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Your take on the Summer Festival of Writing

This is usually the time of year we at Jericho Writers announce our Festival of Writing at the University of York (UK) for what is always an extra-special weekend.  

Of course, the changes in the world have made it impossible for us to go ahead with that event, which is a shame, but also offers us a huge opportunity to capture the spark that makes the Festival of Writing so great – and make it accessible to writers all over the world.  

That’s what we’ve tried to do with the Summer Festival of Writing. We’ve kept to what would have been the programme for the York event, but extended and added names like never before. Names I am unashamedly fangirling over.  

Thanks to it being online and the timings staggered, events are more accessible to people in different time zones. We have tutors who will be presenting from all corners of the globe – all live – and all available to watch on replay if you’d rather.  

New tutors have brought fresh and exciting workshop topics to the table, covering writing; editing; author wellbeing; traditional and self-publishing. Most of these sessions will be one-hour webinars, but we also have five mini-courses (one for each topic) and flagship “in-conversation with” events, which are similar to keynote panels.  

Our team have really pulled out all the stops here and I’m super-proud of all of them. This is an incredible thing to be part of and I do hope that you’ll join us for what promises to be a shining light in a topsy-turvy year.  

So – what's your take on the Summer Festival of Writing? What events are you most excited about? Share your thoughts below! 


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Replies (20)
  • I went to the festival in 2016. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I expected to, and found some aspects frustrating (like having to leave in the middle of workshops to attend a 1-2-1). For me it was not worth the outlay and I have not been back since. But I am all over this new online version. If it works as well as I think it will then I actually hope it may be repeated in future years - maybe with alternate years online and at York?

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    • I was planning to go this year, it seems the right tine for me, one book on submission, the other currently editing. I am gutted, as was looking forward to a weekend away from real life if you like. Yes it's a lot of money and that's why I haven't attended before. However the online version this year looks brilliant and I've signed up for that, it's a bargain with tons of different aspects of writing for us all to take part in and learn from. 

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      • My experience was similar in many ways to Bella's. I attended the Festival in 2018, but came away unimpressed. The material covered seemed quite generic. Basic, even.

        And the other attendees were definitely clicquey. They were no more welcoming than at any other gathering, though as my experience at all gatherings is that I don't fit in, don't relate, that's not entirely surprising. I did find several others who were in a similar boat to me… though being social outliers does not a viable social connection make.

        As for the Summer Festival, looking at the list of sessions, other than the big-name fandom additions, it to be a repeat of the same-old same-old as previous years. Now, I may have missed the one or two entirely new items on the programme, but most of it is a clear rehash of what's been done before.

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        • Hello everyone, I'm new to Jerichowriters, and I think it's a great idea to stage the festival online. Since I don't live in the UK, it's much more accessible to me this way. And looking through the programme, I find lots of interesting-sounding events. Pricing at 75£ for members is really moderate, especially since there won't be any traveling costs. So, to me, it sounds great.

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          • A question. The festival 1:1s are advertised as phone consultations. In this era of Zoom and Skype and many more such platforms, wouldn't that be a better solution?

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            • Aw shucks, John. 💜

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              • She is amazing - I totally agree. 

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                • Double shucks. 🥰

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                • Thing about Zoom / Skype is that a good chunk of our user base is not especially tech-proficient and the last thing we want is for 12 minutes of a 15 minute session to be spent trying to unmute a microphone or chasing around after better bandwidth. So we decided to go old school. Better to have a 90% solution that works for everyone than a 99% one that works for only 75%.

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                  • Zoom isn't malware, and I use it easily with my Mac. Same for Skype, so not sure where you heard that. Do need a decent signal of course. Got to move with the times.

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                    • I agree with Trudi. We use Zoom for meeting at work all the time and most my friends use it with their work too so it's completely safe. I've never had a problem with Skype on my Mac. Use it again yesterday for 2-hour catch up with my critique partner and it went fine as usual.

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                      • Yes, I've used Skype on my Mac since 2011, with calls from as far apart as UK and India with no problem. Likewise Zoom. Bandwidth is more likely to cause problems.

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                      • I'm getting confused trying to book an agent 1-2-1. The tab on the festival homepage for one-to-ones still just says coming soon. So I navigated from the email we got last week. When I first looked, I could see the list of agents and book doctors but no other info. Now there's lots of other useful info, but I can't find the current list of agents.

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                        • I have to say I'm relieved the 1-2-1s are separate ticketed things. I don't know about anyone else but in the current situation I'll admit I've been struggling to get any Best Work™ done, and wouldn't want to squander any opportunity by bringing unfinished (or barely changed since last year) work to them.

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                          • I can't find anything about book doctors or agent 1-2-1s. Nothing, am I too late? 

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