Spanish & English literary work by London-based translator and writer Fátima López Sevilla. (http://fatimalopezsevilla.com)

North London Literary Festival 2013 (Part II)

The second day of the NLLF13 was for me only half a day, as I only could make it in the afternoon. I made it in time for the Poetry Slam.

There was some interesting work here, starting with the beautiful ‘Gazelle’ by Ruth. Some other poets followed until Muhammad, who really surprised me and reminded me of Grand Corps Malade with his poem ‘If I were to have a son’.

Ruth reading 'Gazelle'.

Ruth reading ‘Gazelle’.

Muhammad and his 'If I were to have a son'.

Muhammad and his ‘If I were to have a son’.


One of the finalist and her tiger experience.

One of the finalist and her tiger experience.

Another surprise was the tale of one of the finalists, telling us about a sort of party for singles with different activities and her favourite one, where they had to get on all fours and look for someone of the opposite sex and ‘play tigers’. She made it all very sensual and appealing.

The businesswoman and the expired God were some surprising subjects for poems too.

It was a good experience to see how the slam is perceived and created here, and I really liked it.

DSCN3597 DSCN3596 DSCN3601 DSCN3600 DSCN3606 DSCN3609 DSCN3613 DSCN3615 DSCN3616 DSCN3610 DSCN3585


I just had time to applaud Miranda, the winner, and both finalists and run to get a coffee to keep me up and alert for the last panel before the tribute to James Herbert.

We had a little bit of magic while the jury took its decision.

We had a little bit of magic while the jury took its decision.

The winner, Miranda.

The winner, Miranda.

The last panel was called ‘Faber How to get published?’ and included the interventions of members of the Faber Academy, from Faber & Faber. So, how to get published? They said this is a very difficult question to answer, but that the first step should be to do your homework: find about the agents: who has been an agent of the kind of books you like and have written.

They talked about another tricky subject: submission letters. Their advice: keep it simple: write the title of the book and a short synopsis. Explain briefly who you are and why you think they may be interested.

Finally, they reminded us that getting published is all about getting engaged, as is a process that can take around two or three years.

Later, they talked about this process from the point of view of an editor. As an editor, they said, you are looking for a voice that attracts your imagination. They also gave this simple tip as an answer to the question ‘As an agent, could you give tips for a young writer about his/her cover letter?’: Be honest.

Angus Cargill told us that is important to get different opinions, comments and feedback before submitting, as other people can see things that you can’t see.  > How many times teachers and professor told us to leave our papers and essays rest for a day or two before the last revision?

Richard Skinner warned us: Never write for the marketplace, just write the book you want to write. > Sometimes, in our haste for being published, we forget that is an act of love and passion: if we get bored or write about something we don’t like, it’s not going to be as good as if we are writing something we would later enjoy reading.

About this, Clare Conville specified: you need a community of writers, someone to be a little bit tough, if needed, as your family and friends are always going to love whatever you do.

To finish, she talked about rejection letters, clarifying that ‘they’re not personal, it’s business’, so you have to believe in yourself, as Angus said, as every published author has at last a book that hasn’t been published.

The day finished finished with the emotive tribute to James Herbert.

Tribute to James Herbert. Tribute to James Herbert.

They were two wonderful days, full of new things for me: interesting workshops, really informative panels and recharged energy and confidence to keep on writing.

Though I still lack a time-turner.


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Blog ‘Entre dos lenguas’

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Literary work: HootWriting