All the fun of the fair

Written by Judi

June 5, 2024

Against all predicted odds, books are still going strong. Screens haven’t yet killed them off. And it was a pleasure to attend two bustling book fairs in Norwich recently, where A Very Simple Secret was promoted alongside dozens of other new publications.

Norwich is a UNESCO City of Literature, known worldwide for its writing courses at the University of East Anglia, and the National Centre for Writing (NCW). One of the book fairs took place in the NCW’s historic Dragon Hall. Just imagine a medieval wood-beamed barn of a place, packed to the hilt with publishers, authors and illustrators. It was a day of wide-ranging discussions. “Where did you start with your memoir?” I was asked constantly. “How did you set about the research?”. It didn’t seem long since I was asking these same questions myself, and it was great to swap experiences with such a variety of people who love books.

The other fair was held in the Forum, a mighty glass building in the centre of Norwich which also houses the city library and local BBC studios. At this event I was hosted by publisher Paul Dickson whose books by Norfolk authors include the remarkable Miracle in Kigali, written by his wife Illuminée Nganemariya who survived the Rwandan genocide.

A few days later I addressed a local book club: 18 readers eager to discuss A Very Simple Secret, their chosen title of the month. Attending these events it’s hard to imagine books ever becoming an outdated medium.

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