Chalke Valley History Festival, and Inspiration!

Chalke Valley History Festival 2012 has provided a glorious patchwork of history and literature – a delight for all history fans, and for wannabe historical fiction writers like me.
Nestled in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, a colourful red and yellow striped canvas roof hosted the seminar I attended on History Writing, where an impressive, hugely experienced and well informed panel of authors, agents and publishers freely gave their time and advice on a wide variety of questions the audience cast out to them.
Why do these experts take precious time out of their schedules to give such valuable advice at events like this? I’m very glad they do of course, and it’s a clear benefit to people like me, but what do they gain?
For agents and publishers, I can only assume that in one session, of one day, of one event, they hope they will find a golden nugget – an author with fabulous potential and the germ of an idea which they can nurture into a best seller.
That’s part of the excitement of events like the Chalke Valley History Festival – if you go, maybe you’ll have a chance encounter that could turn into a pivotal moment in your journey (writing for me, but so many other interests are catered for at the festival that it’s hard to pin them all down!).
It’s an ephemeral chance, and maybe you won’t realise the significance of the encounter until weeks, or even years, later. Just maybe a contact made there could be the key to achievement further down the path.
That links in my head to the ephemeral nature of inspiration, which can trickle slow and sluggish, or burst through a surprising crack in the rocks of everyday life. Sometimes it’s just a case of following the sound of the waterfall, and allowing yourself to be amazed when you find its source.
Chalke Valley History Festival is setting up a Trust “to improve the education of history in this country so that children reach adulthood with a proper sense of the past so as to make better sense of their future.”
What an amazing purpose – I do hope it’s the source of many a waterfall of inspiration for years to come.

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