The Manx Litfest 2014

The Manx Litfest 2014

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by H.G. Sansostri

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I had never done a book festival before, never mind been invited to one!

I had never been to the Isle of Man either, only hearing about it vaguely in Geography lessons or even mistaking it for the Isle of Wight. (sorry manx people!) But when my Mum told me Cheryl Davies her twitter name being @pinkscifiwriter from the Isle of Man and also on the committe for @manxlitfest, had secured me a place at Manx Litfest 2014, as an official author, I was overjoyed.

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This is an account of my trip and my thoughts…

On Thursday the 25th of September I left school (obviously authorised) to go to Gatwick airport to board my flight to the Isle of Man. We had to take three trains, one of them being the Gatwick Express and the other two being normal underground trains. We first stopped at Euston Station on the Northern Line and then went to the Victoria Line, boarding the next train to Victoria where the Gatwick Express was waiting. We then took our bags on board the Gatwick Express, after having a lovely (which means awkward) conversation with a train officer who sent us to the wrong platform.

We eventually made it to the South Terminal and took the shuttle to the North Terminal. I just couldn’t contain myself as we looked out the shuttle windows and saw the planes on the runways, one of them soaring off into the sky. I was so excited, despite the fact I was a nervous flyer. (whilst Mum in my ear was saying  ‘you’re with me, ex-cabin crew, so don’t worry)

We checked in our bags, went through security, had a drink and boarded the flight to the Isle of Man. We touched down on a runway after about an hour and a half, making me sigh, a sigh of relief as we disembarked the plane. It was raining a little that day, typical British/Manx (being politically correct here 🙂 weather and I smiled. I didn’t care if it was snowing;  as long as I got to the festival, I was really happy.

I was wearing my uniform as my headmaster had requested it so we could take some photos for the school’s Gifted and Talented news board.

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We were picked up by a lovely lady called Emma, who was the wife of the Director John, but we didn’t know that then. She was with her eleven year old son Ryan who was a joy to talk to. He actually has the name of one of my main book characters in the ‘WCP’ (War Changes People)  Trilogy. Good on you little dude!

So the plan was, that we go to the hotel and drop off our bags, but Emma asked us if it was alright if she took us to the launch party first  and then  head to our hotel afterwards. I was completely fine with that; besides, it would have been harder to tear me away from our hotel room because after you will hear how amazingly good it was!

So we went to the launch party where we met some nice authors. Sarah Mcintyre and Philip Reeves , Sarah is the author of the books like ‘Jampires’ and Cakes in Space, she illustrated them as well!

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Philip Reeves wrote the famous book ‘Mortal Engines’ of which I have a copy! We  even met Sara Crowe! I bought a copy of her book  ‘Bone Jack’ and she signed it too!

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I also met Chery Davies, @pinkscifi, who was lovely to me when we met at the party. We talked about what we had been doing recently, as well as Baby Girl (that’s what I call her daughter when we spoke on twitter and Baby Girl it has remained.) We then went to dinner,  had some fish and chips accompanied by a long, long catch up chat.

We were then taken back to the Regency Hotel by John, the director of the event, who was really kind and lovely with us. He helped us to check into our room, and even into the narrowest lift in the world! Seriously, the hotel was Victorian, so the lift was so thin literally!

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Our room was lovely, we had a wonderful view of the sea front, that you could literally hear the waves through the windows when we were all tucked up and cosy. 

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A lovely big screen TV and best of all a long long desk with an office chair, I spent a lot of time there just writing, writing, writing! The bathroom was very spacious, (which was good for all my Mums lotions and potions hee, hee!)

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The next day we were assigned a driver and sponser for the day and he was Ta da… Matt Knowles, (spud Matt) from The Isle of Man Bank. He was awesome and I loved talking to him! We  were like brothers during the whole day.

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He took us to Kewaigue School where we met up with Cheryl who was a teacher there and then we visited Arbory School.

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Can I say a big Hello to all the kids from these schools, you were all awesome in your ‘awesomeness’! I know the word doesn’t exist but that’s how best to describe you all!

Well, as the day came to an end Matt was going off on a camping trip with his girlfriend and children, so that was the very last we saw of him. I hope you enjoyed your trip Matt!

Latest update –  (we are still in touch on twitter!)

The next day I went to The Roald Dahl Day in Laxey Gardens for the afternoon and signed copies of my book and bookmarks to kids who had come to my talk the day before.

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Unfortunately there was a little drama as  I went on a walk around the park, to  find the people who had bought my book and were looking for me to sign their books,  but I  spent fifty minutes looking for them, whilst they were looking for me (diaster)

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I scared my mum to death as she thought that I had gone missing!

(sorry Mum 🙁

Angela and Harry (The Bridge Bookshop owners) who stocked my book were absolutely amazing. They really supported me and my book and were really kind to us. I hope loads of people go to their shop and think ‘wow’ because they are amazing. Please go to them as they have an amazing stock of books, I bought three books in all from them!

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On our last day we went to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid show, which I was hesitant to go to because I thought I had outgrown the Wimpy Kid Books.

The man doing the show was a man called Alistair,(you were awesome Alistair) who knew Jeff Kinney and managed all the talks in the UK for him. At the beginning of the talk I didn’t want to buy a book, but at the end mum kept offering me the ‘Hard Luck’ book and I eventually gave in, or should I tell the truth here? ( yes, I wanted a copy!)

Jeff Kinney, the author, is an inspirational man and has created a magnificent series of books and characters.

Afterwards we were dropped off at the airport by Andrea,(Hello Andrea waving to you from the UK) another Manx Litfest member, and we thanked her for her help. Most people on the committee or who had volunteered were really nice and kind to us.

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We then had to wait for five whole hours to board the plane, as there were some engine failues with the original EasyJet plane and they had to send another one over. We then landed at Gatwick, took the Gatwick Express back after being poorly directed to our platforms, and then were picked up by my dad at Victoria. Also, because we were directed to a totally different platform, our ticket platform number didn’t match and we had to pay a fee! We got home at three in the morning, yawn, yawn, so as soon  as I fell onto my bed (Hello lovely, snuggly bed, nice to be back too) I practically fainted from tiredness.

I really enjoyed Manx Litfest 2014; it was full of inspirational people and authors like Neil Spring, (Hi Neil what a shame we met so late, but please keep in touch)  Sara Crowe and Philip Reeves, who had written the amazing series ‘Mortal Engines’, and was internationally acclaimed with lots of literary awards.

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People on the committee and the volunteers were wonderful as well as Matt Knowles, who I hope to see again as well as everyone next year??? (Well I do have a new book due out, don’t I ???

Hope you enjoyed my blog on my very first Book Festival

The Manx Literary Festival 2014.

Peace out H.G. Sansostri