2019 Launch Event with Melvyn Burgess

Rory McGowan, PR and Social Media Volunteer, writes

Once again, the Lincoln Book Festival opened with a bang. This year, the festival was set to the tune of Queen Victoria and the writing of her era, and before we dived into tales of murder, cooking and her British Empire, it was the task of Melvin Burgess and others to open the week by inspiring those in the audience to start writing their own tales.

The night was filled with many special guests and impressive talent. First on stage were the Winners of our Flash Fiction Competition. Follow this link to read the winning entries.

Next came the charity, First Story, presenting the work they’d been doing with local schools to encourage children to pick up their pencils and write some of their first short stories and poems. They invited the children on stage, and the best ones were read aloud to the sound of a very impressed audience.

Next up was the Aurora Prizes for Best Poem and Short Fiction, presented by the groups Writing East Midlands and the Society of Authors. The winner for the short fiction prize was Alice Haworth-Booth for her story “Ears Now” and the winner for Poetry was Toby Campion with his poem “Oyster”. Toby’s poem was particularly outstanding given that it was originally written in Polari, a lost language used by members of the LGBTQ+ community to communicate with each other in the 19th century.

After the interval, we had Melvin Burgess take the stage to talk to us about his road to becoming an acclaimed young adult author. He is most famous for novelisation the film “Billy Elliot” as well as his other critically acclaimed books such as “Junk”, “Bloodtide” and “The Ghost Behind the Wall”. He began the talk by asking the audience about their dreams, before telling the story of the school system that failed him and how he turned his creative passion into his first book, “The Cry of the Wolf”. One of the quotes that stuck in my mind in particular was “I became a writer, because if you have a dream, you might as well give it a go”, as it was essentially the central theme of his life’s work.

Closing off his talk, he read a section from his latest novel “The Lost Witch” before doing book signings in the reception area. It was a fantastic start to a week that would only seek to aim for new heights.