The Greenwich Book Festival takes place each year and I went along this year to see Emma Gannon talk to Dolly Alderton.
The Greenwich Book Festival was being hosted in one of my favourite places in London and the lovely Jessie from InBetweenDays invited me along to Emma Gannon’s talk with Dolly Alderton. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I arrived in Greenwich and promptly headed to Cutty Sark to get an outfit photo with a Starbucks stop along the way. I have always found the Cutty Sark a majestic ship, it was the ship that bought tea to the UK and it looks so proud next to the Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
The courtyard in the Old Royal Naval College was set up with stalls and food booths for the festival with picnic blankets littered around on the grass. I loved the fact that the Bridgit Bakery was there advertising their afternoon tea on a bus. I have experienced this before, check out my review here.
We headed to the Emma Gannon talk with Dolly Alderton, two women who really have been revolutionising the world of work and their perspective on their careers is refreshing. It was Emma’s birthday so we all sang her ‘Happy Birthday’ while Dolly handed her a cake. I caught a few excerpts of their interviews below:
Emma Gannon: “I had my first book deal at 21 so I do feel more grown up since the last book. I am 29 years old today!”
On her memoirs, Dolly Anderton said: “It is awkward having your personal experiences out there and occasionally you have times when your primary school teacher knows about the time you had cocaine. I do have rare times when I feel quite sick. Writing a memoir is like therapy… you are writing about stuff you are on your other side of.”
Emma: “It’s amateur writing about things you are currently in. It’s unfair on you and on your reader. I’m a different person to the person I was writing my previous book ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’.”
Dolly: “I kept all my girl names in my book. I got used to disguising identities writing my column. Even men who treated me badly had their names changed because they will have families now etc.”
On her book research process:
Emma: “It reminded me of a lot university. My agent said you have to keep a record of your research. I wanted to create something that was lifestyle version of book which was fun and accessible whilst being inspiring and motivational. The Waterstones business section is mainly men, I wanted to be taken seriously and I hope I achieved that. The only way it worked is that it’s not about me. I didn’t want to say follow my path, I wanted someone not in London or media to take something from it.
On their relationship with confidence:
Emma: ” You can’t be confident every day, but be in touch with those feelings too. Know you have off days.”
Dolly: “Getting older has taught me that life can be quite shit. Know that things go wrong, you will mess up and things will go wrong. The more you surrender and accept that life is highs and lows, bad days are a part of the process. If you are default happy, then you are boring.”
Dolly: “I used to be frazzled all the time. I have learnt to give myself time off and take that Thursday afternoon off. When I got my first book deal, I felt like a fraud and I didn’t deserve it. My friend said I’ve seen you work hard on this and I needed her to remind me of that. If you want a multi hyphen career, you will need to learn that you are going have to work hard. For years I associated a busy life with being tired and it takes a while to realise that I don’t need to do that any more. I’ve put the hours in. At the moment I’m writing the pilot tv episode for ‘Everything about Love’ and I don’t know if it will be made yet. It’s all a part of the process. I’ve realised that I’ve earned the right not to be so stressed out all the time.”
Emma: I don’t have imposter syndrome as bad now as I’m coming up to 10 years of writing online. If it wasn’t beginning to pay off, I would be really worried. I knew I had to put a decade of hard work and write on a Sunday night.”
On picking one job:
Dolly: “I’m not committed to one job. If you feel drained about one job like I was about journalism, you can try another career. You have to be careful about drowning the negative voices out. If you don’t believe yourself then you won’t be happy in your career.”
“I want to write more fiction. For the last 6 months, I’ve been swimming in the pool of the shallowest waters in my brain. I’ve decided to take a month to travel around on my own and get off social media for a month. Increasing you read about people doing it. We will look at this history about strange moment in time.”
I had a great time at the Emma Gannon/Dolly Anderton talk and it was great to hear two inspirational women talk with such passion about their books and chosen careers. I hope you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to give my blog a follow if you did,