What to do when life becomes too busy for blogging – or at least when you’ve got other things to do that are more important. Like what? Well, here’s a short list and quick descriptions.
1) Saturday 6th November – the launch party for ‘Storm Warning’ with squillions of friends crammed into my house. Wine, food and friends, what better combination is there? Delighted to see those who had come from a long way, making the journey specially – Jon Pinnock, Jenny Barden, Margot Taylor, Jo Cannon, Tania Hershman, Carloine Davies, Stephen Moran and Tess, most of whom stayed the night and much fun was had by all in Dormitory Three…
2) The NAWE Conference, in Cheltenham, at the Barcelo Hotel. (National Assocition of Writers in Education) on 12th 13th 14th November. A great few days in the company of many many writers who teach writing in schools, universities and colleges up and down the UK, and abroad. I attend very much as a writer rather than a teacher, although it is interesting to share ideas and exercises. Especially marvellous to attend the workshops run by the senior staff from Columbia University Chicago. A different way of running workshops – coming away from the Iowa model. Very very interesting and felt right to me.
3) Mondays for the last few weeks (four in all) have been poetry days. I have been to Tate Modern each Monday attending the workshops run by poet Pascale Petit. We have worked in the Gauguin exhibition, in an installation by Joan Jonas based on a Grimms Fairy tale – ‘The Juniper Tree’ in the Surrealists, and back last week in Gauguin. We have been inspired to write when the Tate is closed, when we’ve had these marvellous exhibitions to ourselves. Such a huge privilege.
4) Judging the NYC Midnight Flash Challenge. Over the last couple of months this challenge has been running with several hundred entrants, gradually being whittled down as each round passes, to the final 25. I’ve just read and enjoyed the last pieces of work, and have my fingers crossed for one of two stunning flashes to win the overall prize of $1500. Its been fascinating. And a handy bit of cash before Christmas.
5) Spent an evening talking about short fiction to the lovely and welcoming Uckfield Writers.
6) My own writing – it has all been poetry. I have started the next novel – but its not easy to focus until I know what’s happening with the first one…
As we go into National Short Story Week, my week looks like this:
Brighton launch for ‘Storm’ at Nightingale Theatre, 6 pm, with two fantastic professional actors (one was in Coronation Street, I gather) doing dramatised readings of three pieces from the book. I appear to be the only event in Sussex, which Im sure ain't right!
Train to Bristol, and a marvellous event, reading at Bristol Blackwells, 6.pm, a special event for this special week, organised by Tania Hershman, with Margot Taylor Anna Britten and Sarah Hilary among others. Staying over.
Train back in time to go out to Lewes Live Lit in the evening to see some short stories by Catherine Smith turned into plays…
Up to see Susannah Rickards at the Claygate Short Story Festival, where I’m leading a flash workshop in the evening. Staying over…
Saturday 27th: drive home, pack, and train to London to see Sue Guiney. Large glass of red wine on order! Staying over… (I feel like a real sofa-surfer…)
Sunday 28th: Off to Heathrow, and a flight to Cork - Anam Cara for ten days… with Sue, and Tania … and we will have earned it!
FISH SHORT STORY COMP- (If you come second, you win a week at Anam Cara plus spending money!) Get in there. Details HERE http://www.fishpublishing.com/short-story-competition-contest.php
Oh and, talking of Anam Cara – I am running a week-long short story workshop there next May.
Short Fiction: So Much More Than It Seems...
One-week Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 28 May 2011
Departure: Saturday, 4 June 2011
A chance to explore in depth the craft of short fiction in all its challenging guises, in one of Ireland's most creatively exciting venues. A chance to focus on acquiring skills that will maximise the chances of your work rising to the top and standing out for the right reasons not only in publication slush piles but also in competitions.
In the company of a well-published, multi-prize-winning short storyist, who is also an experienced tutor, this will be a focused, collaborative workshop retreat during which you will create not only complete new work and the seeds of many new stories, but you will also discover tried and tested strategies for editing and revising your existing work to make it as good as it can be.
Although biased towards the art and craft of short fictions, we will also be able to explore the relevance of the craft issues to poetry, prose poetry and longer works.
For this and all other info, Anam Cara website is HERE http://anamcararetreat.com/