Last weekend was the first ever Bangkok Literary festival. Organised by the Neilson Hays library, the day provided a chance to mingle with fellow writers, hear a range of informative talks about all aspects of writing and participate in writing workshops.
I was very fortunate to be asked to speak at the festival. My talk covered two key topics. Firstly, as a new writer, I spoke about the challenges and the opportunities presented by the new publishing landscape. Secondly, I discussed short stories and my view that the short story is very much the medium for fiction in the 21st century. This then gave me the opportunity to tell people about Five Stop Story and its latest short story competition. (This will be the subject of my next blog post, but in the meantime, you can find out more here.)
Before my talk I was pretty nervous – especially when I read through the festival programme and saw the high calibre of the other speakers – including Ken Hom, Stephen Leather and Christopher G Moore. How could I compete with Ken Hom? Before I went into my talk I was wondering if I’d bitten off more than I could chew.
But luckily the audience were very receptive and welcoming. My talk went smoothly and people asked well-informed and challenging questions. And I received a bottle of wine for my efforts, which was certainly appreciated!
After my talk, I decided it would be bad form to crack open the wine immediately so I treated myself to a burger and a beer and then went to see Christopher G Moore and Stephen Leather’s talks. Christopher’s talk took the audience through each of his books, providing us with an insight into how life in Bangkok had changed since he started writing. Stephen shared his first-hand experience creating a best-selling e-book – a real bonus for new writers.
All in all, it was a great day out, extremely well organised by Annemarie Hellemans and her team at the Neilson Hays. I’m already looking forward to the next festival!