Try It


I had the enormous pleasure of interviewing both Raymond Blanc and Claudia Roden at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last week. Food always plays a large part in the programme of events and it was brilliant to see everyone from Grace Dent to Pen Vogler on the bill.
Interviewing anyone before a live audience is nerve-wracking (the audience for Raymond Blanc numbered 1,200) but with two legends of food almost back-to-back, I felt a huge responsibility to make sure I allowed them to share plenty of stories from their “back catalogue” of experiences, while also doing my duty of promoting their latest books.

Doing plenty of background reading and really finding little moments within each title to draw on is essential, but I was also helped by their respective PRs with a few briefing notes and thoughtful instructions to – I paraphrase – bring them back on track as required!

I’m happy to say each of the sessions went really well and the audiences (and agents) were complimentary, which is lovely to hear. But no small part was played by Blanc and Roden both knowing that straight book-plugging doesn’t make the best conversation. And that’s worth bearing in mind for everyone – have a script, but please meander from it…


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