Well, I can’t hope to be as eloquent as Sally Zigmond in her lovely post ‘Being a historical pioneer‘ She described the sense of delicious enjoyment from the high calibre talks, the friendliness of everybody attending, the temptation of book-buying and the happy chats around bar tables. Yes, of course wine was drunk…
The clocks going back gifted us an extra hour on Sunday morning – perfect for enjoying a full English breakfast (minus black pudding in my case) in The Old Swan dining room whose walls were decorated with intricate plasterwork topped by a small-paned glass ceiling.
Plenty of coffee later, delegates reconvened in the ballroom to hear a panel discussion on ‘Before Sherlock – The Novel Art of Detection’ with Andrew Taylor gently grilling Lloyd Shepherd, Joan Lock, Nick Rennison and Robert Ryan. They led us through law and order procedures based on guesswork and prejudice, the emergence of organised police forces and a more scientific, stuctured approach to solving crime as well as touching on fiction v. fact and the early historical mystery writers.
Kate Mosse, wearing her signature platdorm shoes, concluded the featival on an appropriate high. Famous as the creative force behind the Women’s Prize for Fiction, originally named the Orange Prize, she was Interviewed by festival chair, Manda Scott, and didn’t disappoint.
Smiling, obviously enthused about the Languedoc and Sussex countrysides, she talked about the motivation behind the Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel trilogy and introduced her collection odf short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other WinterTales.
Manda Scott finished the festival by thanking speakers, organisers and delegates for making the weekend such a success. Nobody ever sees the hard work behind such events when it goes so smoothly. Hats off to Manda and her team for giving us a magical few days.