Some of Britain’s most renowned authors, poets and journalists inspired budding writers at the the North London Literary Festival in Hendon last week.
The free event, run by final year creative writing students from Middlesex University, brought together around 20 writers and leading literary figures for two days of readings, discussions, publishing workshops and writing competitions.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Independent columnist and Professor in Professional Practice at Middlesex University, kicked off the event with a reading of some of her work and answered questions about her career as an author and journalist.
She also discussed her new book which will examine the multi-cultural face of England, telling the crowd: ‘It’s about England’s other face, not the usual idea of England – that it can’t resist being open to other cultures.’
One the first day of the festival, visitors were also able to pitch their story ideas to top Bloomsbury litery agents LBA and get feedback on their work.
On Day 2, gaming industry figures Ed Stern and Ste Curran led a discussion about storytelling in video games – including a trip down memory lane – examining the narratives featured in some of the world’s most memorable games including Tetris, Ms Pacman and Pong.
To close the festival, keynote speaker David Nicholls, author of the hit novel One Day, told a packed out audience of his impressive career as an author, script writer and actor.
He encouraged aspiring writers to never give up, saying: ‘While it is easy to think that there is no way in [to getting published], that isn’t always the case. You should be resilient about submitting work because sometimes it will get read... engaging with other writers and being brave about having your stuff read is something that you have to do.’
Other festival guests included one of the UK’s best-loved novelists Lesley Pearse, award-winning non-fiction author Kate Colquhoun, and authors of young adult fiction Paige Toon and Gina Blaxhill.
Senior Lecturer Josie Barnard, supervisor of the Student Literary Festival team said: ‘Putting together an event of this scale is no mean feat, and I am extremely proud of the hard work and immense dedication of our students in organising a festival of the highest calibre which has been well received by full and attentive audiences.
‘Thank you also to each of our guests for taking the time out of their busy schedules and for their thought-provoking contributions. I have no doubt our many budding writers will be more inspired than ever to put pen to paper and create their own masterpieces.’