Last weekend, a few of us from Charing Cross Road travelled all the way to Suffolk to sell books in the middle of a field for Latitude Festival. We have sold books there for 3 years now, with the weather getting wetter with each successive year. 2 years ago it briefly rained on one afternoon; this year it rained all night for the first 2 nights and most of the 3rd day. This led to a lot of mud!
The Poetry Arena was more of a destination than it perhaps has been in previous years, with Blake Morrison, Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage (who has a new non-fiction book, Walking Home) and Benjamin Zephaniah drawing healthy crowds, with the last 3 selling out of books. Benjamin Zephaniah drew the biggest crowd the festival has seen for a literature event since Brett Easton Ellis was there 2 years ago.
The highlights of the weekend for me were the comedians who have written books. Dave Gorman's talk on his new book, Dave Gorman Vs the Rest of the World, was particularly funny, with stories of being locked in a dark attic in Wales waiting to play subbuteo and playing the world champions of various small British games. Russell Kane talked about his book, The Humorist; Simon Day talked about his experiences as a member of the Fast Show team and his struggle to overcome various addictions in his new book, Comedy and Error; Robin Ince, a regular at Latitude built on his success from the Infinite Monkey Cage to talk about science and sell copies of his Bad Book Club; and Miles Jupp talked about all things cricket and his book, Fibber in the Heat.
The non-fiction talks also did really well, with subjects ranging from beekeeping to Bruce Springsteen; from migraines to politics with John Pilger; and from last year's riots to brains. All in all the weekend was a success and we hope to do the book sales for Latitude for many years to come.