Who doesn’t love hearing a story told to them? Whether you’re a child listening with rapt attention to a bedtime story made up for you by your parents, or you’re an adult listening to an audio book in the car on the daily commute, there’s something magical about being told a story. As someone who reads quite quickly, and not always very carefully (in fact, sometimes I skim read – a terrible admission for a writer!), listening to a story sometimes helps me pick up nuances and details I’d otherwise have missed.
Well, this great oral tradition is celebrated during National Storytelling Week which this year runs from 28th January to 4th February. You can find out all about it here:
I’m afraid I don’t yet have any audio versions of my stories, though there are lots of other out there, such as Patsy Collins’ story “Uncle Mick” available to listen to here:
Not to be outdone though, in honour of all things short-story related, my collection The Camel in the Garden is free to download from Amazon Kindle this weekend.
If you take the opportunity to download it, you could always read it to someone else! And if you like the stories, and had time to leave a brief Amazon review, I’d be ever so grateful.
Thank you – and happy reading!
Today is Author (R)evolution Day in New York City – a conference about writing in the digital age, and all things “e”. Amongst other things, they’ll be discussing intellectual copyright, revenue streams, self-publishing, publicity and sales. If you’re interested in online promotion and digital distribution, might be worth taking a look, and keeping an eye out for follow-up info.
In my quest to be more on the ball as regards literary news and events, I thought I’d quickly google “literary festivals” and note them down. Ha ha! Imagine my shock when it soon became apparent this would be no small feat.
The list of literary and book festivals is almost endless. Indeed, if you attempted to visit them all, you’d run into trouble as so many overlap – you’d be rushing from one end of the country to another. My not-too-brief trawl reveals I could start today with the first event of the UEA spring lit fest, before heading off to Bath, Oxford and York next month, Stratford at the end of April, followed by Swindon (who knew?!), and then Hay in May, Worcester in June, Penzance in July, Edinburgh in August, Budleigh Salterton and Soho (!) in Sept, before rounding the year off with a bumper month of Henley, Cheltenham and Manchester in October!
And that’s before I even look at the local ones, including Oswestry next Month, Shrewsbury children’s bookfest in May, and Wellington in the Autumn.
I’m exhausted just looking at all these events. How did I never before realise just how large a circuit there was for all things literary. And how the same names seem to come up so frequently at the various events.
This leads me to wonder about a suitable collective noun for literary festivals. A promotion of festivals perhaps?! 😉
Following on from yesterday’s post, I discover, of course, that there is already a most excellent writing calendar on Sally Quilford’s blog http://writingcalendar.wordpress.com/ – this lists forthcoming writing competitions in closing date order. Brilliant. So that deals with part of my quest.
I still feel I should be thinking ahead and taking more account of festival dates, news items, literary promotions etc. And I’ve started adding these kinds of things to my electronic calendar (which has of course the bonus of being able to set reminders hours, days or weeks beforehand). But I’m quite a visual person, and still hanker after a big wall chart on which I could write (I know, write! how quaint!) important events, and see everything at a glance. It’s daft, because I don’t really have a spare bit of wall near my writing desk for such a year planner, but I still like the idea of one. (For one thing, unlike an electronic calendar, it couldn’t be wiped off by a piece of gadgetry malfunction!!)
So if anyone knows of a suitable wall planner which might be aimed at the creative writing community (or even a “writing diary” if such a thing exists), I’d be interested to hear about it. In the meantime, I’ll be adding e-notes nervously to my electronic calendar…!
Alas, as so often seems to happen to me, I notice something writing-related too late to be of any earthly use. Today is the last day of National Storytelling Week http://www.sfs.org.uk/national-storytelling-week – with events having been organised around the country to encourage communities to create and enjoy storytelling. I suppose this is to prose writing what Roger McGough’s ethos is to poetry – encouraging the spoken word, the live telling of stories, rather than merely reading the words on the page in your head. I think it’s a fab idea – though suspect I personally would be awful at it. (You know when someone records the sound of your voice, and you can’t believe it’s you? Ugh….cringe-making!)
Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to be more on the ball as a writer. It’s no use just sitting at my desk, tapping away oblivious to everything else. I need to be keeping an eye on what’s going on in the wider world, taking note of literary festivals, forthcoming competitions, and special writing occasions. I need to be thinking ahead and doing a bit more forward planning.
In short, I need to be more professional – and I probably need a writing calendar. But should this be paper-based or electronic? And will I remember to keep it updated? I clearly need to go away and think about this further. In the meantime, if anyone has suggestions for excellent writing calendars which are already out there, please let me know! 😉
Today is the first day of National Short Story Week. As relatively recent convert to the joys of the medium, I think it’s a great idea. In this modern age, where time always seems to be at a premium, perhaps we’ll see a rise in the popularity of short fiction – particularly as we can now download the written word pretty well anywhere on our smart phones, iPads and so forth.
For a selection on online and downloadable stories, why not visit http://www.swampwriting.com/, http://etherbooks.com/, http://www.circalit.com/public/ or http://alfiedog.com/
For all the details of all the National Short Story Week events, competitions and more, go to http://www.nationalshortstoryweek.org.uk/
Ore features short stories, poetry and script extracts from the students of the NTU Creative Writing MA course. It includes my short story, Free Running.
The anthology will be officially launched on Wednesday evening – at 7pm, Antenna, Nottingham. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.