A day of flash fiction

Bristol Unicorn cr Judy DarleyLast Saturday, writers, readers and interested passersby got involved into the celebrations for National Flash Fiction Day 2016. I was part of the team organising events (led by Kevlin Henney and along with Freya Morris and Tino Prinzi) in my home city of Bristol, and had a blast!

The day kicked off at 10.30am outside Bristol Central Library for the first ever Bristol #FlashWalk. Writers from across the UK had submitted tales inspired by our harbour area, and some wonderful stories had been selected for actors Jo Butler and Tom Parker to perform.

We began with the spine-tingling The Harbour Festival by AA Abbott, read by Jo Butler under an ornate archway leading down to the waterfront. Tom followed this with Diane Tatlock’s Harbouring Friendship, and then we made our way to Millennium Square, where Jo performed Juliet Hagan’s Johnny Pencloud, a thought-provoking tale of the women left behind in the days of press-ganging.

Jo Butler reading Johnny Pencloud by Juliet Hagan pic cr Judy Darley

Jo Butler reading Johnny Pencloud by Juliet Hagan

My story Altitude followed, with both Tom and Jo taking a role to share the dizzying story of a lad encouraged to climb a crane by an adventurous and reckless lass, and then regretting his lust-driven choice!

Jo Butler and Tom Parker reading Altitude by Judy Darley

Jo Butler and Tom Parker reading Altitude by Judy Darley

On Pero’s Bridge by Holly Atkinson could take place nowhere other than actually on Pero’s Bridge, followed aptly by Ingrid Jendrzejewski’s emotive Your Name is Pero, telling the tale of the little slave boy the bridge is named for.

Jo Butler and Tom Parker performing On Pero's Bridge by Holly Atkinson

Jo Butler and Tom Parker performing On Pero’s Bridge by Holly Atkinson

On the corner by the statue of John Cabot, Dolphins by Lucho Payne gave us a moment of light and hope.

Jo Butler reading A Thousand Words by Gemma Govier

Jo Butler reading A Thousand Words by Gemma Govier

Then came Gemma Govier’s intriguing A Thousand Words, followed by Lynn Love’s gorgeous Will There Be Pirates.

Tom Parker reading Will There Be Pirates by Lynn Love

Tom Parker reading Will There Be Pirates by Lynn Love

The morning wrapped up outside St Nick’s Market, with Mark Rutterford’s Singing Out Loud, leaving us with the satisfaction of a potential happy ending.

The sun shone throughout, the actors and writers were wonderful, and the audience well behaved – we even picked up a few more folks along the way!

Next came a free flash fiction writing workshop back at Bristol Central Library, where KM Elkes made us regard strawberries in a whole new light, and Alison Powell armed us to create extraordinary similes.

A Box of Stars Beneath the BedAt 7pm, events moved to At The Well for an evening of flash tales with the father of NFFD, Callum Kerr, and the launch of this year’s beautiful NFFD anthology, A Box of Stars Beneath The Bed.

Thirteen readers, masses of stories, and countless emotions! The orangutan story by KM Elkes still haunts me. A fabulously inspiring night to finish a truly splendid day.

Ooh, and throughout the day there was the #FlashFlood to enjoy. You can still drop by to read the tales at flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk.

 

Travel workshop hosted by cruiseline Noble Caledonia

Hanseatic Noble CaledoniaTravel writing is definitely one of those pastimes that blurs the boundary between work and play, making it one of the best ways to make a living. Beyond that. it’s also a wonderful way to store up memories of some wonderful experiences!

If you’d like to hone your ability to write travel blogs and travel articles, keep a travel diary or even just record your travel experiences for yourself or others to read, a travel writing workshop from Silver Travel Advisor could help.

Silver Travel Advisor writing courseAlthough the site itself is aimed at travellers aged 50+, the workshop is open to aspiring travel writers of all ages.

The travel writing workshop takes place on Wednesday 22 April 2015, hosted by cruiseline Noble Caledonia at their offices in Belgravia, Central London. The course fee is £65 per person, including tea, coffee, biscuits and sandwiches

The event will be led by cruise writer Deborah Stone and travel journalist Nick Dalton, who have years of experience of writing for national newspapers, including the Telegraph and The Times, as well as various magazines and travel guides.

The course runs from 10.30am-2.30pm, and will cover motivations and inspirations for travel writing, and a review of sample articles to be discussed for their content and style. There will also be the opportunity to write creatively, as well as tips and advice on setting up your own travel blog and the chance to ask your own questions.

Places on the workshops are limited, so make sure you book soon by emailing service@silvertraveladvisor.com stating the number of places required. For further information, visit www.silvertraveladvisor.com/workshop.

Free literary event today – Books Are My Bag

Foyles Bookshop, Bristol cr James HainsworthToday, Saturday October 11th, I’ll be at Foyles bookshop Bristol for the Books Are My Bag event co-hosted by Southville Writers and Bristol Women Writers. It’s on from 2 till 7pm and promises to be a really fun, informative afternoon of literary riches.

Fancy coming along? Writers taking part include Jo Reed, Ali Bacon, Mike Manson, Nina Milton, Kevlin Henney and Amy Morse. There will be readings of poetry, flash fiction and short stories, plus pop-up workshops, writing surgeries and masses of opportunities to pick up some ideas and inspiration on how to further your writing career, or simply what to read next.

