Save the dates!

It’s great to see everyone emerging from the winter gloom and getting together again.

Here are a few dates which should be of interest to anyone who loves writing, reading or just listening.

March 19th: Story Sunday ‘Another Country’

As you know I’m a member of Writers Unchained and hopefully this poster says it all. Writers have until March 5th to submit, or just come along and listen.

anothercountry

Feb 26th: submissions opening for Stroud Short Stories

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? I am very pleased to be co-judging the next  SSS event (is this the closest a writer gets to promotion at work?!) which is not until May, but submissions are open from Feb 26th to April 22nd. Why not get thinking and writing now? To submit you do need some connection to Gloucestershire or South Glos, but the theme is open. Check out the entry regulations here. Join us on May 21st to see who we picked.  Feel free to get annoyed if it isn’t you!

molpcoverMeanwhile on March 11th I am thinking of taking myself  to the lovely town of Lyme Regis where the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize winners will be announced. Yes, I am shortlisted for the short story prize and I’m planning to treat myself to a day out in Dorset. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity, the evening event looks like fun,  and as well as celebrating great writing, these people plant trees in Kenya.

Tickets here.
Copies of the winners’ anthology will also be on sale.
How nice to be in it!

 

 

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Writers just wanna have fun

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With friends old and new at December Talking Tales in Bristol*

If I was wondering how to sum up 2016 (on the writing front that is) this picture looks as good a one as any to do it: some twinkly lights, friends old and new, writers celebrating stringing a few words together.

At these local events (Story Sunday, Stroud Short Stories, Talking Tales, Novel Nights etc) our audience is made up mainly of other writers  – all avidly curious to see who has been chosen to read and what they’ve come up with. Our ‘public’ is chiefly ourselves -and our trusty and long-suffering camp followers, let’s not forget them!

But while the big bad world of commercial publishing sucks its teeth and eats authors, it seems, for breakfast, testing ourselves amongst our peers is a good way to start on wherever we are headed. We may be our own harshest critics, but knowing how hard it can be to chuck out even a very short short story that works, we also love to support each other and give each other praise where praise is due.  And despite the inevitable nerves, it’s also a lot of fun.

So whatever else 2017 holds, here’s to writers around the world getting together to please themselves – and each other.

Despite a few lucky and talented (yes you need both) exceptions, there isn’t much money to be made in this game,  but we sure as hell are going to enjoy ourselves!

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The Twilight Zone at Southbank, Bristol – more writers, more fun!

 

Thanks to everybody who contributed to my writing year .

Happy Christmas one and all!

 

 

*photo by Christopher Fielden 

 

 

Vintage comedy – with Stokes Croft Writers

A few months ago I made the longlist for Christopher Fielden’s To Hull and Back humorous short story competition whose anthology is being launched at next Saturday’s Talking Tales in Bristol.

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Knowing this was sure to be a fun affair ( yes, I got my TT badge in October!) I saved the date to go along and listen – then I heard that more submissions were being invited.

to-hull-back-2016-front-cover-188x300Well  nothing ventured! And now I’m  on the programme for Saturday too, not with my shortlisted story (“the one about the ukulele”) but A Fork Less Ordinary the very first  in what has become an occasional series of reflections on ordinary life teetering  on the edge of sanity (doesn’t it always?) Think domestic noir without  blood  (though this one comes closest to carnage).

Now, the  eagle-eyed amongst you (do these people really exist?) may notice A Fork was highly commended for a prize –  in 2007 – !!!  Yes, apparently it has been that long. So if you can make it along I can definitely promise you an evening of vintage comedy from many wonderful writers.

Let’s hope my bit isn’t showing its age.

Talking Tales - nights drawing in!
No music this time but plenty of laughs

When? Saturday  10th December

Where?  Leftbank, Stokes Croft (BS6 5RW)
When? 6.30pm

http://stokescroftwriters.com/talking-tales/

St Andrews Photography Festival – being part of it

“Celebrating 175 Years of Photography in the home of Scottish Photography”.

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By invitation!

When I found out about the first St Andrews Photography Festival taking place this summer, I had a pang of regret that I wouldn’t be there to see it. However, in an unexpected  turn of events, I will actually  be part of it as I’ve been invited to read my historical fiction in a festival event on September 9th. I can’t think of anything more special than to take my work to the place where the story began, and present it to people who share my enthusiasm for early photography and its exponents.

I realise most of you will know about this via my outpourings on social media, but with the festival kicking off on August 1st (my event is Sept 9th) I thought it would be good to post about it here, especially for those who aren’t on Facebook where the festival has its main site.

Here’s a link to the full programme of exhibitions and events put together by the University Library Special Collections Department and running from August 1st to September 11th.

StAndrewsPhotographyFestivalProgramme2016

Please share it with anyone you know who has an interest in early or contemporary photography, especially if they happen to be in or near Fife.

And here’s a description of my event.

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In Sunshine and In Shadow
Stories surrounding the photographs of Robert Adamson and David Octavus Hill, 1843-48

Fiction writer and St Andrews graduate Ali Bacon brings her own words to the calotypes of Hill and Adamson and lends a voice to those who sat for them.
In this series of readings you will meet Elizabeth Johnston Hall of Newhaven, Jane Adamson (sister to John and Robert) and literary critic Elizabeth Rigby, and hear how an encounter with early photography changed all of their lives.
Presented with illustrations from the University Special Collections.

It’s on Friday September 9th, 5.30 – 6.30 pm,
Martyrs Kirk Research Library
80 North Street, KY16 9 Saint Andrews

Again, I know very few of you can be there, but do spread the word. If you can be there, please register for a free ticket.

This post will be top of my blog page for a few weeks to come!