By Alice West
This morning at the North Cornwall Book Festival, the peace of St Endellion was interrupted by the inspiring words of four incredible Cornish writers. Rob Barratt, Martin Banks, Anneliese Mackintosh and Katrina Naomi all came together under the Main Marquee to read to an audience of early birds and eager beavers. We all know there’s nothing better than being read to, and something about being read to by Cornish writers in such a typically Cornish environment was really special.
Rob Barratt kicked off the event with his eccentric performance poetry. Effortlessly waking up every not-quite-fully-awake-yet audience member with his witty humour and energetic presence. Barratt’s the kind of poet to start singing halfway through a piece, and then return to his poem like nothing happened. He captured us with poetry that entirely shattered the rules of grammar, dropping letters here and there and filling the room with witty hilarity.
Anneliese Mackintosh then took to the stage to read from her collection of short stories Any Other Mouth. Her story was about death, her own death to be precise. It was as funny as it was touching, Mackintosh has perfected the art of effortlessly combined humour with darker moments. Her narrative was captivating and she read from her piece with so much vivacious energy that as part of the audience, it was impossible to look away. She is currently working on her new novel ‘So Happy It Hurts’ which is due for publication in Spring 2017 – keep an eye out for it!
The third writer to speak was the wonderful Martin Banks reading from his non-fiction book The Mysterious Loss of The Darlwyne. Banks has done a fantastic job of telling a story that so desperately needs to be told. He effortlessly filled the entire main marquee with an understanding of the importance of this story and gave a very affecting reading of his narrative. Banks is not only a fantastic writer but also a fantastic storyteller who has tackled the difficult task of telling a local tragedy and done a very good job.
Katrina Naomi (@KatrinaNaomi) wrapped up the hour reading from The Way the Crocodile Taught Me, a series of poetry about her nan and step-dad. With moments of honesty that spoke to the audience, Naomi told stories from her childhood in an incredibly touching way. She bridged the gap between writer and audience and turned the marquee into an open space which felt more like conversation with a close friend. Naomi’s collection was refreshingly honest and her lyric was absolutely beautiful.
Having such a wonderfully diverse range of writers all in one tent was a truly special way to start the day but don’t panic if you didn’t manage to catch it! You can catch tomorrow’s Second Helping in the main marquee at 12-1.
Photo credit: Daniel Hall Photography