It will also be a great chance to meet some really interesting Bristol-based writers – I’m looking forward to finding out what self-publisher extraordinaire Amy Morse has been up to since her guest post for SkyLightRain.com.

Tickets are free – just register on the Foyles website to get yours.

Books Are My Bag is from 2-7pm on Sat October 11th at Foyles bookshop in Quakers Friars, Bristol.

Watch your poetry bloom

Poetry In The Garden cr Sally J BlackmoreFlit over to Chobham, Surrey, this summer for a season of ‘Poetry in the Garden’ workshops.

I love the idea of enjoying the sunshine while composing lyric lines – the sound of bees humming through the clover and the scent of roses on the air can only help your creativity to flower.

“Poetry lovers and writers of all levels of experience are welcome,” says workshop leader Sally J Blackmore. “This is a relaxed summer event, designed to include strolls between the flower beds, lazy discussions on the terrace and tea, cake, maybe even strawberries and cream, enjoyed in the shade of the cherry tree.î

You will have the chance to explore form and free-form writing, with classic and contemporary examples.

The cost is £6 per session, which includes refreshments and hand-outs, and if it does happen to rain, don’t worry, there is a writing room to retreat to.

The workshops will take place each Wednesday afternoon from 1.30-3.30p, beginning on 31st July and ending on 28th August.

To book your place, contact Sally at http://behindthehighstreet.co.uk/contact-us or send an email to sjbpoetry@gmail.com – payment can be made on the day.

Learn to pitch successfully to editors

Manukan beach, Borneo cr Judy DarleySusan Grossman is hosting a “one-day blitz” on writing feature pitches that will result in commissions. “Find new outlets online, in print and broadcast in the UK and abroad. Crack customer publishing titles. Sell-on existing material or make an old story topical.”

Interested? The one-day workshop takes place on Saturday 26 January 2013 at RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), Portland Place, London W1.

The course is aimed at all kinds of journalists, but particularly those wanted to make an impact in the field of travel writing – Susan’s speciality. She says: “Over 500 travel writers and professionals have attended these workshops, from senior editors to women returners and travel PR account execs.”

The workshop is  designed to help you to “explore new outlets, re-work and sell-on published material, approach editors with confidence and increase your earning potential.” You can also expect feedback on past or current pitches.

The full day (10am-5pm) fee is £150.

Susan GrossmanSusan lectures on the MA in journalism at Westminster University and is a travel writer, magazine editor and broadcaster.

For more details contact Susan on 07905 888835; sgrossman007@gmail.com or visit www.susangrossman.co.uk

Capture the Scene – a writing workshop

Sunday 21st October – 1pm-3pm

Find your inner author with this two-hour creative writing workshop at the end of Bristol Literature Festival.

Arnos Vale book tombEver been moved unexpectedly by the briefest of descriptions? From poetry to journalism, short stories to novels, less is almost always more. But this makes choosing the right words all the more important.

Whether you want to improve your fiction writing, produce copy that sells or simply learn to transform sights, sounds and impressions into evocative writing, Capture the Scene is for you!

Poet Joanna Butler and travel and fiction writer Judy Darley lead this two-hour writing workshop in the inspirational Arnos Vale to learn how to make your writing resonate.

Use all your senses to create a piece of writing inspired by the setting of the cemetery, drawing on the sense of timelessness as well as specific details in the landscape and on the tombstones. The workshop includes a short walk among the graves, so please bring sensible footwear and warm waterproof clothing.

The workshop will culminate in each writer producing a short piece of writing for possible inclusion in a future exhibition of work.

Places are limited, so book yours now. Tickets cost £5, with the full amount donated to registered charity Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust.

About the Tutors

Judy DarleyJudy Darley is a fiction writer and travel journalist. Previously her short stories have been published by literary magazines and anthologies including Riptide, Litro Magazine, The View From Here, ‘The Love of Looking’ and ‘Crab Lines from the Pier’. Two of her stories appear on the Arnos Vale Cemetery website. Her travel writing has appeared in magazines, on websites and in ‘1001 Retreats to Make Before You Die’, published by Penguin. Recent journeys include visits to Borneo, Italy, Iona, Slavonia, and Tunisia. Judy tweets at http://twitter.com/EssentialWriter

Joanna ButlerJoanna Butler is a writer and poet. She has a special interest in finding inspiration in different sites and has created and exhibited writing at The Bed Workshop, Bedminster, The Tobacco Factory, Bristol South Pool, Tate Modern and the archaelogical site of Contrebia Leucade in Spain. Her first poetry collection ‘This is our archaeology’ is out soon.

HOW TO BOOK

Buy your ticket online via Paypal at the Arnos Vale Cemetery website.  Alternatively visit the Gift Shop in the East Lodge building (to the left as you enter Arnos Vale through the main gates just off the Bath Road entrance) .  The Gift Shop is open daily from 10:00am-4:00pm or, if you want to purchase your tickets by phone please ring: 0117 971 9117.

For more information on this event please telephone 0117 9719711 or email bookings@arnosvale.org.uk