A Book Fair in Swindon

Have you ever been to a book fair?

Until I became an author, I’d never heard of them, however, my previous publisher, based in Wales, often ran them for his authors.  And I took part in several, on the other side of the Severn bridge, in and around the Cardiff area. It was a great opportunity to meet up with other authors, and for locals to come and meet authors, and see their books.

Living in Swindon, I’ve been aware of one anywhere. We have the Swindon Festival of Literature, which takes place from 1st to 7th May this year.  This very successful festival has taken place for the last 30 years has a range of different events, from authors talks, storytellers, poets, musicians, acrobats, discussions, readings, talks and performances – happening at different times of the day throughout the week.

This festival is a brilliant way to introduce people to authors and artists from the wider areas.

However, what I missed was the opportunity for local published authors, whether they are self-published, hybrid published – whatever – to also get in front of audiences. 

Swindon has a number of authors who don’t get a look in at the festival, which I totally understand, because for the festival to make money and have access to the fantastic venues they use, they need to get bums on seats, and for that, the authors need to be well-known.  

Many of the authors who are local, have never been heard of by Swindon people.

I decided this year was going to be the year to organise a Book Fair, and with the support of Dan Fishlock, Community Officer for the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, Swindon and the other authors involved, we are running our first fair on May 20th 2023.

The fair will be held in the Central Community Centre of the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, and runs from 11 am to 3pm.

There will be ten authors, a mixture of children and adult fiction authors, including two authors who write about the history of Swindon.

At 4pm when the fair has closed, there will be a second event, which will be ticketed, because we have to know number.  This event – Meet the Authors, is where a few of the authors, will be involved in live interviews and an audience Q & A. This will be led by Fiona Scott, who as a journalist and ex-tv producer is used to leading this sort of thing.

Fiona interviewed me at my book launch for my debut novel, ‘He is Not Worthy’, last May, and everyone who attended, commented on how much they enjoyed that interaction.

I’m hoping we get a good footfall for our first venture, and people become aware of the amazing, home-grown authors we have in the town. Hopefully, next time we’ll be able to include more authors.

Eight of the ten authors are from Swindon, and two from the South West.

Below is the list, including me (written in 3rd person, so reads a little oddly, when I’m writing this)!

Angela Atkinson, is the author of books about Swindon, including: “Swindon, A born again Swindonian’s Guide”; “Secret Swindon” and “Swindon in 50 Buildings”

Nikki Copleston, is the author of the Jeff Lincoln Detective thriller novels, her latest being: “The Promise of Salvation”.

Judith Cranswick, the author of several different thriller series, including “The Fiona Mason Mysteries” and the “Aunt Jessica Mysteries”.

Hannah Dosanjh, is the author and illustrator of the children’s’ book “How Bright Ideas Built A Railway Town called Swindon”

Belle Henderson, writes contemporary romance and her latest is: “You Grow Girl”

Matt Jeffery’ – a first time author, who has written children’s book: “Adventures with Ollie – The Lost Hat”

Lis McDermott, has written in multi-genres, her latest is her debut novel “He is Not Worthy”

Helen Michaelsen is the author of “The Call of Mektoub – An enchanting Christmas Tale”. Available as an audio book.

Zozo Thomas, is the author of Tales from Mulberry Garden, children’s books “Sunny”, “Billy and Coo” and “Counting Beans”. They are story books to colour in.

Amelia Watchman, is Belle Henderson’s sister, and also writes contemporary romance, and her latest is: “To all the Cheats”.

Please can I ask you to share this to people who you know, who enjoy reading, and come along and visit us on May 20th – come and say ‘hello’.