Bury St Edmunds Flyer November 2023 we hear about the Literature Festival in Bury St Edmunds, and other community events and updates. And we also hear from local groups, charities and clubs.
Foreword Festival: A Great Bookish Weekend!
A brand-new book festival came to Bury St Edmunds in October! Sister event to the Bury Literature Festival, the Foreword Festival 2023 was the first literary fringe festival in the UK, showcasing books and genres from outside mainstream publishing.
Celebrating the fringe
For organisers Jackie Carreira and Rachel Churcher, the Foreword Festival offered a chance to turn a spotlight on fringe authors, independent publishers, and speakers from around the UK.
“We really wanted everyone to succeed,” Jackie says. “When we run an event, we want to make sure everyone who takes part benefits from their involvement. We’re thrilled that the festival brought visitors to the Guildhall, matched readers with new books and authors, supported two local charities, and helped participants to develop their writing and publishing knowledge.”
Behind the scenes
For Rachel and Jackie, this was their first experience of running a festival together. Both are award-winning independently published authors – Jackie writes contemporary fiction, short stories, poetry and plays, and Rachel writes Young Adult fiction aimed at the 13-18 age group.
“We want to say a huge thank you to all of our supporters,” says Rachel. “Thank you to our hosts at the Guildhall; to Combat2Coffee who provided our pop-up café; to Waterstones for hosting our book signing; to our sponsors, Softwood Self-Publishing, QuirkHouse Theatre and Taller Books; to our workshop leaders and participants; to everyone who displayed our posters and flyers; and especially to everyone who came to the festival. We couldn’t have done it without you!”
The Writers of Bury and Beyond
Rachel and Jackie met when they were invited to give a talk on independent publishing at the 2019 Bury Literature Festival, alongside crime writer Pauline Manders. The three Suffolk-based authors discussed their very different journeys to publication, and their strategies for bringing their writing to market without working with a mainstream publisher.
Their collaboration continued as a group of local authors started meeting regularly to discuss writing and publishing. Members of the Writers of Bury and Beyond group frequently meet readers and sell books together at local literary events, and as far afield as Norwich, Felixstowe and St Albans. A selection of their books is available to sample on the Local Author Shelf, upstairs at the Bay Tree Café on St John’s Street.
“Promoting local authors has become a big part of our writing lives,” Rachel explains. “We believe that if we all work together and promote each other, we can reach more readers and tell more people about our books.”
The festival might be over, but Rachel and Jackie already have plans for future events. Two book fairs are planned at the Constitutional Club – one on December 9th focusing on fringe authors and bookish Christmas gifts, and one on February 11th next year with a Valentine’s theme. Follow the Foreword Festival on Instagram and Facebook to find out more!
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