The Guildford Book Festival is an annual autumn event in Guildford. It is something I always look forward to. I am usually spoilt for choice and the programme guide is always eagerly awaited but I have to admit that this year I was disappointed. There did not seem to be the range and breadth of previous years.
The Guildford Book Festival is on both twitter and facebook, but no mention of this in the programme guide. The best I can say of their use of social networking is that it is marginally better than last year, which is not to say a lot, or in other words they have yet to make good use of social networks.
Quite why on twitter they were using the hashtag #fb I do not know when the hashtag they should have been using was #books as at least it would have been appropriate, maybe to be augmented with other hashtags such as #food #recipes #crime etc.
A long slow learning curve when the book festival is only ten days once a year.
Chaos at the Guildford Institute when members turned up for their regular Wednesday afternoon talk only to find they could not get in because it had been hijacked by the book festival. Lessons have not been learnt as exactly the same thing happened last year. I have every sympathy for the Guildford Institute members as they support the Wednesday afternoon talks all year round and without their support these talks would not take place, then get a raw deal during the book festival.
A ruckus was raised at the Guildford Institute AGM on Saturday and hopefully lessons have now been learned.
The Wednesday afternoon event was a talk on the history of dictionaries. Not a subject one would expect to be packed. Maybe it was the tea and sandwiches and cakes. Afterwards they were offered a guided tour of the Guildford Institute library.
I am pleased that an interest was shown in the library as it is one of the best kept secrets in Guildford. I have suggested in the past and I will suggest again, that it holds an open day as part of the Guildford Book Festival programme. People agree, heads are nodded sagely, but it has yet to happen. [see A private library]
Minor gripes to one side, I did find two events to attend, both of which I enjoyed and were well worth attending.
The Amnesty International event is always well worth attending, and this year was no exception, former New Statesman editor John Kampfner talking about the informal pact elites make with their governments, freedom is always for sale so long as the price is not too high. Eight countries are examined in his book Freedom for Sale. John Kampfner is now head of Index on Censorship. Wearing that hat he highlighted the draconian libel laws in the UK, libel laws that are stifling free speech and curbing press freedom. He urged everyone to sign the online petition calling for reform of our antiquated libel laws. I came away with a signed copy of Freedom for Sale. [see Freedom for Sale]
My next event was The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook at the Electric Theatre. But before that I managed to get a signed copy of Purls of Wisdom by Jenny Lord.
The three sisters, Sereena, Alexa and Priya Kaul, were born in Kashmir, then joined their parents in England. From an early age they had cooked. Desiring to write down for family and friends their mother’s recipes the result was The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook. Mouthwatering Kashmir home cooking. Every Indian cook has a spice box. A spice box with 13 spices has been designed to accompany the book. The three sisters held everyone spellbound, mores the pity their session was so poorly attended. I came away with signed copies of The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook, ideal Christmas presents. [see The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook]
No festival can be without its fringe and the Guildford Book Festival is no exception The Guildford Institute is hosting A Sting in the Tale.
Music and the Muse: Music to tally with the writings of local authors Irene Black, Jacquelynn Luben and Jay Margrave. To include tea and cake. 2.30pm – 3.45pm Wednesday 27 October 2010.
Poetry Reading and Open Mic: Local poet Alwyn Marriage and others. Evening Friday 29 October 2010.
Writing workshops: Saturday 30 October 2010.