A day at the Charing Cross Road Fest

I saw last minute that the second edition of the Charing Cross Road Fest was taking place at the weekend, so on Saturday, intrigued, I decided to step into the belly of the London tourist beast. At Trafalgar Square, there was something I hadn’t even realised was happening, West End Live. This turned out to be a free event showcasing everything Theatreland has to offer, with performances from every musical I could think of, attracting huge crowds. Up Charing Cross Road then, and once the masses of people who seemed incapable of moving at a normal, human speed turned left for Leicester Square and no doubt M&M World (currently London’s most inexplicable tourist attraction), I could see what the event was all about…

The Charing Cross Road Fest, ‘a cultural festival at the heart of literary London’ was a weekend of events in various venues up and down the street, and certainly lived up to its billing. Foyles held everything from talks with authors (including Terry Deary, the author of Horrible Histories, which was sadly all booked up), cookery demos, and live music, to a Felt Monster workshop for kids. It was also heartening to see an ‘indie publishers bazaar’, with stalls from a few different independent publishers, giving them the opportunity to talk directly to people about what they do and answer questions (I saw more than a couple of people ask for advice on how to get into publishing!). Blackwells and various other bookshops joined in the fun too, with similar events across the weekend. Sadly though, the ‘bar bibliothèque’ at Pleasure of Past Times, with wine available, was only happening on Sunday…

So the weekend offered a real rarity in London, a series of events for all the family that could be enjoyed for absolutely nothing, something you wish could happen more often!

Note: These discoveries and many more have come to me via @SkintLondon, a great Twitter account that’s increasingly becoming my lifeline!

Sarah Fortune, currently doing work experience at A&B

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