Friday Blog Mar 23 – Aye Write! from the inside

Aye Write! 2012 – from the inside – by Mary

The banners are down, the rooms have been cleared, the chairs have gone back, we’re all back to our day jobs – Aye Write! is over for another year. Time to reflect on the highs (many) and lows (very few).

Festival highs:

Meeting so many of you – our book group members – in some cases, putting a face to a name for the first time. It was a pleasure to see you all!

Hearing favourite authors for the first time (Andrew O’Hagan, Colm Toibin) or on a return visit (William Boyd, Jackie Kay, Janice Galloway, Willian McIlvanney, Jane Harris)

Talking to people with a special connection to the event they were attending:

  • At Jane Harris’s talk about her new book Gillespie and I, I spoke to a woman who now lives in the flat in Stanley Street [now called Baliol Street] where the fictional Gillespies live – she gave me an interesting perspective on how thoroughly authors do their research!
  • At the session on the Grand Central Hotel, I was delighted to meet an elderly lady whose husband had been a barman there for 50 years – they met in the hotel as she worked in the office.

Having new teams along to take part in the Battle of the Books – when Baillieston, Shettleston and Battlefield joined two Mitchell groups -didn’t they do well?

Festival lows:

The tyranny of the clock – with over 100 events going on, and only 30 minutes turnaround time, it is crucial that the chairperson winds up the event on time and escorts the author to the book signing; letting event staff show out the audience, the cleaners do their job and the technicians carry out the sound check with the next authors, so that event staff for the next session can let their audience in and let the next event start promptly. Phew! Any delay has a knock on effect and things can start to go wrong. But with all that in mind, it can still be galling to have to stop an author in full flow, or a Q & A which is warming up nicely.

Not seeing my family for nine days – one left the country and it was a few days before I noticed……

Roll on next year’s Aye Write!

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