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Island Life, Word Birds & Process

I could just as easily call this post, ‘Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking’ only it’s been done before &, unexpectedly, I find it’s no longer true.

Yesterday’s event, hosted by the National Women’s Register: NWR, was sandwiched between two trying journeys. Deciding to eschew the motorway in favour of the prettier route, I got hideously lost in Abergavenny. No disrespect, pretty town, but honestly – road signs? Getting lost in Abergavenny was only the beginning. Further on, having mislaid a small but crucial bit of the A48 (which I suspect doesn’t in fact exist), having missed A Vital Exit & finding myself on the motorway heading for London (don’t ask) I then drove for twelve miles trying not to cry. My inner stroppy bitch bullied me into getting a grip & finally I made it to the venue, the très posh Coldra Court Hotel, at reception, doing a passable impression of a red-faced, deranged bag lady.

(The going home bit was via the motorway & all can say about that is, thank goodness & pretty is as pretty does…)

The event was billed as A Celebration of Women’s Writing & my brief was to talk about my writing, road to publication & the story behind the story of Ghostbird. It was almost certainly The Horrid Journey that brought out the Fear again. A smaller than expected audience meant close scrutiny & nowhere to hide. Bring on the butterflies…


And yet…

It was fine. I was fine. I enjoyed myself & to my surprise found the Q & A session, which I had dreaded, easy. These things really are just conversations. Some delightful & gratifying feedback was the icing on the cake. When your reader gets you, it makes everything about the writing worth it.

This public speaking lark isn’t so scary after all. Not as scary as the route through Abergavenny at any rate…


Although I missed the talks by Judith Barrow & Bethan Darwin (sister Honno authors) I did get to hear the redoubtable & feisty Lleucu Seincyn, CEO from Literature Wales. Her passion & determination to make girls visible in literature made me want to punch the air.

And Penny Thomas from Firefly Press & Seren Books gave a fascinating talk on her experiences as a publisher. Firefly is the brainchild of Penny & editor, Janet Thomas. If you are looking for classy books for 8-11 year-olds, look no further!

Special thanks to Natalie Punter, the organiser of the event for her efficiency & kindness. To everyone who attended, contributed & took part, thanks to you too. Without an audience, without readers & book-buyers, writers, literally, are lost.