Fear & Loathing via Abergavenny

Author, Carol Lovekin recently spoke at the Newport Regional Conference. It’s not often we get to hear what the experience was like from the other side of the table but Carol agreed to share her experience with us…


“I could just as easily call this post, ‘Unaccustomed as I am to Public Speaking’ only it’s been done before and, unexpectedly, I find it’s no longer true.

“Yesterday’s event, hosted by NWR, was sandwiched between two trying journeys. Deciding to eschew the motorway in favour of the prettier route, I got hideously lost in Abergavenny. No disrespect, pretty town, but honestly – road signs? Getting lost in Abergavenny was only the beginning. Further on, having mislaid a small but crucial bit of the A48 (which I suspect doesn’t in fact exist), having missed A Vital Exit & finding myself on the motorway heading for London (don’t ask) I then drove for twelve miles trying not to cry. My inner stroppy b*tch bullied me into getting a grip & finally I made it to the venue, the très posh Coldra Court Hotel, at reception, doing a passable impression of a red-faced, deranged bag lady.

“(The going home bit was via the motorway & all can say about that is, pretty is as pretty does…)

“The event was billed as A Celebration of Women’s Writing and my brief was to talk about my writing, road to publication and the story behind the story of Ghostbird. It was almost certainly The Horrid Journey that brought out the Fear again. A smaller than expected audience meant close scrutiny & nowhere to hide. Bring on the butterflies…

“And yet…

“It was fine. I was fine. I enjoyed myself and to my surprise found the Q & A session, which I had dreaded, easy. These things really are just conversations. Some delightful & gratifying feedback was the icing on the cake. When your reader gets you, it makes everything about the writing worth it.

“This public speaking lark isn’t so scary after all. Not as scary as the route through Abergavenny at any rate…

“Although I missed the talks by Judith Barrow & Bethan Darwin (sister Honno authors) I did get to hear the redoubtable and feisty Lleucu Seincyn, CEO from Literature Wales. Her passion & determination to make girls visible in literature made me want to punch the air.

“And Penny Thomas from Firefly Press & Seren Books gave a fascinating talk on her experiences as a publisher. Firefly is the brainchild of Penny and Editor, Janet Thomas. If you are looking for classy books for 8-11 year-olds, look no further!

“Special thanks to Natalie Punter, the organiser of the event for her efficiency & kindness. To everyone who attended, contributed and took part, thanks to you too. Without an audience, without readers & book-buyers, writers, literally, are lost.”

Thank you for being brave, Carol. We’re glad you were!

You can find out more about Carol’s work here