An Idea is Born
Updated: Aug 30, 2018
The MLF’s cofounder and author of Liverpool’s A Sense of Place blog, Ronnie Hughes, tells us the story of the Mystery Literary Festival’s mysterious beginnings…
It all began one day last autumn when a group of us were gathered in a church hall in Wavertree talking about ideas for things we might do in and around the local park, known to all of us as The Mystery (for reasons that are a whole other story). “Well,” said one of the group, “The Mystery? It sounds like it could be a literary festival. One all about mystery stories, doesn’t it?” And so, an idea was born, one that’s about to come true. In between its birth and its realisation, as is the way with most ideas, a good deal has happened around who’s involved and what the festival might look like? But it’s still about mystery stories and it’s happening right next to The Mystery itself, very soon. And that’s good, I’d say, as someone who lives nearby. Twenty-seven years, in fact, I’ve lived here now. Two roads away from the rolling, big sky, field that is The Mystery. One of Liverpool’s bigger parks, though you’d never know it, as it keeps itself pretty much to itself. But I’ve walked and run here with friends and babies through long ago Liverpool Festivals and football games, in snow and sunshine and still here wildflower days, and I love the place like it’s home. Because it is. So, I’m so pleased Lucy and her team have got this happening now, this Mystery Literary Festival. More than happy, too, to have been a supporting member of the team. In our early gatherings about possible places, swapping books and stories between us, and getting help with our idea from The Beautiful Ideas Co. A lot of encouragement from them, and a little money too when it was really needed, like they’ve done now with so many other Liverpool ideas. Thank you. We thought we’d ask if we might run the Festival in Holy Trinity, the lovely Georgian church overlooking The Mystery… So, like in a real story, Lucy and I went to meet the Vicar there, then the Parish Reading Group and, next, the rest of the Congregation at a Coffee Morning in their church hall, where we’d first heard the idea.
And their answer was “Yes.” That they’d love to run the Festival with us in their church. Opening up their friendly place to us and everyone else in Liverpool one special September weekend. Very soon now. In between times I’ve done very little beyond a few occasional words of encouragement when Lucy’s asked me. So, when you come to the Festival, and I hope you will, it’s Lucy, Jen, Alex and the people of the parish you’ll have to thank for putting on what I think is going to be a special couple of days in such a special place. An idea’s only an idea, after all, until some people decide to make it happen. And now this one will, on Saturday and Sunday the 22nd and 23rd September. Don’t forget. A celebration of mystery stories, the writing and reading of them, put on for the love of it, by the people of this place, this Liverpool. And maybe this one will be just the first Mystery Literary Festival? Maybe one day we’ll all look back on these late September days by The Mystery and say “Yes, I remember that, I was there.” Who knows?
Much more about what will be happening and when is written about elsewhere on this site by the team. But while I’m here I’d also like to thank The Beautiful Ideas Co, Liverpool City Council and North West Housing Services for your financial help and encouragement. Along with whoever you were who came up with the original idea back in the church hall last autumn? “The woman with the grown-up daughter”, is how I remember you. But maybe we’ll meet again at the Festival you suggested? Hope so.
The Mystery Literary Festival takes place in Liverpool on 22 and 23 September, 2018. Follow our social channels @mysteryliterary to find out more...