67: Journalist, author, festival organiser, garden designer and sometime minicab driver – Kit Peel
There is a definite thread running through Kit Peel's career, and that is a love of writing and nature.
These are the cornerstones of his working life to date, as he has transitioned from journalism, to managing a team of foreign correspondents, to driving a mini cab, to becoming an author of the children's book Snow Summer, to setting up a garden design business, to launching a festival!
During this time Kit has moved to Yorkshire, done up his family's farmhouse high above Pateley Bridge, got married and had two children.
And I thought I had a packed life...
It's clear there have been challenges along the way.
Struggling with ME after finishing reading English Literature at Edinburgh University. Then the utter fear of making a mid-career change via a 3 year gruelling course to become a garden designer.
Kit's interest in gardens originally began as an interest that grew out of their farmhouse renovation project. It has since developed into a full-blown business where Kit works on commissions which combines his love of formal gardens with being mindful of the environmental impact of both the construction and the plants.
Festivals are notoriously hard to get off the ground, but on a wintery train journey Kit and his wife hatched a plan to found a festival devoted to poetry, nature and fiction in the beautiful North Yorkshire Nidderdale.
After a some "Carry On" moments in the early days the festival is growing a devoted following and attracting some prestigious names (poet Carol Ann Duffy is patron).
When I asked Kit how he fits in every thing he does he says he puts it down to not getting much sleep and getting up early. However I can see he is also driven by a real enjoyment of what he does and a desire to share his love of nature and of Yorkshire with a bigger audience. In this interview Kit shares:
- His top tips to getting started as a fiction author
- Why getting an agent is a smart move
- His thoughts on changing careers
- The economics behind setting up a festival
Arvon - writing courses for aspiring writers
Thanks again to Kit for giving us his time to be interviewed.
Niddfest in 2017 is scheduled for 31 Aug to 3 Sept, so put it in your diary!
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