Interview with Catherine Cooper: Wellington Literary Festival
16th September 2015
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For those people who have not experienced the Wellington Literary Festival, how would you describe the event?

The Wellington Literary Festival is in its 19th year.  It spans over four weekends and three weeks.  The events run by the committee are all free, some venues are restricted by numbers and these have tickets issued, but again, they are free.  Other organisations run events during the festival, for example the Writing Workshops run by Wrekin Writers, and there is a small charge for those.  There is always a wide and varied programme.  Each Saturday. Wellington Library hosts the 'Meet the Author' events, and the Children's Day is on the first Saturday of the festival (this year it's the 3rd of October from 10am to 3pm).  This is a wonderful community event and is always well attended.   

You are running the Children’s Day, what can kids expect from the day? 

On the Children's Day there will be a face painter, who is linking her visit with story book characters.  We've got authors, an illustrator, and a storyteller.  I'll be there with my books and a free competition for one lucky person to win a signed copy of my new book, which is due out in November.  It's a complete Camelin and Jack Brenin Adventure called The Wichen Tree.  There'll also be a competition prior to the day which will be circulating around the local schools and on mine and Camelin's Facebook pages.

What is the best thing about the festival? 

The festival brings a huge variety of poets and writers to Wellington.  They're interesting and inspiring.  It brings together the community to celebrate literature and it's all free.

As a local author, what inspired you to take up writing?

I taught for 29 years before I had to stop teaching due to ill-health.  I've always written stories, poems, and plays, from a very early age and it was something I was able to do to amuse myself and keep busy.  It was a natural progression from teaching to want to write the kind of stories I would have liked to have read to my classes.  The landscape of Shropshire inspired me and the first book in the Jack Brenin series, The Golden Acorn, is set in and around The Wrekin (which I was able to see from my study window).  I renamed it, Glasruhen Hill, and have used many other locations in the series.  When I taught, the classroom was my world, and now, with many foreign translations of my books and technology, the world is my classroom.  It's been an amazing journey.  

For any children or adults who are interested in taking up writing – either as recreation or otherwise – what advice would you give them?

For anyone interested in writing I would advise reading as many books as you can.  Reading gives you an understanding of structure, character development and plot.  Once you are ready to start writing, decide why you want to write and who your audience is to be.  I would also advice writing something everyday.  I plan and plot out my books, write the draft, edit, re-write, read, edit, redraft and edit again.  Writing is a long process and takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and effort to craft a good book.  I also wish anyone embarking on the path of an author, every good wish.   

What is next on the horizon for you?

I have just finished a complete Camelin and Jack Brenin adventure and will be starting another one after the festival is over.  I also have several other books that aren't ready for publication and will be looking to complete them in the next two years.  Last year I became a Patron of Reading and have a three year affiliation with one of our local schools... I'm looking forward to the next two years.  My diary is almost full for the Autumn term for author visits.  I take a break from these after the October half term until March 1st, this is when I am able to give myself time to write.

Thanks Catherine! We look forward to see you over the Wellington Festival period.

About the Author

Mark Luckman

Member since: 10th July 2012

I champion the best businesses in Telford and Wrekin, businesses recommended by you. If you run a local business or know a really great local business that you think deserves to be known by more local...

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