Hooray – It’s the Guernsey Literary Festival!

Last weekend I was in a local dance competition – Strictement – to raise funds for St Saviour’s Community Centre. Huge tick on my bucket list, I can tell you… But I won’t go on about that here. Instead, it’s time for the Guernsey Literary Festival, and I get almost as excited about books too. I’m helping out at a couple of talks, and really looking forward to the (sorry, sold-out) session tonight with Adam Kay, of This is Going to Hurt fame.

It always astounds me that our little island is such a creative hub, and the range and fame of authors coming to treat us this weekend is as mind-boggling as ever. As a volunteer I could have given Lionel Shriver a lift from the airport but I was worried I’d be too star-struck and might say something stupid (although I adored her short story collection, Property).

There’s always too much to cram in – next time I think I need to book myself a mini-break at the Old Government House Hotel and pretend to my family that I’m not here, so I can max out on all the opportunities.

But back to that family… My daughter was thrilled to write to Nigella a few months back, and get an actual hand-written response to her questions, so now, enthused by the Literary Festival, she’s penned a little note to David Walliams in the hope of getting him over next time:

Fingers crossed. In the meantime, there are still tickets available for a number of child-friendly events, including story time with Sophy Henn and her Ted stories, and a session with local husband-and-wife team Charlie and Magnus Buchanan with their original illustrated folk tale, Invasion of the Wavelets.

There are also some mummy-focused talks by blogger and novelist Helen Wallen, and by author and adventure activist Jessica Hepburn who will be discussing her biography 21 Miles – the story of how she met and ate with 21 inspirational women and then swam 21 miles in search of the answer to the question: ‘Does motherhood make you happy?’. Great question. I can’t wait!

Read the book, got the tea towel…

Photo from VisitGuernsey

Guernsey has had such an exciting time in the last week, when Hollywood came here for the Guernsey premiere of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society film. I tried really hard to win tickets to the black tie premiere event or the special preview screening, but to no avail.

I had to make do with the ITV facebook livestream of the red carpet event, with the lovely Lily James, Greg Powell, Sir Tom Courtenay, producer Paula Manzur, director Mike Newell and screenwriter Thomas Bezucha strutting their stuff.

I’ve also been following Lily’s official instagram feed  and was completely delighted to find photos of her in very familiar Guernsey locations – including Cobo, Fermain Bay, the Little Chapel and in the little alleyway in between Town Church and the Albion pub –  dazzling in stunning Valentino, thanks to her (Guernsey!) stylist, Rebecca Corbin-Murray.

The Guernsey Literary Festival has also launched early with some special Potato Peel talks, and I was at St James on Saturday to hear local film aficionado and presenter Wynter Tyson interview producer Paula Mazur, co-novelist Annie Barrows and screenwriter Thomas Bezucha (modelling a brand-new Guernsey, btw) about bringing the novel to the big screen. Really fascinating (and moving) insights with some interesting questions from the floor. PS Paula said she’d never been treated to such a great black tie premiere before, so well done Guernsey!

Guernsey is well and truly in the limelight right now. Here’s a great short film about the history behind the film, on the Telegraph website, made by the film producers. And here’s Lily James’ interview in Saturday’s Times… She’s even wearing Guernsey wool whilst being interviewed!

I’m a big fan of the novel (think it’s time for a re-read) and I really do have the tea towel. My friend Athene Sholl is a jewellery designer and even has her own range of gorgeous potato peel-themed jewellery (you can take a look at her Etsy shop here.) Another friend, Jessica, is running a Guernsey giveaway competition on her instagram page/blog The Open Home. I just need to watch the movie now.

While I’m waiting, I might just try out one of these this potato cake recipes we found at the Occupation Museum too…