What I took back from From the Primadonna Festival other than a plastic beaker, a wristband, piles of contacts and a head full of hope.
By Ellen Best.
Changes are afoot in the world of books. Changes especially with writing from the margins.This was an amazing revelation for me. Hearing that there is now some recognition. That the voices that go unheard, not because they are not good enough; because of closed doors, or doors that they do not have a key too now have a chance. Kit De Wall, inspires, and shows us, the ordinary people, that no matter the background … you can be the best. The festival encouraged and gave us onlookers access to people in the industry, that we otherwise we would never have reached. This story, of an Authors selfless act that touched many of us festival goers and particularly me as novice writer, is the one that I will remember.
Kit DE Wall, set up a competition for working class writers, those without the background that afforded degrees or privilege. Out of that opportunity thirty three such burgeoning writers had the privilege of being published in an anthology called ‘Common People.’ Stories and memoirs from the hearts and mouths of the working class. Available in all good leading bookshops.
Only the foresight of Kit, bought about the hundreds of submissions for a place in the book. Would be writers given a chance, given a voice. Many writers inside the ‘Common People’ have been driven forward, careers launched that for years went unheard. The voices of the working class need the same opportunities as those that have access and ability at their fingertips. Working class writers, after all have an authenticity that needs to be documented. She/ kit, in the future hopes to work on a simular idea to encourage rural writers. She hopes to open doors that they often find closed to them. We watch that space with interest and hope she succeeds in the near future.
It was the most sophisticated tenty festival I have been to.
Glorious weather, posh nosh, loos, lots of talks and interactive exercises. Cake, music, craft and comedy, writing and performing. Massages in the woodland, yoga at sunrise, dancing until dark to name but a few of the activities. Oh, in case I forgot to say … there was cake! As they said on the bumpf “the world as it should be for one weekend” Roll on next year I say, it earned a place in my diary.
The books purchased at the festival, the ones I queued to have signed; had accumulated in an environmentally friendly cloth bag in my boot. I took four in at first and placed them gently on the kitchen table. A few minutes later I added another three. That was when I decided that just maybe the rest could wait until I found space in the burgeoning bookcases. It was coincidental that it coincided with a weird look on the husband’s face.
“Are we having a book sale? some sort of fund raiser?” I saw him force his eyebrows together as he opened a few pages. ” Well you can’t sell these, someone has written in them. Not worth a light now.”
*sigh* I left the rest where they were along with the Picasso esque yoga top, beautifully designed, printed on environmentally sourced cotton and sold to me by a wonderful artist who I know will go far. https://www.instagram.com/Amyislesfreeman/
“Have you had as much fun at a festival this summer? I would love to know. answer in the comments I simply love to chat.”
Eric Sinclair - optimist, author, Stroke Association volunteer, occasional chorister - all views my own but fully endorsed by the whippet. "Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional"