Friday, 18 March 2011

Home again, home again...

Two weeks away, out of touch in so many ways, and it has been fun. Drove back slowly today, knowing the writing world in all its various shades of diamond sparkle would soon be falling round me. The world keeps on turning, people keep running, writing, exchanging information, on and on, even when you ain't there – and when you get back to normality, (oh the noise, the meaningless chatter - it has been so quiet in Suffolk…!) there is a lot of catching-up to do. But overall, thanks to the world of writing for being there, even when I’m not!

OK. Some catch-ups.

1. Congrats, first of all to Jacky Taylor and to Linda McVeigh, in particular, for their shortlisting in the Asham Award. Whether or not they win the prizes to be announced at the Small Wonder festival in Spetember - they will be published alongside such luminaries as Petina Gappah (Guardian First Book Award 2009) and Kate Clanchy (National Short Story prize 2009) in the 2011 Asham Anthology.

2. Congrats too, to fellow discussee (is that a word?) Gerard Woodward, on his Sunday Times shortlising. Here’s his booklist - The most fascinating discussion on the short story, hosted on the blog of Professor Patty McNair of Columbia College Chicago, continues – a few of us nattering away, with long time lags, like a transatlantic phonecall - especially interesting is ‘HOW’ the short story? Want to know how one of the very best around does it? Gerard said a week or so back, ‘it starts with memory’:

3. Interview 1 – with Jon Pinnock asking the questions (thanks Jon!)– mainly about Storm Warning, and why a war book, and how, on the Salt Publishing Blog: here

4. Interview 2 – with Jen Campbell on Not the Six Word Novel (thanks Jen!)– the first of four interviews in celebration of Salt Publishing

5. Belletrista – a featured story from Storm Warning, called ‘The Wig Maker’, kindly supplied by Salt – on this journal for women’s writing, online.

6. Teaching and talks. Some kind invites, from Sussex Writers, and Cambridge Wordfest, Anam Cara Writers’ Retreat in Ireland, Winchester Writers’ Conference, New Writing South in Sussex again, and lastly, Bridport, Dorset.
Here’s one-
WEEKEND FOR WOMEN WRITERS: I am facilitating a weekend writing retreat at Tilton House, Sussex (Maynard Keynes’ Sussex home) in September. New Writing South had booked this gorgeous but gorgeous house for the weekend (Fri 16 Sept 4 pm to Sun 18 Sept 4 pm). Why just women? Because we all have multiple roles which can conflict with our need to be creative beings. Boss/Work Colleague. Wife. Mother. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Sometimes, they get in the way. A whole weekend to feed the soul in the company of like-minded women, in one of the most inspirational places I know. No blokes. Apart from the cook…ha!

7. The Binnacle:
I received this tiny parcel, all the way from the University of Maine at Machias – the second issue of The Binnacle to have my words somewhere inside. Don’t think magazine, or journal – think box – with cigarette card-sized stories… perfect for teaching, for inspiring, for sharing…

8. Judging The Theodora Roscoe/Vera Brittain Short Story Competition.
I have a whole box of manuscripts to read, entries from members of one of the oldest sciety of women writers in the world - The SWWJ (Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Standard fairly amazing. It is going to be a toughie, this do by mid April...

I will tot up the results of being away - the reading done, the walks walked, the work with Bloomsbury achieved thanks to visits to a cafe with wifi and many bacon butties to pay for said wifi... in a few days. With homage to Benjamin Britten and Nellie. What? Sorry, you'll have to wait and see!!


  1. Welcome home! Sounds like it's going to be pretty busy from now on... so it's a good thing you recharged your batteries!

  2. Welcome back, Vanessa! We missed you. Tomorrow your answer on "HOW the short story" will be posted in American time on