The Parisot Literary Festival is an extraordinary annual event in Southern France. Over 80 people came this year to the tiny, ancient village of Parisot to listen to three days of inspiring presentations and workshops by French and English writers. Amongst the English presenters: Vanessa Couchman spoke about her novel The House at Zaronza (Crooked Cat) which is set on Corsica, and Amanda Hodgkinson talked about the stresses and joys of producing her second novel, Spilt Milk (Penguin). Non-fiction writers Piu Marie Eatwell and Clive Ponting gave fascinating presentations on myths about the French (Eatwell) and myths about the First World War (Ponting). On Sunday morning we were treated to a cookery demonstration for diabetics (and everyone else) by Robin Ellis who is most well-known for his acting role in the hugely popular 1970s TV series Poldark. We tasted pumpkin soup and salmon fishcakes as Robin chatted to us about his acting career, wearing a Sex Pistols apron. I was one of the last speakers in the festival and talked about researching and writing my historical novels Almodis and The Viking Hostage (Impress Books).
All the authors were billeted on local families for the duration of the festival and talks were punctuated with informal social occasions. There was lots of time for discussions about writing over dinner and some very good cakes. I will definitely be at this brilliant festival next year as a punter. The sun shone on us throughout and the skies were azure blue but during an after-the-festival drink, I noticed that the clouds were gathering themselves for some serious action. I got caught in a terrific thunder and lightning storm with giant hailstones and caught in a terrific conversation as we sheltered, with friends Carlos and Christine on climate change, permaculture and Timothy Morton’s book Ecology Without Nature.