Melissa Cooke in conversation with Lesley Reynolds, Repton Litfest Organiser



M: How was your experience of Repton Literary Festival?

L: Wonderful - meeting people who were all so positive about the event. The performances were all excellent and then you add the family activities, the live music, the food and of course the Festival Makers, who actually did make the Festival! It was great to hear compliments about what we'd achieved.

M: What connected you with the event?

L: I have worked successfully with Nick and John on Rotary projects and having retired last May, John, out of concern for my mental well-being (he didn't want me to get bored!), invited me to join the team

M: What do you like about reading/books/art/dialogue?

L: Communicating an idea simply for the joy of it, whether it's poetic, musical, fact or fiction - that's what makes us human and a love of learning.

M: Who have been the greatest influencers on your literary/artistic taste?

L: I enjoy reading biographies and historical novels - as I like to learn about social history.

One favourite book (of many) is William Woodruff - "The Road to Nab End" – and actually, the sequel too"Beyond Nab End" - these memoirs are so vividly written, I felt I knew exactly how it would be to live with the privations brought about by the depression in 20's /30's Lancashire.

It is a really detailed account of how the family's living arrangements disintegrated as unemployment impacted on their lives. William Woodruff's ultimate academic and personal success is astonishing when compared with his childhood and shows what can be achieved if you can muster the strength and resilience to tolerate the knocks and maintain your ambition and will to learn and develop. A good read for now! although, it is very moving and had me a bit weepy at times.


M: What would you like for this year’s festival?

L: As last year, I know we will have quality performances and I like that we consider "literary" in its broadest sense and widest appeal. Something for everyone.

M: What are your lasting impressions of RLF?

L: The undinted enthusiasm that continued all weekend.

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