Monday, June 29, 2009

Lowdham Book Festival 2009 - a general review

For the fourth year in a row, Neil and I have headed out to the ancestral village (well, my ancestral village) for the Lowdham book festival - celebrating its tenth anniversary.

(see links for Lowdham 2006, 2007 and 2008)

This year we ran into friends of Neil's (Nick, Wendy, Freddie plus inherited dog Ben) and were briefly able to touch base with new-ish Nottingham arrivals Kris and Dan. It may be a small village, but come festival time it's easy to lose track of people. There is the church (cruelly cut away from the village), some typical old village buildings (some I recognise from photographs from my great grandmother's time), the lovely walk from the cricket field to the village hall along the 'river' (hard to believe the tiny stream that we saw on Saturday had drowned the cricket field and left the village requiring piles of sandbags in 2007), the sweet little independent bookshop PLUS all the festival events and stalls, and a cricket match to boot.

Anyway, I had two key things I wanted to accomplish at the festival this year: one was to do my usual catch up with Creme de la Crime for my annual fix of crime fiction (and yay - a new Maureen Carter book!) and the other was to hear Karen Maitland speaking about her new novel The Owl Killers.

You can guess that a couple of bags jammed full of books followed me and Neil home can't you...?!

The following is just my list (Neil bought up another 11 items, including a rather gorgeous 1889 leather bound volume on Cricket by Steel and Lyttleton)
  • These are the times: a life of Thomas Paine - screenplay by Trevor Griffiths (due to be staged at the Globe later this summer)
  • Candlestick Press - Ten Poems About Love (an anniversary gift for two friends who will celebrate their 1st wedding anniversary soon)
  • Six Creme de la Crime books
  • Maureen Carter - Blood Money 
  • Roz Southey - Secret Lament 
  • Criminal Tendencies - Great Stories from Great Crime Writers (a Creme de la Crime collection raising money in aid of breast cancer helplines)
  • These purchases got me some bargain bonuses from the back catalogue: David Harrison (Sins of the Fathers); Gordon Ferris (Truth Dare Kill); and Penny Deacon (A Kind of Puritan)
  • Karen Maitland - The Owl Killers (there was a moment of panic when I thought I may not be able to buy this!)
  • John Russell - Shakespeare's Country (a very nice Batsford Press 2nd edition with a beautiful cover)
Creme de la Crime were as ever delighted to see me and I was happy to do my bit advising passers-by of the delights of their products (that passing older lady may not like crime fiction, but she'd be crazy to pass over the works of Roz Southey if she likes historical fiction).

In addition to the Karen Maitland event (of which more separately with a review of the book), we also popped along to hear Matthew Beresford talk about vampires in connection with his book From Demons to Dracula.  This was really a quite indulgent item to take in, since I suspect I've read most of the sources he cited and discussed.  Still, it acted as a nice reassurance to ascertain my own knowledge and I may well get the book and check out the website further with my completist hat on (I felt I had to call time on purchases once we hit his session anyway!)

All in all, as ever, Lowdham was thoroughly enjoyable and whatever form it takes in future we hope to stay in touch with its activities.

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