NiddFest team meetings are the hub of democracy. We gather in a sparse room with tea and coffee, go through the planning schedule, discuss where we are at in our respective roles, debate important matters such as what biscuits to give authors at their events, and generally boss each other about until we are all happy and it’s time to collect children from school.
In my role at NiddFest, much of my time is spent managing the authors and author events. This means dealing with publishers, press and pr, not to mention those brave souls who set out to spend months of their lives writing a book which is almost always for love of writing and, given the precarious world of publishing, not for any sensible reason like paying the mortgage, or paying for anything much. The most rewarding aspect of this role is that I get to experience feedback from all of these people, and hear their enthusiasm for our festival.
Over these past months, I have been consistently cheered by the goodwill directed towards NiddFest from authors, agents, publishers, press and other festival directors. Perhaps it’s because we are a new festival, or because of our unique focus on nature (which seems to go down well), or maybe just because they all fell out of bed the right way the day we spoke. Whatever it is, NiddFest seems to attract support unlike any other project I’ve been involved in.
We’ve been getting brilliant responses to q+a interviews from our authors (which will be appearing here shortly) – talking about their lives and how nature is part of their writing. Somehow, the word has gone out among agents and publishers, and we are being offered wonderful authors to appear in next year’s festival. Last week I visited the lovely Rachel Feldberg, director of the Ilkley Literary Festival, who gave up her morning to give a masterclass in festival management. And, out of nowhere, we are starting to get interest from national press. A piece in the Daily Mail listing NiddFest in their top four picks of summer literary festivals, and a forthcoming feature in a big magazine.
But back to the important stuff – biscuits. At Ilkley, Rachel said they go with custard creams. NiddFest, I’m happy to announce, has just received an email from Taylors of Harrogate. I’m afraid we don’t fund events, they wrote, but perhaps we could provide author goody bags? How many authors are coming? Yorkshire goodwill. The best.