So this is me, at a Faber Academy open day, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival. I was chatting about my experience of going from writing by myself, wondering if anything I was committing to paper was even any good, let alone whether it would ever be published, to where I am now (i.e. a little less insecure, though sometimes still riddled with doubt, but at least knowing that my book will be on the shelves next year). I tried to explain how I think the course I did at the Faber Academy had helped me to make that journey, without sounding like I was selling it, or recommending it (or a course like it) as the only way to ever get a publishing deal. I may well type up my notes and put a version of my talk up here, but for now I can just say that the gist is 'Perseverance and hard work will get you where you want to be, and the idea that the publishing world is full of people trying to keep you out is both prevalent and wrong.'
The event was in a very grand location - the Foundling Museum - and I think was well received. It was certainly nice for me to meet my fellow speakers, all of whom were very entertaining and interesting. Anthony McGowan framed his talk about writing for children with a rather gruesome tale that I won't go into here, Andrea Stuart spoke about the pleasures and pitfalls of writing one's own family history and Gillian Slovo discussed ideas, and where they come from, and how sometimes an idea that seems to have come from nowhere has in fact spent a long time gestating. That's certainly true of Before I Go to Sleep - while the basic premise came to me very quickly, it's only now that I can see that a lot of the ideas and preoccupations of the book are things I've been thinking about for years.
So, all round, I got loads out of the day - and I hope that the people that attended it did, too.