Melissa Cooke in conversation with Sue Parker, Repton Litfest Volunteer

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

M: How was your experience of Repton Literary Festival?

S: Repton Literary Festival 2019 was a very exciting weekend. There were so many events to participate in – live music to enjoy, authors to meet and listen to, good food to eat and opportunities to meet with old friends and to make some new ones.

M: What connected you with the event? Or Why did you volunteer?

S: I volunteered at the inaugural festival in 2018 (a much smaller affair). I enjoyed it and felt that I might be able to make a useful contribution to the next one as well as having a fun weekend!

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

S: I am a bit of a book addict without a particular favourite genre. A 'good' book can be a form of escapism and can take you into a different world, whether a place or a time.

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

S: I'm not sure I could choose! I think anybody who recommends books to me can influence my taste whether I agree or disagree with their choices. Being part of a book club definitely introduces me to different types of books and authors I am unfamiliar with, and discussions are always interesting when I enjoyed a book and probably even more so when I didn't.

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

S: I would be happy with much of the same – being introduced to unknown authors and hearing authors, whose books I have read, talking about the process of writing and the inspiration that causes them to write. There should always be music too, of course, and perhaps some drama to add a little more diversity and, definitely, better weather than last year.

M: What are your lasting impressions of RLF?

S: One of my lasting impressions will have to be the Children's Day on the Saturday. It was lovely to see the children enjoying the activities and being encouraged to have a love of books and reading. When she got home, my granddaughter (aged 7) announced that she was going to be an author! It definitely had a profound effect on her – in no small part due to the author A.F.Harrold!

I will also remember for a long time the Saturday evening readings of Roald Dahl's diary from his time at Repton School by George Rainsford, Nick Burns, Blair Dunlop and Guy Levesley which was not only informative but also entertaining.

I won't mention the rain, though even that did not manage to dampen the spirit and atmosphere of the weekend.

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