Westgate Literary Festival – from Julie Wassmer

Crime author Julie Wassmer on taking part in Westgate’s new festival 

Being an author isn’t just about writing books – it’s about meeting readers and listening to what they have to say. 

Book festivals offer an opportunity to do that, so I was thrilled when Dr Gina May invited me to take part in the very first Westgate Literary Festival which took place on the weekend of the 14th and 15th September with a full programme of authors and speakers staged at venues in this lovely seaside town.

Gina’s aim, “to celebrate literature for all, while embracing established and new authors writing for all age groups”, comprised talks, workshops and competitions, and provided something for everyone across the genres: Non-fiction, Crime, Romance, Mystery, Science fiction and Fantasy, Children’s Fiction, ePublishing and Autobiographical Writing.

My own crime novels, The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries, feature restaurateur and private detective, Pearl Nolan, solving murder cases with DCI Mike McGuire of Canterbury CID while the pair continue a ‘will they/won’t they’ love affair that hopefully provides as much of a cliffhanger for readers as the episodes of EastEnders I used to write for TV.

Kent itself (and Whitstable in particular) forms an important backdrop so my event featured a discussion on the importance of Location in the novels during which I showed stunning photos, of seaside and rural settings, by Kent photographers George Fisk, Gerry Atkinson, Kentish Dweller and Simon J. Dunn.

This followed an introductory event I did for the festival in February – an Afternoon Tea and Talk for residents and book lovers – set in the beautiful rooms above the Grade II listed Carlton cinema, which was built in 1910 as the original Town Hall in Westgate-On-Sea.

For the festival itself, I was in great company with fellow crime writers, Lisa Cutts, William Shaw and Lesley Cookman – all very talented and prolific crime authors who staged their own events on the day – while later, at the Christ Church URC Hall, Terry Waite CBE gave a headline session to more than a hundred guests.

Though my latest book, Murder Fest, involves a plot concerning a book festival, I’m happy to report that at the real-life Westgate Literary Festival, all murders remained entirely fictional…

Westgate Literary Festival returns in 2020 – for more details see the website: www.westgatelitfest.co.uk

Julie’s 7th Whitstable Pearl Mystery, Murder on the Downs, will be published in May.Details: www.juliewassmer.com

 

 

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