Recently we sent out a survey to our 2015 audience, asking for feedback. To our delight, nearly half of you replied and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Suggested tweaks have been noted as have comments to our final question – if you could hear any author at NiddFest 2016, who would it be? I won’t give away names, but I can say that some of the authors are very much on our wish list, and a few have taken us by surprise and resulted in trips to bookshops.
NiddFest is a small festival, and curating it is very much a personal business. We have two simple rules. First, we only invite authors whose books we have read. The list of recommendations seems to grow by the week. As a perk of the job, books from publicists and publishers appear in the post. We read the books and if we love them (our second rule!), we get in touch with the author, hoping that he or she is available and happy to come for a weekend in Upper Nidderdale.
There is a sense of a treasure hunt to compiling the programme. Like any festival, we’d love to find the hit books of 2016 and book their authors quickly before their itineraries get swamped. In this sense, we are in the same boat as publishers. Publishers make any number of predictions about books, putting their money and faith into what they hope will be a hit. Look at the reports from the big book fairs like Frankfurt, London and Bologna – the crazy sums paid for the unknown ‘next best thing’. The truth is that they just don’t know what will be the next ‘The Shepherd’s Life’ or ‘H is for Hawk’. It’s all best guess.
So what will be the hit book of 2016 with ties to nature? There are certainly a few recommended by our 2015 audience that deserve to be successful. And yes, we have read them and have booked at least one already and are waiting on a response from a couple of others. Our very loose prediction is that books with a strong personal story coupled to a unique subject matter seem to do well. There is one book in our line up that fulfils both these things and our best guess is that it could be a huge hit. I won’t risk saying that it is, only that the story is concerned with flight.
Over the coming months we’ll start to unveil our programme. So far it is a combination of household names, a few classics from the past and (we hope) classics of the future. Please do sign up to our mailing list for news and early bird festival offers. And of course, please do email us with recommendations of books that you love which celebrate the natural world. We look forward to seeing you at NiddFest 2016.
With best autumnal wishes from all the team.