Saturday, June 4, 2011
Stoke Newington Literary Festival
The second Stoke Newington Literary Festival once again is trying too hard. "When in Rome, do as Romans do" they say, but still I can hardly find words to describe my feelings for cycling section on a literary event (I can also suggest those who coasted comfortably to the meeting on their freewheels instead of pedalling the hell out of their fixies were banned from that meeting).
The writing workshop was probably nothing special for skilled speakers and writers (or should I say bloggers?), more a quiz game than a real study, but it was an unusual experience for us. I mean, an opportunity to listen to random people when they're trying to talk more wittily than in everyday life provides you with an understanding of the level your own jokes and tirades are at.
Also, the atmosphere was very good and you can't demand more from a social event which is not a lecture but a talk.
Another event we attended today was the celebration of Edgar Allan Poe who happened to to attend school here in Stock Newington, thus being the second great writer with a connection to the area after Daniel Defoe.
Unlike Defoe, Poe doesn't have a local pub named after him yet but a bust of him was unveiled today.
There was a moment on that event when I felt a bit awkward. The panel of contemporary authors sharing their own feelings about Poe and his legacy eventually started to discuss if he was a racist or just a man of his times. Predictably, someone mentioned the recent case with Mark Twain's books revision to get the N-words removed. The argument continued for 5 minutes or so, and nobody of the panel members didn't go for any euphemisms in discussion using the very N-word instead.
Again, as I am not a native speaker that could be just me and okay in the given context, but still to me that was quite a dissonance with all that lefty social problems agenda.
It might seem like I am only grumbling but actually I liked the festival as I liked the first one a year ago. I really do value events taking place outside of the Central London in so-called villages that bear their own local spirit and this for sure wasn't the worst one. Next year I will be visiting (and complaining!) as well, and it's a shame I'm working tomorrow and so will miss the last day and the closure.