Tag Archives: HULF 2015

Ali Bacon Reminisces about the First HULF

Ali Bacon with two authors

Ali Bacon, calmly controlling the packed programme of readings atht every first HULF in 2015 . To her far left is John Holland, organiser of Stroud Short Stories and also of HULF’s short stories programme.

As we gear up for HULF 2020 this April, Ali Bacon, prize-winning Scottish author of novels and short-stories and a regular fixture in the HULF speakers’ list, shares her delight in watching the event develop since its inception back in 2015.

Times past and times to come, or, Ask not what HULF can do for you…!

I’m one of those lucky people who through a variety of circumstances (bumping into Debbie Young at the right time and not having much in my diary!) became involved in HULF at the very beginning.

What an impact that first evening made and what a joy it has been to see it grow and develop from year to year.

Remembering the First Ever HULF

On that very first day I remember sitting outside the back door of the pub issuing directions.

It’s great to think how many of the acquaintances I made on that day have been have been renewed from year to year and how some have become real friends in the real or virtual world.

What was my role that night?

I remember moving a few seats (which Debbie moved back because she knows best!) and being part of a reading in a tent. The most challenging part was helping chair a short story session where there was very stiff competition from the non-literary revellers in the bar!

From One Night in the Pub to a Whole-Day Event

From there we quickly progressed to a whole day event, with panel discussions as well as readings, still based in the pub, but with a slightly calmer ambience during daylight hours!

A children’s book tent was added and the ‘young people’ strand has grown alongside poetry workshops and advice on publishing.

Subsequently HULF expanded into extra spaces – Methodist Chapel, Bethesda Chapel, the primary school and the village hall.  Last year we had a ‘proper’ book shop as well as the luxury of the village hall for auditorium-style presentations.

Wow. And all of this is free!

Yes, it’s free in terms of ticketing, but it’s not exactly something for nothing. There is simply no charge for the vast amount of work undertaken by Debbie. And of course we writers (some of whom come considerable distances) understand our services are provided on the same basis –we bring something to the show in exchange for the chance to meet people, network and sell a few books.

Since 2018 this has also been put on a more formal footing (and quite right too). It’s not enough to wait for an email from Debbie, we must apply to be there and ‘set out our stall’.

What can I bring? It’s a very good question – I’ve read short stories and from novels, I’ve discussed being a writer with many different hats – contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and as a writer inspired by art. So ‘what next’ for HULF is also what next for me…

We’re pleased to announce that Ali Bacon will be taking part in the HULF2020 event “Around the World in 8ish Books”, chaired by Caroline Sanderson at 4pm, in which she’ll be putting Scotland on the map with a reading from her masterful novel, In the Blink of an Eye, about early photography pioneers in Edinburgh.

image of Ali Bacon headshot with the cover of In the Blink of an EyeAli Bacon writes novels and short stories and is lucky enough to live in South Gloucestershire just down the road from Hawkesbury Upton. She has been at every festival so far and manned the Festival tent at Hawkesbury Show a few times too. Find out more at alibacon.com or on Twitter @AliBacon