The Causley Festival of Arts and Literature 2022- A View from the Other Side …
What a year July has been.
Each day of the rosy month was filled with planning, planning and more planning for our wonderful annual literary and arts festival, which ran from 29th-31st July 2022 in Launceston, Cornwall. You may not know this, but we are a small team here at the Causley Trust. Though we can boast connections with wonderful people and organisations nationally & internationally, the office team consists of five smart, strong, incredibly hard-working women. Together we built this year’s festival from the ground up.
Thursday night saw us sitting at the kitchen table in Charles’s home, Cyprus Well, tucked neatly into a side street of lovely Launceston. We made calls, wrote emails, confirmed final plans about gazebo set-ups and workshop arrangements into the late hours. All weekend, we felt his presence in this town we are proud to have populated with author readings, poetry tours, musical performances, historical ghost walks and creative workshops of all varieties, among other literary delights.
We hosted Vahni Anthony Capildeo, the Trust’s sensational artist in residence, we had workshops from writers David Devanny, Katrina Naomi, Mary J Oliver and Cathy Galvin, and the blessing of Launceston’s mayor, Councillor Leighton Pehnhale, in an opening ceremony of sorts, the backdrop of the stunning Guildhall in the Town Hall, Bookery staff on hand to sell beautiful copies of poets local and far-reaching, and more tea and cake than we knew what to do with. Friends of Charles came to share with us some wonderful anecdotes from decades past, and we were lucky enough to meet many people who were taught to read and write by the man himself. Charles exists as the thread running through this beautiful, picturesque town, and after having spent the week in their company, we are still left bereft of anyone in Launceston who has a bad word to say about him. A gentleman through and through, we are told and readily believe.
From our current vantage point, a week removed from the events, we are tired but proud of the legacy we are working to protect. We can but hazard a guess as to what Charles might have thought of our work and the festival that was born from our blood, sweat & tears – perhaps he would have told us to stop giving tours of his sitting room! But we like to believe he’d be happy to put his name to a weekend that delivered bespoke, intimate literary events to some kind and lovely people from Launceston and beyond, shared with people who knew & loved Charles when he was alive, as well as people who picked up Patrick Gale’s unparalleled Mother’s Boy one day, couldn’t put it down, and found themselves drawn to the humble town where the people’s poet spent his life. Kindness and enjoyment were our currencies, and the connections made and poems written in this week will tide us over until we can all meet again. Of this, we hope he would be proud.
For now, we are drawing the curtains in Cyprus Well and tucking our favourite author back into the safety of typewriter keys, bookshelves, and a comfortable chair to rest his feet.
Until next time, Launceston.