Jericho Writers’ guide to The Festival of Writing 2018.
This handy guide has everything you need to know for The Festival of Writing 2018. Including:
How to get there
What to wear!
Mobility and Dietary issues
We’ll be sending a more comprehensive information pack to all delegates ahead of the festival. However, if you have any other queries, don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)345 459 9560.
Where is the Festival of Writing?
The Festival of Writing is held at The University of York, West Campus every year.
Festival events all take place in the Exhibition Centre, Central Hall and Roger Kirk Centre. All meals, including breakfast, are in the Galleria restaurant in the Roger Kirk Centre.
Accommodation locations: Campus accommodation is in en-suite bedrooms in James College. James College’s porter is available 24 hours and located in the Roger Kirk Centre entrance facing the car park. Should James College rooms be sold out, you will be allocated an ensuite bedroom of an equal standard elsewhere on campus.
When do I submit?
You’re able to submit now! If you have secured your place at the Festival of Writing, we should have sent you an email with a link to submit your work. If you haven’t received this, check your spam folder or contact us on email@example.com. The deadline for submission is the 24th August 2018. Please don’t forget to submit before then!
What do I need to prepare?
You need to prepare a submission for EACH of your one-to-one sessions:
In each document, please compile the following:
Your cover letter (no more than one page)
Your synopsis (no more than one page)
The first 3,000 words of your manuscript
The document should include a header or footer with the following information:
The title of your work
The name of the book doctor/agent you’re going to see
The day and time of your appointment
Please compile all of this into one, single document for each session you are booked into. We can ONLY accept Word files, or PDFs.
Don’t forget to personalise it! You are pitching to a specific agent or book doctor, it doesn’t hurt to do your research and find out a bit about them.
What’s the difference between an Agent and a Book Doctor?
Both agents and book doctors will adopt a variety of approaches.
Agents are there to answer the question: is this work marketable as it stands? Be aware that agents may sometimes only need to read a few pages of your work to answer this question effectively. That’s not because they’re lazy: it’s because they’re good at their jobs, and their feedback is invaluable.
Book doctors are there to answer the question: what steps do I need to take to make my work marketable? With the book doctor (but not normally with the agent), you will get brief written notes summarising comments.
I’m nervous, how do I approach an agent?
There is no need to get anxious about this pitch. Whether an agent takes you on will not depend on how eloquent you are. The only thing that ever persuades an agent is the quality of your manuscript. Please think of the pitch simply as a way of introducing the rest of the discussion.
Remember that no agent is going to agree to represent you based on a ten-minute slot alone. Any agent will need to see and consider your manuscript in full. At this stage, your aim is to make contacts that could help you down the road.
And finally, please remember that a big part of the Festival is the opportunity to socialise with agents, authors and editors. The one-to-one sessions are the most formal part of proceedings, but we hope you will chat to agents over tea or in the evening. Some of the best contacts are made this way. Although, be careful not to be over-demanding. The Agents and Book Doctors are there to have fun too, so try not to monopolise their attention, it may not work in your favour!
Festival of Writing Competitions
How to Submit
Friday Night Live
This competition is open to Full Festival Weekend ticket holders only.
Once you have purchased your ticket:
Compile an extract of 500 words from your manuscript into a new Word document. Documents should be double-spaced and in Times New Roman font, size 11. Please do not put your name on this document.
The name under which you purchased your Festival ticket.
How they work
Friday Night Live
Friday Night Live will be taking place in the Roger Kirk Centre after dinner on Friday, attendance is optional but strongly encouraged. (Also, it’s in the same room as the bar!)
Friday Night Live works like this:
Each selected piece will be read out loud by the author to the assembled audience. (We’ll be selecting who will be reading close to the festival, we’ll email you directly if you have been selected. If you haven’t been emailed by the time you reach the festival, you’ll be able to find out who is speaking on the day.)
After each declamation, we’ll have a swift on-the-spot verdict given by an expert panel that will include a professional author and a professional agent.
At the end of the session, which will last approximately forty minutes, there will be an audience vote to determine the overall winner.
The winner of the event will be awarded a bottle of champagne and the adulation of the Festival. (Oh, and in 2014, having won the Friday Night Live Comp, Joanna Cannon walked away with seven offers from literary agents! And, she’s not the only one.)
