The first Stoke-on-Trent literary festival is underway with an exciting line-up of writers including Melvyn Bragg, Joanna Trollope, Andy McNab and David Starkey.
Yesterday kicked off with the results of the first short story competition, an excellent writers’ workshop (which there’ll be more of later) and talks from Mr McNab and Matthew Parris.
I was delighted to be shortlisted in the first short story competition (my entry was called Buried) and I received my runner-up prize from Andy McNab.
Sadly there are no photos allowed of Mr McNab for security reasons and his eyes were keenly scanning the marquee as he presented the prizes.
(No, he didn’t crush my bones in a handshake, but he doesn’t have to, does he?)
Congratulations to Jane Terry from Forsbrook for her excellent winning story ‘Leftover’ and fellow runner-up Martyn Barlow from Newcastle with ‘Finding David.’
All the children’s and adults’ entries can be read on the Sentinel website here.
I’ll write more later but I’m about to head back up the A34 for the crime writing discussion featuring Stoke writer Mel Sherratt.
It was great to meet Mel finally and I look forward to hearing from her today.
The weather was sunny, the atmosphere and company great and there was a great deal of interesting discussion.
This is very much the beginning for Stoke’s Hot Air festival but the enthusiasm and drive that has gone into this event will hopefully take it far.
Emma Bridgewater (who hosted the event at her Hanley pottery – check out the wonderful mug alongside this piece) has worked very hard along with her husband Matthew Rice.
If you haven’t visited the factory it’s worth doing so and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Stoke’s MP Tristram Hunt is heavily involved with the festival as is the Sentinel editor Richard Bowyer. It was great to hear Richard’s passion for the Potteries and a desire shared by all to improve literacy.