Riddle me this… Kit Peel

Riddle gets up close and personal with garden designer, writer and co-founder of NiddFest

If you knew then what you know now… would you still do it? 
When I first mentioned to a festival director friend that I was setting up NiddFest she warned: ‘It’s a lot of work’. And it has been – far more than I’d imagined. But of course I’d do it again. Nature and people who care about nature need championing at all costs. And I’ve made so many brilliant friends along the way.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice is a quote from Karen Blixen, author of ‘Out of Africa’ – “Write a little every day, without hope, without despair.” As a metaphor for life (not just a writer’s life) it takes some beating.

What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?
After university, I lived in South Africa, working as a reporter in Johannesburg. I covered arts and news. For some reason the culture editor of one of the nationals was convinced that I’d been a ballet dancer and this went around. Seriously?!!!

What was your biggest break?
Can I have two? Meeting my future wife at a poetry workshop. My life wasn’t going anywhere particularly special before then. And Carol Ann Duffy offering to be NiddFest’s patron.

Do you consider yourself lucky?
To my mind luck is hard work + the kindness and support of others. I’m always surprised and delighted by how many wonderful people are out there.

What’s most important in your life?
The health, happiness and love of my family.

What other festivals do you admire?
Most festivals begin with a few brave, well-intentioned people. Andrew and Laura Willan who have just set up the Wealden Literary festival of nature writing exemplify this and I wish them all success. I’ve really enjoyed the Just So Festival and most of all the Curious Arts Festival – incredible line up, beautiful location and a real desire to give the best to festival-goers and performers.

Do you have a guilty pleasure – if so what is it?
Any movie, the trashier the better, involving gods, fairies and monsters.

Describe your personal sense of style.
I’ve got a few beautiful off-the-peg Kilgour suits and good shoes that still make an occasional appearance. But mostly it’s jeans, walking boots and cotton jacket (often decorated with sticky fingers and baby sick!).  riddle_stop 2



NiddFest/ Pateley Bridge, Harrogate, North Yorks HG3/ info@niddfest.com / www.niddfest.com

Kit Peel Gardens/ 07891 309730/ kitpeelgardens.com

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