Wednesday, May 14, 2008

After the simmering blues and sizzling golds of Greece, I've returned to the duchess greens and Queen-of-the-May whites of quintessential English countryside.
I'm still functioning in greek time when I set off to Farncombe Estate, a venue in a jewel of a valley in the Cotswolds and seething with students singing motown, rag-rugging, chinese brush-stroking, examining Tudor history and - in my room - exploring their creativity in writing. Despite my residual ripples of hellenic withdrawal, it's a really great session with a dream group: enthusiastic, mutually supportive, and with wonderfully varied voices. They sop up suggestions and stimuli like thirsty navvies and the weekend whizzes by.

Town news footnote: Frome Festival brochure is now out, with most of the literary events bookable. And my piece on Hunting Raven bookshop is in the current edition of Penpusher magazine.

"You have to know where you're heading and that exciting things will happen, but you have to discover them along the way," is Sarah Duncan's reply when asked how far she plans in advance: "The only time I ever sat down to plot a novel, I couldn't be bothered to finish it - or even start it."
It's the paperback launch of 'Another Woman's Husband' at Waterstones in Bath, and Sarah's giving How To Write A Best-Seller tips with a combination of helpful practicality and disarming modesty. Sarah is passionate that storytelling is more important than style, and if that means academic affectation I agree. But to me style IS story-telling; for writers, as for standup comics, it's not the events that matter, it's the way you tell 'em.

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