‘It all begins with reading’: such were the wise words of author Priya Parmar who met with aspiring young writers during the Modernism-on-Sea Literature Festival at the weekend. Author of ‘Vanessa and her Sister’, which focuses on the intense relationship between Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, Miss Parmar stressed the importance of reading to understand how novels work and how writers manipulate the reader; she then gave a fascinating presentation about the research and writing process for her works, followed by a Q and A session with the audience.
The festival, which took place at Talbot Heath school in Bournemouth, combined lovers of literature, art and design of the Modernist period and featured Bloomsbury authors and nationally acclaimed art, design and history experts who held talks and led workshops. Students from AUB directed workshops on Type Printing and Modernism and Millinery, which proved to be very popular, and a number of site tours offered visitors the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful woodland campus of the school (which had temporarily been transformed into a beach). The Modernist buildings were designed in 1935 by a pupil of Lutyens and include features by Eric Gill, as well as interiors by Heals, and provided the perfect backdrop to the event.
The Head thanked both AUB and the TH staff, pupils and parents who were involved in making the event happen. Mrs Holloway acknowledged it was, ‘the sheer hard work, determination and enthusiasm of a small band of kindred spirits committed to the arts that enabled it to happen.’ Adding, ‘It made a statement about the sort of school, community and town we want to be in terms of our commitment to the arts.’