Exhilarating​ – The Jersey Festival of Words 2019

Yesterday I went to four sessions at the Jersey Festival of Words, it was the day for me to soak up the words of wisdom, as well as support, local writing talent and hopes of coming away with a better understanding of what literary agents are looking for.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for would-be writers is the day job.  Or is holding down a full-time job merely an excuse for not getting any writing done?

None of the writers I went to see yesterday let their full-time jobs hold them back.  They are all published authors and an inspiration to us all.

First up, at the Jersey Arts Centre, Deborah Carr, one-third of Jersey’s  Blonde Plotters, who shared her writing journey with us.

A few years ago, Deborah was working full-time and set herself a goal, that one day, she would make a living as a writer.

Writing in three different genres, Historical Romances in her own name, Psychological Thrillers as Ella Drummond and Contemporary Romance as Georgina Troy, Deborah originally self-published.  Recently she achieved her goal and is now is a full-time writer, having been snapped up by HarperCollins and is represented by Oxford-based literary agent, Kate Nash.  With another book coming out early next year, we wish her every success.

Next up,  The Blonde Plotters, the complete trio of Jersey writing talent, Deborah Carr was joined by fellow plotters Gwyn G B, an experienced media professional and Kelly Clayton, who works in the finance industry.  Collectively, they had something other than their books to celebrate during 2019, the creation of  www.myvlf.com.

My Virtual Literary Festival is an inspired concept. A global virtual literary festival venue which Deborah, Kelly and Gwyn developed with the innovative web designers from the Jersey-based company Snap.

I spent a week at the Oxford Literary Festival in March this year and loved every inspirational minute of it, apart from the cost.  So, the Blonde Plotters have created a virtual literary festival for us all to enjoy… from the comfort of our own homes.

And… MyVLF it is free and, despite only being launched in April 2019, the site has, deservedly, already won awards.

MyVLF was born out of a love of books and the desire to connect readers and authors without the need to travel or spend a fortune attending a literary event.’

‘There is a lot of great writing out there, but only so many clients we can represent and provide the attention they deserve. We want to represent the authors whose writing we find it impossible to say ‘no’ to.’

Hot footing it around to Jersey Opera House we were enlightened by Kate Nash on the role and the expectations of literary agents. ‘What makes a best seller.’

Last, but by no means least, we puffed our way back to Jersey Arts Centre, to enjoy a session with fellow Jersey Writers Social Group member, Dreena Collins, who entertained a packed Maria Ritchie Room.

Dreena has mastered the art of short-story writing and her work has appeared in Mslexia, as well as having been listed in annual competitions, such as The Bridport Prize, Retreat West and Fish Publications.


Dreena has self-published two volumes of her short stories this year, The Blue Hour and The Day I Nearly Drowned, both are available on Amazon.   She is about to publish her third volume of short stories, after which she will start work on her first novel, which I for one, cannot wait to read.

Yesterday was an entertaining and inspiring day for many.

Thank you to the organisers of the Jersey Festival of Words 2019 for yet another brilliant festival.  Many of us were sad not to see the legend, that is Michael Parkinson, due to ill-health and we send him all good wishes for a speedy recovery.

My thanks must also go to the Blonde Plotters and Dreena Collins, all your achievements are a constant source of inspiration to me, and to Kate Nash for making me more motivated than ever to produce a manuscript an agent ‘will find it impossible to say, ‘no’, to.’

Published by Tessa Barrie

Blogger from Jersey, Channel Islands UK who believes life's too short to be niche. View more posts

Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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