Out of the Hat

The final, happy action from 2018’s Clapham Book Festival was to draw the name of the lucky winner of our prize raffle. Many of the management committee gathered, most appropriately, at The Windmill on the Common last Wednesday evening to do this very thing.

The draw was made by Ben Evans, General Manager of The Windmill, as the star prize was an overnight stay for two with breakfast at said Windmill, the boutique hotel in the old coaching inn on Clapham Common which, some claim, is the inn at which Lydia and Wickham from Pride and Prejudice were last sighted as they took a hansom cab into London.

The winner, Mr David Cambridge, is a resident of Clapham and it was his first visit to the Clapham Book Festival where he attended Walls Have Ears, with Clare Mulley, Henry Hemming and Simon Berthon.  He said that he enjoyed it and will definitely be back next year.

It wasn’t all fun and larks on Wednesday, though it was very enjoyable, as we hadn’t met since the end of May. We also had a full Board meeting, discussing the comprehensive due diligence exercise that needs to be undertaken in the late Summer/Autumn to prepare for next year’s Festival, which is likely to take place in the Autumn. This means reviewing all our options as regards venue or venues, how we sell books, what our marketing strategy should be, as well as how we reach out to the local community.  As part of this exercise we have been speaking with the organiser of Balham Literary Festival, (and owner of Dulwich Books) which also takes place in south London in Spring. There’s also lots of learning to be had from other literary festivals in the London area.

That will be happening later in the year, but the search for sponsorship and funding continues year round and two of our number are already determining their strategy to approach Clapham businesses. I, meanwhile, will be drafting a bid for funds from our local authority (hot on the heels of appearing at their Country Show, see photo, left, of The History Girls event). We will all be searching for other funding opportunities, including approaching some national companies with an offer for them to be single major sponsors. It really is a fallacy that organising an event like a book festival isn’t an all-year-round job, because it is!

In the meantime, up-coming Clapham Writers events include a book stall at Clapham Fete on 1st September and a visit to Brixton jail later that month.  We’ll also be checking out how we might bring the Festival, or elements of it, to people who would like to go, but cannot get to it, e.g. in a local hospice. The outreach work also continues.

For more about the Clapham Book Festival, visit its web-site, or the web-site of Clapham Writers, or why not try some other posts, like                 Clapham Book Festival 2018: How’d it go?                                Clapham Book Festival 2017                           Omnibus Edition: Clapham’s Literary Festival 2016

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