Delivering Your Dreams

Deliver your DreamsCookham Dean Cricket Club is an ideal place to spend a warm, sunny spring evening, especially when you can combine it with a Festival event. On Wednesday a panel of a local illustrator and three authors shared their passions for their crafts and told how they had worked to get their work published or performed.

Andrew Prewett told how he had moved from an outstanding career in advertising and product design – if you ever bought vinyl records you will almost certainly have bought them in sleeves designed by Andrew – to illustrating books for others and publishing his own cartoons.

Whilst still in full time employment, Cookham man Paul Connolly has spent the last 11 years of his life producing two novels, the second of which will be published in the next few days. We learnt something of the commitment, discipline and painstaking research necessary to achieve this.

After he retired, Andy Draper indulged his life-time’s passion for writing. He has had two plays performed in Cookham and is working on a third and the Festival gave him the opportunity to have one of his poems published in the anthology of the 2017 Cookham Festival Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition. Moving to Cookham had provided Andy with the inspiration to achieve these goals.

Publisher Sally Mortimer, from Two Rivers Press in Reading, gave the audience, and other panel members, insights to the publisher’s way of looking at things and how best to approach them with your own novel or poetry. Above all make sure you know your target readership, find a publisher who is comfortable with the type of work you are producing, have a saleable product and never give up.

Times journalist and critic Clive Davies acted as the panel chair, using his knowledge of the industry to skilfully guide the speakers through their presentations and to lead discussion at the end.

We learnt of the relative merits, and demerits of “vanity publishing”, “self-publishing”, literary agents, publishing houses, editors, marketing, illustration and much more besides. Many in the audience were observed hastily writing notes!

In this year’s Cookham Festival at least five events, not including the mass of graphic arts, have been specially written for the festival by local composers and playwrights. As Andy Draper noted, Cookham is a hotbed of creativity and “Delivering your Dreams” proved to be an excellent vehicle to encourage yet more people to join the creative journey and to show how to reach wider audiences outside Cookham. The success of the evening was reflected in the energetic Q&A session and the fact that most of the audience stayed on afterwards for a drink and a chance to engage with the panellists.

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