Sheila Hancock – A New Debut

Over the past few weeks, the folks behind Cheltenham Literature Festival have been spoon-feeding us the line-up for this year’s event in October. The full list will be available from August 8th, but in celebration of the big names who have already agreed to speak at the festival – including Salman Rushdie and Patrick Gale – I am reblogging, ‘Sheila Hancock – A New Debut’, a post I wrote after seeing the popular author/actress speak at the festival last year and one that I feel is suitably inspirational for the aspiring novelist.

Bellyful of Art

Sheila 2 (1 of 1)Even famous people feel intimidated, or so I’m told. Still, it’s hard to picture an Olivier award-winning actress cowering in the corner of a literature festival green room, isn’t it? And yet…

The evening began wet and noisy. Rain bounced off the roof of The Times Forum tent at Cheltenham’s Literature Festival and almost as soon as she had begun, Sheila Hancock – OBE, CBE, actor, director and writer – was prompted to stop mid-sentence and thank her audience for venturing out to see her in such awful conditions. Collectively, her avid listeners laughed; Hancock, ever-youthful in a smart/casual ensemble, beamed genuine gratitude back.

It was one of the final days of the popular festival and Sheila Hancock, like so many others, was there to promote her latest book. But unlike her literary counterparts, the RADA-trained actress seemed almost embarrassed to be speaking at all, admitting that in the four…

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