Writers Gather in Finsbury Park

By Georgia de Chamberet

A blue and white striped tent, 30 white plastic chairs, a table covered in books supplied by Serpent's Tail, Apis Books, Legend Press, 12 writers and a microphone: Welcome to the Story Tent at FinFest: One World, One Park Community Festival in Finsbury Park, North London. No glitz or queues waiting for a signature as is so often the case at book readings nowadays; just back to the grassroots and the pure spoken word.

Orchestrated by pulp.net, "the online home of new fiction," the event featured local talent. The sound clash from the neighboring dancehall sound system was trying for the writers reading their work, but the audience was focused and absorbed. Unwanted experience perhaps—especially for up-and-coming hopefuls Andrew Theophilou and Jae Watson—but gut forming since, to quote Robert McCrum,"èthe novelist has become a cross between a commercial traveller and an itinerant preacher."

In between strolls in the September sunshine and chatting with a friend, I caught Heidi James, Marek Kazmierski, Alison Macleod, Lane Ashfeldt, Nick Johnstone and Matt Thorne—all well worth it.


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