Good Feedback From Essex Authors Day 2020

In March, I hosted a discussion session at the Essex Authors Day, an event within the 2020 Essex Book Festival. I chose the title of ‘Using Familiar Landscapes to Inspire Fictional Locations’; the session was billed as follows: 

An author-led discussion session to show and discuss how familiar features in the Essex countryside can be used as the inspiration for creating new and imagined landscapes in fiction writing. Local author Owen W Knight will illustrate, using maps, photographs and readings, how the geography, history and folklore of the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation and its surroundings became the basis of a hidden, dystopian world. Attendees will be encouraged to participate and to share their own ideas and writing experiences.’

The event was held at Chelmsford Library. Today I received the following attendee feedback from Essex Libraries, which I quote in full below. 

‘This is a little later than planned due to the lockdown, but please see below for the great feedback you received for the discussion you delivered as part of Essex Authors Day. The attendees found your session inspiring and very enjoyable. Well done!’

  • Useful for gaining new perspective of Essex landscape, history and folklore
  • Interesting
  • Thoroughly enjoyed session. Very interesting and got brain working and inspiring
  • Promoted a lot of interesting discussion and suggestions. Helped me see how my home county of Essex has much to inspire writing!
  • Very interesting and inspiring! Useful information for my own writing
  • A good insight into the areas of Essex which can be utilised in our writing
  • Interesting and inspiring
  • Very interesting and lots of new ideas for future writing
  • Very inspiring and invigorating seminar. Plenty of lively participation
  • Enjoyable and inspiring. In a way it’s a shame we didn’t have time to try the exercises in class, but then we can take them home and try
  • I think the piece would have been stronger if there were some points made about the way to approach the challenge of using real places to inspire fictional ones. Different techniques on how to extract interesting stories, that type of thing
  • Really stimulating and enjoyable – had me thinking about Essex and how much I appreciate its landscape and history!

I’m pleased (and grateful) for the feedback. I believe the success of the event was largely down to the choice of subject. It was relevant to a local audience, who were able to identify with the locations, which offered them the opportunity to contribute their own ideas and observations.