Emerald Street, the fashion and lifestyle online magazine hosted its first Literary Festival last Saturday. It was an educational, inspirational and stylish affair held the Royal Geographical Society, in London. I had a wonderful day out on my own, being motivated by writers, editors and the like. I hadn’t said it before, but my picture book is on hold. After chatting to two publishers, I realise that I need to rethink how the story unfolds. I’ve not had a chance to return to my book in months due to bouts of illness and various challenges that arise in a day in the life of a stay at home mum. Nonetheless, my antenna is still up. Supportive friends also keep me in the loop about helpful events which is how I found about the festival. My cyber pal and all around inspirational mumpreneur Dija Ayodele (founder of 3107 Skincare) told me about it. I’m grateful that she did. After attending Emerald Street’s Literary Festival, I began to rethink how and what I need to write.

My ticket to Emerald Street’s Literary Festival entitled me to two seminars and one workshop. I attended:

  • Bailey’s Women’s Price for Fiction: are female spaces in literature important?
  • Faber Academy: Creating Ideas
  • What has the EU done for Women?

I found The Bailey Prize For Women’s Fiction panel discussion quite helpful.  The panel comprised of Kate Mosse (founder of the Bailey’s Prize) Cynthia Bond, Lisa McInerney (the prize winner) and Elizabeth McKenzie Elizabeth, prize finalists.  Being a part of the audience, I heard them speak about their writing process. It’s one thing to hear a man talk about his process. It’s another to listen to a woman, a working mum speak about her process. I valued all the tid bits of advice and personal anecdotes to success. On writing advice Lisa said you have to be selfish, so that the story can go where it needs to go. Cynthia said she envisioned her future self, spurring her one. Elizabeth put it quite succinct, trust the process.  I realised that challenging though it maybe there’s always a way to get the writing done. I just need to buckle down and do it (just my driving theory…right.) Both Lisa and Elizabeth said they didn’t envision their reader when they were writing their books. They both felt it would limit what is written. While Cynthia said yes she did in order to tell a better story.

emerald street lit fest

Well the Creating Ideas workshop gave me chills and tingles. You know how you need to hear something but you don’t you that you do until you hear it. It was hosted by Richard Skinner from the Faber Academy.  Richard said that when ‘good idea’ comes do nothing. Let it sink in. However, while waiting you need to read widely. To drive the point home, he asked attendees to list what we were reading or had recently read that really spoke to us. We then discussed shared our choices it with our neighbour. The room was a cacophony of chatter. He asked us if we noticed any similarities in our choices. According to Richard the common theme that we found in our reading choice is what we should be writing about. He says that’s were our passion and truth is. Well you could have knocked me over with a feather. I got chills for real. He also advised that we should try reading something different because we tend to read things that confirm our world view. Therefore, we should try reading something out of our class, race, and gender. Honestly it was the most recent best spent 30 mins in my life. My mind was buzzing. I wish I could have locked myself in a dark room to muse but mums don’t’ have that luxury.

I ended my day with the EU referendum discussion. I already knew how I was voting from the get go. Nevertheless, I wanted to hear more about what the EU has done for women. The panellists were; Journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, writer Marina Lewycka and Emerald Street’s Editor Anna Fielding. What I heard at the debate only confirmed how I felt. If you are still in doubt visit the Trade Union Congress (TUC) website. You will find reports and articles regarding their findings on Brexit.

In my opinion Emerald Street’s Literary Festival was a success. I look forward to seeing that’s lined up for 2017. If you are a book lover and missed the event, search hashtag #EmeraldStreetLitFest for find the thread of events from the day.


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