|L-R Kit Caless, Abondance Matanda, me, Sam Berkson, Holly Pester. Photo by Ricky Adam|
Phew! It's been a mad few weeks. I'm so grateful to have been asked to do so many events over the past month or so: I've been to Bolton, to London, to Leeds (twice); it's been a knackering few weeks, but I'm so glad to see the spirit of literature is alive and well, and that activism, print and protest is well and truly alive. Thank you to the wonderful people who have hosted me and put some terrific events on. Just look at the crowd at the Blackwell's Leeds Short Story Salon, from 9th November!
|Blackwells Leeds Short Story Salon (photo from @blackwellleeds)|
It was wonderful to see so many people there, and great hearing Martyn Bedford read from his new short story collection, Letters Home.
|(photo from @blackwellleeds)|
Similarly, a couple of weeks ago I went to Bolton. This was a fab event in their Central Library - many thanks to Simon Holloway at the Bolton Creative Writing MA for hosting me, and to Liz at Bolton Libraries. There's nothing quite like entering a venue only to be greeted with a massive photo of your own face.
The students were attentive & engaged and asked some brilliant questions; I was glad to have been invited (and gone) to Bolton.
Another thing was the time when I went to Seacroft, to appear on Peter Spafford's show Love the Words on Chapel FM. Peter is a great fellow, and Love the Words is a great show, so I was really chuffed to be invited. Even better was that I appeared alongside poet Ian Harker, and historical crime writer Mark Knowles, each of us talking about our recent books, and our musical inspirations. You can listen again to it on the Chapel FM website here.
Perhaps my favourite thing of all in these most recent weeks has been talking to like-minded, and sometimes not-so like-minded people, having conversations about the role fiction can play in protest and resistance. In this post-truth world, what role can fiction play in representing and questioning the truth? Many of the literature events have reminded me of the huge importance of writing the truth in our fiction, and of building and creating networks that resist existing systems of oppression and dominant narratives. Discussions around this were a particular feature of the Housman's event in London. It was a particular treat at this event to run into some of my fellow Dead Ink authors, Marc Nash & Haroun Khan.
|L-R me, Marc Nash, Haroun Khan|
In case you were wondering - I'm currently working on my third novel, 80,000 words into the first draft, and wondering whether I'm going mad, as usual. Will I have some time off?
Probably not, to be honest.
Death and the Seaside Alison Moore
Finch Jeff Vandermeer (I cannot recommend the e-book version of this, because it's full of errors. Read it in print if you can.)