The Bold Strokes Books festival weekend never fails to surprise us. Every year, we wonder if it’s still relevant, if people will turn up, if they’ll enjoy it if they do show up. And every year, our worries prove unfounded. As the dust settles on a successful tenth anniversary festival, the social networks are abuzz with positive feedback, with stories of books and authors and people, with tales of first meetings and the meetings of old friends. We saw more new faces again this year, and every one of them said how welcoming and safe the event was for them. One lady told me that she very rarely went out, and if she did, she never did it alone, but she made an exception for this event. She was ecstatic that she had, because…
Words and books have created a community that is bigger than the tall tales we write. Our festival has become something more than the books and authors we celebrate and get to know. It’s become a safe haven, a place where people full of social anxieties have the courage to venture to Nottingham because they’ve heard how wonderful it is, because they’ve met authors at Prides and been inspired to take a leap of faith and explore beyond their usual confines, to attend a weekend of books and literature all about LGBTQ people in a place where they’ll feel at home. I can’t put this any better than Isabelle Lonitz’s description: “Not the kind where you enter your front door and go back to your life you’re not entirely happy with. But the all-encompassing one that fills you with a deep sense of belonging and acceptance.” Being part of something that means so much to so many people, being responsible for organising a weekend of events for those people, that’s something special. It’s a privilege, and it’s one we don’t take lightly.
But I digress slightly. This year we heard how one reader met the love of their life at last year’s event; romance leapt off the page and gave them their own happy ending. Another two people met in a different setting but cemented their budding relationship over the weekend amongst our special community. We heard of budding writers feeling encouraged to chase their dreams, buoyed by the successful stories of BSB authors who were living their dream and shared their experience with the audience. Dedicated readers told us how much they appreciated the informality of the event and being able to get to know authors on a more personal level.
So thank you all, readers and authors who attended, in making the tenth annual Bold Strokes Books festival such a huge success. We’re glad you felt seen, we’re ecstatic that you enjoyed it so much, and we’re stoked that our festival is a place you feel safe. In today’s climate, against the backdrop of rising hate crime against our people, we’re honoured to provide a special place that sits apart from, and yet alongside, that reality.
As a little favour, we’d like to ask those who attended to give us your feedback. What did you think about our lovely Bold Strokes Books festival weekend? Let us know by clicking here 🙂
And if you did enjoy the event, you can already book your tickets for next year’s event right here.
Happy reading, lovely people, and we can’t wait to see you all again next year 🙂
Be gentle with yourselves,
Robyn and Brey