Best Opening Chapter
The Best Opening Chapter winner will be decided by one of our literary agent guests (TBA shortly). The winner will be announced at the Saturday Gala dinner.
The Pitch Perfect winner will be decided by one of our literary agent guests (TBA shortly). The winner will be announced at the Saturday Gala dinner.
Dining and Dress Code
Most meals will be buffet style, and there will be no seating plans drawn up. Although you will certainly want to spend time with your friends, do make sure that you meet and socialise with as many people as possible. Make sure that you don’t monopolise any key individuals, either – they won’t enjoy it, and you’ll be depriving fellow writers of the opportunity.
There is no formal dress code for the Festival – though as it’s in Yorkshire, we’d suggest you bring some clothes suitable for cold or wet weather.
At the Gala dinner on Saturday evening, we would welcome a rather more formal, festive feel. No one will be turned away if they’re looking scruffy, but cocktail dresses and jackets would set the tone just right. Tiaras and Top Hats are always encouraged.
How do I get there?
Rail: York is on the main East Coast Line from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh. There is also a direct service across between York, Leeds and Manchester Airport.
The University is two miles from the railway station and you will need to get a bus or taxi onto campus. A journey by taxi from York Railway Station to the University takes from 15 to 20 minutes. There is a taxi rank just outside the station. The University’s recommended taxi company is Ebor Taxis (01904 641441) and taxi firms may advise on cost.
Bus: There are regular bus services between the University and York Railway Station. Both the number 4 (First York) and the number 44 (Uni Bus) travel to the university (Heslington West). The Number 4 bus from the railway station travels to Heslington Hall via University Road from Monday to Saturday around every 10 minutes and on Sunday, around every 15 minutes. The scheduled journey time is 20 minutes. Alight on University Road and follow campus signs for the Exhibition Centre (5 minutes’ walk).
Coach: National Express coaches stop at the railway station. More details are available from their online coach timetable.
Car: The easiest route to the University is to take the outer ring road (A64 on the south and east sides of the city, A1237 around the north and west) to the junction with the Hull/Bridlington roads (A1079/A166). Turn off at the exit marked University and follow the signs past Grimston Bar and down Field Lane to University Road. This route avoids the City centre and known traffic blackspots.
If you are using a satellite navigation system, the University’s postcode is YO10 5DD.
Car parking is free for all delegates. If coming by car on the Friday, you’ll need to collect a parking hanger from the registration desk (weekend parking is free to all, so no hanger necessary). Please leave the document visible in your car windscreen. We recommend that you use the South Car Park – this will be close to your accommodation and the major locations used in the Festival.
Accommodation, dietary and mobility issues
All events will be on the University campus. All dining and accommodation facilities are likewise on the central campus.
Accommodation for the Festival consists of basic, university halls bedrooms with a single bed and en-suite. Bed linen and bath towels are provided, along with complimentary toiletries, tea and coffee facilities and hairdryers. If you have any problems at all with your room on arrival, please let conference staff know so any issue can be remedied straight away.
This year we have also introduced a ‘Safe Space’ for anyone feeling overwhelmed. This is a quiet room just off the main foyer and offers anyone feeling anxious a place to collect their thoughts. The location of this will be in your programme map when you arrive.
All lecture theatres and most seminar rooms have hearing loops. Most buildings have an accessible lavatory, and there are disabled refuges throughout the campus with an ‘intercom’. All public access buildings on the campus have lifts.
The University of York is highly experienced at running large, complex events. If you have concerns and have mentioned these on your booking form, the University will be aware in advance, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
If you haven’t already done so, please get in touch straight away on firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us of any mobility issues.
We will do everything we can to accommodate dietary needs. Most meals are buffet service, so please ask staff if you need clarification about ingredients.
For the Saturday Gala dinner, if you are vegetarian or have alerted us to a food allergy, we will give you a small card to display next to you on the table to help waiting staff identify you.
Please note you must inform us in advance of any dietary issues or we cannot promise to accommodate you on the day.
Don’t forget, we’re here to help. If you have any other queries, don’t hesitate to contact us on email@example.com or +44 (0)345 459 9560.