Yesterday I took my dad to a session at the Writers Festival. When my mum was alive this was the sort of thing I shared with her. Now she's gone I'm doing more with my father. I miss her, but I am loving spending time with him.
Before the session we sat and drank coffee and chatted. People always make a fuss of Dad; our waitress took this photo.
The session we saw was called 'The Lucky Child'. The two speakers were Thomas Burgenthal and Paul Valent, two child survivors of the Holocaust, and it was chaired by Helen Light, of the Jewish Museum.
Dad went to hear Thomas Burgenthal again in the evening with a friend. Afterwards, the friend left my father waiting outside for a taxi, while he rushed back in to get something he'd left behind. Two tipsy girls tried to pick Dad up. They were about 17, he thought, though they could have been in their twenties. When his friend, who's in his seventies, came out, the girls said, 'Oh good, there are two of you! Come and have a drink with us!' Those girls missed out on a fun night - my dad is a great story teller and a charming gentleman - but now he has another story to add to his collection.
This morning I went to another festival session. It was one of the 10am Morning Reads. I think they're fantastic. They're chaired by Chris Flynn, the editor of Torpedo, who does a terrific job, and each time you get to meet a variety of writers, some of whom you otherwise mightn't hear about. It's more than just a reading because the writers answer audience questions as well.
On this morning's panel were Michael Meehan, (who Chris Flynn called the most intelligent person at the festival) Jennifer McKenzie and Wells Tower.
I'd especially wanted to see Wells Tower. I have to admit the first time I heard his name I thought he sounded like a Mills and Boon writer - or maybe character - but his writing is clever, funny and very, very good. I'm really looking forward to reading his debut short story collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.