We've also had a hugely successful weekend at Winchester Writers' Conference. Patron Barbara Large has been just amazing and our competition received a huge boost thanks to her support. We were also joined by Patrons Lord and Lady Fellowes of West Stafford, otherwise known as Julian and Emma Fellowes, and Lt Ian Thornton.
Julian was Plenary Speaker for the conference and gave an inspiring and motivational talk about his career which illustrated the hard work and determination that he possessed to get him to where he is today - and a little bit of luck he admitted - although I think all that hard work placed him in just the right position for luck to pounce.
Emma spoke of her work as script editor on Downton Abbey. It was interesting to note that on receipt of Julian's pages (usually around 50) she locks herself away from phones and all other interruptions and has a slow read of about two minutes per page. If she is interrupted by fire alarms or such she will start again from the beginning. It was a true insight into how hard this dedicated couple work. Nothing comes easy! And it's true teamwork.
Lt Ian Thornton then took to the podium to tell us the journey that led to him to writing Helmand: Diaries of Frontline Soldiers. A totally different tone to Julian's speech but inspirational nonetheless. Ian's brother John was killed in Afghanistan in 2008 at the age of 22. When his belongings were returned to his parents they came across his diary. That diary, along with Ian's, form the bulk of the book along with diaries from other frontline soldiers.
|From left: Margaret Graham, Lt Ian Thornton, Matt Pain, Penny Deacon, Tracy Baines|