First Litfest made of write stuff
BOOK lovers of all ages flocked to the various events of the inaugural Manx Litfest at the weekend.
Organiser John Quirk said: ‘We were really pleased with how the weekend unfolded, and ticket sales for the vast majority of our ticketed events were very good.
‘We’re still finalising numbers, but Ulla Corkill’s talk on Sir Hall Caine at Greeba Castle sold out quickly, and the book quiz night hosted by a wonderful Jasper Fforde had around 100 in the Villa Promenade Suite.
‘There were good turnouts for Martin Bell at the Gaiety, and the three Saturday night events – the Crime Writers’ Panel, performance storyteller Ben Haggarty at the Erin Arts Centre, and for Thommie Gillow and Elizabeth Buchan at Milntown.’
He added: ‘The Gruffalo Hunt at Glen Helen really blew us away. We were only asking for a donation per child to cover the costs of the printing, and we’d anticipated around 150 children – but we think it was at least double that, possibly 400. And the Poetry for Adults was a fantastic way to round things off, a really fun night.’
As well as island writers like Chris Ewan and Trevor Norton, the festival played host to a plethora of visiting talent including best-selling crime writer Stuart MacBride, top children’s author Jeremy Strong and Ann Cleeves, the writer behind the hit TV series Vera.
‘Most of the visiting authors, poets, agents and publishers had never been to the island before,’ explained John, ‘Their reaction was unanimous – it’s a beautiful place to be. They had nothing but praise for The Sefton, where they stayed, and they seemed genuinely happy with how smooth the organisation of the event had been, and how we’d looked after them.
‘That was important to us – if we are to make this a regular event, then we wanted them to talk to their peers and tell them what a great time they’d had.
‘And they seemed to mix really well. Indeed, several of them said that at many festivals they don’t get a chance to chat with the other authors, but they had the time here to mingle outside of the Litfest events, which will hopefully be another factor in them promoting us amongst their fellow writers.’
He concluded: ‘The overall feedback has been fantastic. There are a few areas we need to tighten up, but we’re delighted with how it has been received. The “hub” in the Villa Gardens wasn’t as busy as we would have hoped. What we need to do now is look at the finances once the income generated has been calculated and payments have been made, and then assess how we’ve done and what we want to do for the future.
‘It’s certainly our aim to establish this as an annual event, but we need to review everything first and that will take us time. As a charity, securing funding is absolutely vital, and that will play an important part of the review.’
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west