated. Everyone talked enthusiastically about the whole presentation and complimented Stuart.

The pinnacle of the weekend for me was to meet all the winners and shortlisted entrants who had come for the Gala Dinner at a drinks reception just before the Gala Dinner. Thanks to all of you that came; there was a record number of you there to collect your trophies and certificate in person. The energy in the room from all these talented people was great to be part of. All the certificates had been personally signed by our new President, the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, DL, Julian Fellowes, who also sent this letter to apologise for his absence at the Festival.

"Emma and I are extremely sorry not to be with you today. We had both been looking forward to it but things are simply too complicated at the moment for us to be able to get there. We are very disappointed.

We remember our last visit very vividly. We were so impressed by the enthusiasm and energy in the room, not to mention the marvellous ideas that we were hearing about. Writing can be a lonely business, as I know well, and we do not get enough chances – or I don't, anyway – to share our experiences with others in the same boat. There is something very heartening about the realisation that we are not alone. That is what I brought away from Warwick the last time and I am very grateful for it.

So this is to wish you luck with all your endeavours. I look forward to our next meeting.

Yours ever,

Julian."

Message from Emma: "I couldn't be sadder but send you all masses of love."

Photo: talk by Gervase Phinn

Talk by Gervase Phinn.

Gervase Phinn was our after-dinner speaker and he also presented the awards. He spoke in his unique way about The Limits of my Language, his talk taking a light-hearted look at our rich and powerful language.

Professor Gervase Phinn taught for fourteen years before becoming an education adviser and school inspector. He is now a freelance lecturer, broadcaster and writer. His talk was funny and just right for the occasion; my thanks, Gervase, for this memorable part of the Festival.

Gervase has published many articles and books but is probably best known for his best-selling autobiographical novels published by Penguin and set in the Yorkshire Dales, and his Little Village School series of novels published by Hodder. He was available afterwards to sign and sell some of his books, putting an end to a truly amazing dinner. It was then time for delegates to let their hair down and entertain us. Guided by Joyce, we had a very inspiring end to the evening, when delegates displayed their talents in an entertaining session of After-Dinner Sparkles. And, "sparkle" you all did.

Photo: Rootes bar.

Bar in the Rootes building.

Sunday, after an active AGM, we had lunch and another inspirational workshop. Back for more tea and cakes and then it was, quite suddenly over. I was saddened to see all the delegates leave, but delighted to hear the "see you next year" and "that was the best one ever."

Many delegates joined up for next year by paying a £20 deposit, and we are leaving this open for all members to take advantage of until the end of the year. It's quite simple: pay £20 now and it will give you £40 off a full weekend booking for next year.

So, from me to all the 97 of you that I met at the Gala Dinner this year, "See you next Year."

— Pam Fish, September 2016.

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Author: Kevin Machin Date: October 6, 2016 3:58 pm
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