Blest and Inspired – the Stroud Christian Book Festival

On Friday 4 November and Saturday 5 November, local writer, Brendan Conboy arranged a festival showcasing 15 Christian authors, including himself. The event took place in Stroud Baptist Church in the centre of Stroud. I went along on Saturday 5 November and was really inspired by a day of great writers talking about their work.

In the morning we had the Dystopian writers, Maressa Mortimer (, B.J Mears ( and Corinna Turner (, all of who linked their stories to the gospel in some way.

Then there was Margi McAllister who wrote animal stories for children that told explaining bible stories using the characters (

There were other authors who shared stories of God’s miracles in both their own and others lives, like Joanna Watson (, Revd. Penelope Swithinbank ( and Joy Margetts ( Joy shared how she sent her manuscript about a medieval monk called, The Healing, to publisher Instant Apostle, just to see what they thought. She had no great hopes of getting it published but was completely ‘gobsmacked’ when it was accepted. “That could only be God,” she said.

Tanya Burchell had a different proposition to make to us, not to buy a book for ourselves or our loved ones, but to sponsor a medical academic book to help midwives in countries all over the world, especially developing countries, to learn good practice. It was a pleasure to sponsor a book for such a worthy cause. I have already found that my sponsored book will be sent to a small hospital in India. If you would like to be part of this project you can do so too at

I haven’t enough space to mention everyone, much as I’d like to, but I would like to mention just one more inspiring author, Amanda Bedzrah. Amanda had gift wrapped beautiful journals entitled ‘I am a Queen’, with words of encouragement on every page. She also produces little packs of encouraging thoughts called ‘Be Transformed’ which we were encouraged to take free of charge. As well as bringing bible stories to life, to date, Leah and Queen Bathsheba, the wife of King David (, she is part of an organisation called empower a woman, which gives gifts to women that are homeless, abused or in prison at both Easter and Christmas time. I’m afraid I don’t have the website address for this organisation but if you go to Amanda’s website I’m sure she will put you in touch.

I had my faith raised by all of these wonderful writers, and was inspired by Fiona Myles (, who told us that we don’t have to write just to make money but to change lives, even the life of just one person. The next morning at church, one of our church warden’s wives told me that she had just read my first book, Alpha Male and had really enjoyed it. Just the one.

On a personal level, I found that Margi McAllister not only knew my godmother, who was a music teacher, but I also found that my godmother had taught her daughter the flute! How interconnected us writers can sometimes find ourselves. We are indeed part of a community.

About journojohnson

I qualified as a journalist in 2002 and after a period working as a freelance for Gloucester Media writing advertorials, interviews, articles and press releases I have gone on to write for lots of magazines and newspapers, both local and national. I write regularly for the Writers and Readers magazine but have also written for CPO's Inspire, the New Writer, Classic Ford, and Take a Break's My Favourite Recipes among many others. I published my first full-length historical novel. Waireka in 2018 and my romantic novella, Alpha Male in 2016. Both can be found on Amazon. Please follow the links on my book page.
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2 Responses to Blest and Inspired – the Stroud Christian Book Festival

  1. Hi Sheila. I would have loved to have gone to the festival. Sounds very good indeed. Thank you. x

    • Hi Dawn, How are you doing? Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you. Yes, the festival was inspiring, it was also interesting to take a look around Stroud, a rather artistic and zany place but not one I know that well.

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