Sunday, 13 September 2015

Dressing up time (The gala dinner - FOW15 diaries)

This time last week, the gala dinner was done and dusted - and I have no pictures from it at all. You'll just have to imagine the scene...

From DJ's to dirndls, sequins to sassy, we had it all. Even a vampire - complete with red silk lined cloak and eight inch high stand-up collar! Definitely a first for York...

The vast majority of folk were dressed up, though no-one was turned away if they were still in jeans. There didn't seem to be as many long frocks this year, more cocktail dresses than formal gowns. And a lot of the ladies wore trousers - I did, for a change. Some of the frocks were outstanding - special mention goes to the Writer's Workshop lass who was a veritable glitterball of a photographer...

The dining room (when we finally got in - they made us wait outside and it was freezing!) was a forest of red and black serviettes. I don't know how many folk sat down to dinner, but there were at least 33 tables, each with 8 people sitting round them.

The menu:
Prawn and salmon starter with lemon and dill cream.
Guinea fowl and veg. (Never eaten guinea fowl before - liked it.)
(Posh) Chocolate brownie with ice cream.
Coffee and mints.

After dinner, it was time for thank yous and competition winners. Flower maidens Jane and Moira, Hil, and Rachel were joined by 'the festival's poster boy', Imran. I can't remember all the competition winners, but I'll do my best. The children's star was a young man who wrote 'The Sound of Colour' (he also read at Friday Night Live). Best pitch was won by the same author who'd won Friday Night Live. (Interesting that her pitch was built from the opening few paragraphs of her book, all about her childhood with a veteran soldier father. And there was only one prize for best pitch, when previously there'd been information suggesting there would be two - one for an adult book, one for children's. Never did feel brave enough to collar the judges and ask what'd happened...) There was another prize, offered by a printing company, but I can't remember what it was for - the lady who won seemed utterly delighted anyway. And then there was The Big One - The Opening Chapter competition. I was dead chuffed to see a fellow cloudie, Sophie Wellstood, walk away with the prize.

There was the traditional self-edit course graduates photo - after 16 courses, there were loads of us! And it is so satisfying to see so many of those graduates who have gone on to reap the rewards of the course with MS requests, offers of representation and publishing contracts.

Then...Disco! We've been asking for one for the last few years. Whether WW finally gave in, or whether they decided to give us a treat for the WW 10th birthday celebrations, I'm not sure, but it was great fun. Several die-hard cloudies boogied the night away into the wee small hours, including Jody Klaire dancing on her new wheels and Dave Gaughran in The Hat. I was called a minx - whether because people saw me dancing, or the fact I was wearing a corset that didn't have much of a back to it, I do not know - but it was great to let our hair down. I think some folk found it too loud when the music started, but there was plenty of bar space or outside lounge to sit and chat if you wanted somewhere quieter...

I finally sloped off to bed just after half twelve, my feet killing me and my ears ringing; at least I got a bit more sleep than those who stayed up till 5am...

So tell me, what else did I miss?

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