Katherine’s In The Garden This Year

Today’s Virtual Swanwicker is Katherine Bolton, former Vice Chairman and events organiser, well-known to regulars for her meditation sessions by the lake each morning. To me, she’s simply my friend who’s never far away when I’m wearing a silly outfit for fancy dress night, on the dance floor trying to remember the moves in the macarena, or wrapped in a blanket, sipping hot chocolate and searching for shooting stars at 2am.  

Good morning Katherine; great to see you today. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your writing.

I have always been interested in books and reading since an early age.  My parents were business owners and being an only child meant time not spent at school was with them at work, and our shop was opposite our local library.  It became my treat to go over to the library and come back weighed down with arms full of books to read while they worked.  And so began a lifelong passion with books. 

In my late twenties I underwent long term treatment for a serious health condition and that was my perfect opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream of going to Roehampton University (National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature) and study writing and the process of reading.  It also meant I had a placement at the V&A to help catalogue their children’s literature collection.  Coming out of Uni with a masters and my health improving meant I could then move to France to finally open my retreat, and instead of it just being a wellbeing retreat, it was also the WRITE RETREAT, a place where authors could come and work on their projects. 

My own writing is predominantly business related, but I’ve just written 200 mindfulness scripts which my husband and I are about to record and make available, along with affirmation cards.  As usual it’s all a juggling act of finding the time

What’s your link to Swanwick? Have you been attending for many years? 

I’ve been coming for about 16 years, and it is a fixture in my calendar.  I’ve been quite involved via committee work, and also various things in the background.  But I guess most people would know me for either the Morning Mediation by the Lake or the entertainment.

After dinner speakers are a highlight of the week at Swanwick. Given an unlimited budget and access to any writer, living or dead, who would you invite to speak? 

I would love to have Jed Mercurio as I just love whatever he writes, and it’s amazing how his mind works to create so many puzzles which, after the denouement, make perfect sense.  I think he would make a great speaker for Swanwick.   I’ve attached a photo of a group of us at a speaker just before fancy dress disco, all listening intently but completely fancied dress-ed up.  I think Jed would love an audience like that.

And as Jed’s still very much with us, who knows? Maybe next year. Finally, give us a picture that represents VS2021 to you, and tell us why

I struggled to choose just one photo.  The one of me finding a moment to myself meditating is a special memory as it is just me being at one with Swanwick and absorbing all the energy and even though I can’t be in AS this year, through this photo I feel connected to everyone.  But I also love the one of Kate, Rachel and myself as that also sums up Swanwick, it’s all about friendship.  Writing is what attracts us to Swanwick, but it is friendships that keeps us returning each year.

Thanks for dropping by, Katherine. Let’s hope we’ll be back in Derbyshire next year for more shenanigans (I mean hard work!)

Folks, a reminder of today’s programme at Virtual Swanwick: Lift Up Your Pens (Facebook from 9am); Poetry Corner with Geoff (Skype 11.30am); Worldbuilding with Mark (Facebook sometime during the day); Dregs party/VS Farewell (6pm Zoom).

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By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

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