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Fifty Shades, Forrest and Festival

Whatever you think about the content of her work, you cannot ignore the incredible effect EL James (Erika James) has had on publishing. Fifty shades of grey started as a personal project for fun with some friends but has completely exploded into a global phenomenon. It has been fascinating to read the Sunday supplements about who she is - not an American based author as you may have thought but based in Essex... . Her husband, Niall Leonard, has also benefitted from this with a 3 book deal – her success could only have helped with this. Not only is her success an inspiration to all aspiring authors but the demand for her books and paper for them to be printed led to workers at paper mills being taken on again ! The colour grey will never seem so dull again...

The name Jeremy Forrest will send a shudder down the spine of parents of any teenage girls. As a parent of two teenage girls, both whom have received private extra maths tuition, the news of him and Megan Stammers running away together was a scary example of a pupil / teacher relationship. What has made me so concerned about this encounter is the lack of care shown by the school. The situation had been flagged up with them by fellow pupils concerned about what had happened on a trip to America with hand holding on the plane. Why on earth were her parents not informed about this inappropriate relationship? If they had been informed, surely this would not have happened? As an ex school governor at a primary school, I know there are rules and regulations about all conceivable areas – if strict regulations over inappropriate relationships are not in place in secondary schools, it is an area that seriously needs to be addressed.

And finally, I love literary festivals. For those of you that came to the New Writers UK festival a couple of weeks ago, I hope you had a lovely time there. It is an inspiration to see so many people who have attended previous festivals now being published authors themselves. It is also great to see so many children entering the event we hold to encourage writing through Nottinghamshire libraries – several have entered over a number of years now with consistent success. The excitement in their eyes when they win an award is great to see and I hope the experience will give them all confidence in their abilities to succeed in literature and in life.

As we move forward into the long autumn nights, here’s to lots of great festivals and concerts as we move towards half term – I refuse to think about Christmas yet!

Best wishes,

Awen Little

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