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Kent Festival of Writing


A gorgeous Spring day, blue sky, sun was shining, seagulls squawking overhead. Where better to be than Whitstable in Kent for a writing festival? It was the opportunity to mingle with other writers, and what an enthusiastic, friendly group of people you were! The morning was filled with workshops, and in the afternoon an opportunity to listen to Kate Mayfield, writer. There was plenty of tea and coffee, and not to mention the odd biscuit!

One of the workshops, lead by Marnie Summerfield Smith, was a form of Japanese literature: Zuihitsu, meaning to follow the brush, or pen. "A stream of consciousness vignette."

Ishwar Masakira: "In Zuihitsu, one records things one sees or hears, says and ponders, whether frivolous or serious, just as they come to mind."

It is a way of writing that connects your ideas to your surrounding ~ a stream of consciousness to see where 'your pen' will take you.

It was a curious session that commenced with a six minute meditation followed by 'free writing' for 15 minutes at a time, prompted by a word or sentence from Marnie, influenced by the Japanese seasons. This was followed by sharing of work from those who were brave enough to be open with strangers! There were some wonderful pieces, that were really quite beautiful. Quite the achievement considering the setting (a college classroom).

In the afternoon we were treated to a Q & A with writer, Kate Mayfield, author of The Parentations, and her memoir, The Undertakers Daughter. Kate was accompanied by her editor, Jenny Parrot from Point Blank (Oneworld). Both spoke of The Parentations journey from being accepted to publication. Both reinforced the need for re-writes, and the editing involved that sounded painful but necessary. "Always listen to advice," was a good tip! Plus "Choose your agent carefully," was another.

I always love listening to a writer reading a passage from their work, and this occasion was no different. They bring their book to life! Later I had the opportunity to say Hello, and purchased signed copies of her books.

This was a fabulous workshop, that was fun, informative and well organised. Will definitely be going again!


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