Author Spotlight: Naomi Slade | Easy Shed - The Lifestyle Hub


 


Author Spotlight: Naomi Slade

Author Spotlight

Naomi Slade

freelance writer, editor, author and photographer

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I was lucky enough to interview this lovely lady!

 Naomi has always loved creative use of language. Although her further education was science-based, the jobs she subsequently took became more and more focussed in the arts and media until she got a job with a gardening magazine, organising horticultural shows and events ? she ran about 68 events in four years. Writing and PR was inevitably part of this and when she went freelance I played to my strengths and, in addition to jobs like rebuilding a Hampton Court show garden,.

?I grabbed opportunities with both hands, pitching features to magazines and freelancing in-house for Gardeners? World magazine and The Guardian.?

Naomi has been a gardener and natural historian all her life; one of her early memories is of sowing radish seeds with her botanical uncle and then the thrill of seeing them germinate and eating them.

?I love that, as a concept, gardening is so diverse. It encompasses so many things; everything from plant science and botany to garden design to environment and natural history. It is everything from compost to medicine ?how could that ever be boring? Plants rock!?

Naomi has written for most of the major UK gardening magazines and also weekend supplements and lifestyle magazines. Clients include The Garden, Kitchen Garden, House and Garden, The Guardian, The Telegraph and Country Homes and Interiors.

There have been lots of career highlights so far! Naomi won a Gold Medal and Best in Show for a punk-themed show garden in 2012, and has written a book on snowdrops which is published by Timber Press and out in the UK in October 2014. Going back a bit she won medals for exhibits in the science and education section of RHS Chelsea Flower show. And in 2012 and 2013 she ran the Garden Media Guild Awards, giving it a well-received shake-up as I did so.

Punk Gardeners ROCK

The Garden Media Guild Awards is dubbed the industry ?Oscars?. It is the opportunity to celebrate all the amazing garden media talent; to reward and acknowledge the best and brightest contributors to fields as diverse as TV, Radio, print media and photography; there are also categories for bloggers and web-based material. As the largest social event in the gardening calendar, it is also an opportunity for everyone to get together informally in a salubrious London venue to catch up and network, in high heels rather than wellies and gardening gloves! As such, it is both a great celebration and a great opportunity and pretty much everyone in gardening goes.

Naomi was on the Garden Media Guild Committee and the person who was coordinating the awards had left. Then, due to an unanticipated hiccup, the Awards Lunch started to look like it might have to be cancelled that year. Someone had to take charge and make it happen so she did.

She found a new event organiser, Vitesse Media, who do vast events often for financial organisations with the aim of bringing in some fresh blood, new ideas and vitality. Once this was done, her main job was taking decisions, making introductions and acting as an information-conduit between Vitesse and the gardening industry. Last year we engaged Redhead PR to further spread the word and this was really effective ? the reach was enormous and some of the speakers? comments became topic of conversations on web forums in America!

?In all, I changed a lot of things and made the whole event more outward-facing and high profile, with the ambition that everyone involved would receive greater benefits from attending, entering, sponsoring or whatever they do.?

 There are two judges for each category. Each must be an expert either in that category or in a related field and not to have entered the category themselves. The Garden Media Guild Awards Coordinator (who is the person who manages and drives the entries to the GMG Awards, rather than the Awards Lunch event) has the tricky job of picking these non-compromised experts and I have had the honor of being considered sufficiently eminent on several occasions.

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When you are a judge you receive a big heap of material and from it you assess the quality of each entry against a list of criteria and by using your own judgment. You must be completely objective as personal relationships can?t come into it. Although the category that you judge is anonymous, each judge must display integrity and as the judges are often well known ?names? there can be a PR element to the role. When you have decided who has won, you send your comments and commendations to be read out on the day back to the organiser and then sit back and look forward to the party.

?I have tended to judge the larger categories and getting it down to the last 10-15 candidates is fairly easy.  You then see if your co-judge agrees generally with your long-list then whittle it down from there, championing the entrants you consider the best.?

Naomi explains that the standard at that level is really, really high and choosing the top five and ultimate winner is difficult as there is often little to choose between them.  It can be hard to agree and while you don?t tend to actually scrap you often have to re-read and discuss at some length why one person should win while another might not.

With the GMG Awards hopefully secure, Naomi stepped down from the GMG Committee last autumn to pursue all the other new and exciting opportunities that might come my way. She is doing a lot of work for magazines and plans to further develop her photography. She wants to write another book or experiment with TV.

Sara Tye, Naomi Slade, James Wong, Petra Hoyer Millar

?I?m open to new projects whatever they may be. I?m looking out for the next big thing!?

www.naomislade.com

http://www.timberpress.co.uk/books/?search=snowdrops

Blog: Electric Green

Twitter: @naomislade