‘What Makes a Girl Strong?’ Panel Recap

Last Thursday evening my sister and I headed up to Kensington High Street for a much-anticipated event – a panel with Katherine Webber, Melinda Salisbury, Catherine Doyle, and Sara Barnard, on the topic of ‘What makes a girl strong?’, chaired by Anna James on Harry Potter Book Night. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to go to such a fab panel, and I was not disappointed.

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From left to right: Melinda Salisbury, Katherine Webber, Catherine Doyle, Sara Barnard, Anna James.

Unfortunately, due to some minor traffic and a tube mishap (we accidentally got on the wrong one), we were about ten minutes late, which meant I was on the very back row, very far to one side. Nonetheless, I still took lots of photos from my viewpoint – and an upside of not having anyone sat behind me was that then I could stand up to take a photo without being rude and blocking someone’s line of sight.

The first thing I heard discussed were some lovely emotional responses that the authors had received with regards to their book. It definitely set the panel off to a good start for me, as it was really touching to hear about.

Because it was Harry Potter Book Night, there was also a really cool Q&A round where the authors would be asked something requiring them to sort a person or a fictional character, and they would hold up a card for one of the Hogwarts houses, and they talked about their experiences being in their houses – funnily enough, each author was in a different Hogwarts house. It was so much fun to watch, and I got to learn a lot more about the characters I love.

To finish off, the audience could ask questions, and we got to hear about the authors’ journeys to publication, their opinions on the female anti-heroine, where their writing began – all sorts of things. I asked what house they would be in if they had to switch houses, and interestingly they were still all in different ones.

I chatted to some familiar faces, met some new, and got my copy of A Quiet Kind of Thunder signed (you can read my review of it here!). Sadly, I didn’t manage to locate my copy of Vendetta in time – my frantic attempt to find it before we left was probably partially the reason we were late, to be completely honest – so I’ll have to find a chance to get it signed another time.

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My signed copy of A Quiet Kind of Thunder!

Overall, it was a funny and memorable panel, and such an enjoyable experience; I definitely will remember it and the anecdotes told for a while to come.

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