Summer Memories

The Spellbinding Secret of Avery Buckle in Aberfeldy bookshop by Hannah Foley. All rights reserved (www.hannah-foley.co.uk)

Here’s a few memories from the summer to share… 

I met up with a couple of friends at the book festival in Edinburgh. It was lovely to get together and chat books, art and writing to our hearts’ content. The festival was a quieter affair this year though, located at the Art College rather than it’s usual home at Charlotte Square, due to the pandemic. Though I missed the bustle there was a lot to be said for the peaceful atmosphere. In the quad a big screen broadcast some of the events. Sitting around the Art College Green on benches and seats, was like sitting in a collective ‘front room’, and there was something very companionable about it. I liked it a lot. I caught most of Salmon Rushdie’s event and found it fascinating. He’s such an interesting man. I especially enjoyed his perspective on ‘Western’ literature, and the way his Indian story-telling heritage has influenced his work. Recently, I have felt constrained in my own writing, restricted to what people are going to be able to understand, which can feel a very narrow frame of reference in these risk averse times. He heartened me considerably, especially by pointing out that, though it’s not very fashionable in the West, fiction is supposed to be fiction, and the current mode of writing observationally is relatively new.

There was sadness about attending the festival too though. In other circumstances I might have been running an event there, promoting The Spellbinding Secret of Avery Buckle. Who knows? It’s best to be philosophical about it. But there has been a sense for me, without the feedback from events and school visits, of my book disappearing into a black hole. Is anyone actually reading it? So it was lovely to see a copy on display at the Aberfeldy Watermill Bookshop. The booksellers were lovely to chat with. If you happen to be up that way I’d recommend a visit – such a well-stocked and pleasant bookshop – little nooks and crannies brim-full of book-sized treats. Plus, there is a rather wonderful café, which does delicious scones… and coming from a Devonshire dumpling, that’s a serious recommendation!

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