Meet the 2016 Authors Annabel Karmel


Annabel Karmel kitchenWhat are you most looking forward to at the 2016 Festival?

Meeting the attendees, there is always such a great mix of people. Their creativity and passion is so refreshing!

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

It was the tragedy of losing my first child Natasha, who was born healthy but who died at 13 weeks old from a viral infection that led me to change direction into the field of nutrition.

It wasn’t a diet related illness but I was understandably cautious when it came to feeding my second child Nicholas. Feeling vulnerable when he became fussy I struggled to find enticing recipes to encourage him and so set about devising my own. I shared my recipes with other mums and set about compiling a book – The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner – which has sold over 4 million copies worldwide and is turning 25 next year.

What book do you find yourself re-reading most often?

I don’t often re-read books because there are so many brilliant authors out there. Last summer I couldn’t put down The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins so I would pick this back up again. I love getting stuck into a good book with unexpected twists and turns!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Someone once told me that everyone has at least three careers in them and I think that is true. I started working life as a musician – I played the harp and I sang, then I went into the field of nutrition and one day I’d like to open up a rescue home for dogs. Animals have this great way of relieving stress and they give you an incredible unconditional love. I have three dogs of my own.

And finally, we have a number of aspiring writers attending the Festival. What one piece of advice would you give them?

Confidence is just as important as competence. The more you believe in yourself and in your chances of succeeding, the more likely you are to do just that. JK Rowling, Frederick Forsyth and I got turned down by loads of publishers until we found someone to believe in us.