"The first thing you must do as a writer is read" is Sarah Duncan's top tip at the inaugural meeting of Writing Events Bath in New Oriel Hall in Larkhill last Sunday. Organised by Alex Wilson and Jude Higgins, the event covered fiction both long and short, adult and children's, as well as drama, poetry, and self-publishing, in a fast-paced day with lots of breaks to mingle - and a really good lunch. What else could a writer want? Well, plenty of positive advice, answers to specific questions, and internet resource addresses. Happily all these were provided by the contributing practitioners: novelist Sarah, YA author Julia Green, poet Carrie Etter, short story specialist Alison Clink, publisher Miles Bailey - and (this blog is not noted for modesty) I did my best too.
"Poetry & a Pint" at the Wine Vaults takes me to Bath again on Monday. Robert Palmer is one of the featured poets, bringing his own quirky performance style to existential words both droll and sombre: all his battling life he's wanted to trust someone - to give up - to believe...
Bristol's Mayfest has been bursting out all over, giving the new(ish)ly reopened Old Vic a great showcase for its makeover face of accessibility and vibrant modern writing, like Kellerman, a touring production from Imitating the Dog. All drama is a journey; this one is five journeys in different time spheres, two of them in a mental institution. It boasts - appropriate use of verb here - "a magnificent two-storey set which incorporates a revolving stage, flying harnesses, moving masks and stunning back and front projections". It was all, as claimed, extraordinary and exciting, but what I enjoyed most was the dark conundrum-laden script.
'Where does it all go, everything that’s ever happened to us?’
‘We’re left with what we remember.’
But Harry remembers pasts he never inhabited, and people he never knew. "Perverse, erotic, poetic and grotesque, Kellerman is a meditation on desire, loss and the structures that bind us to the lives we believe to be real."
Finally - a couple of plugs: May madness at the Poetry Cafe TONIGHT - the posters have become collector's items, thankyou Suzy! - and Luke Wright is at the Merlin on Friday with his new show A POET'S WORK IS NEVER DONE... rarely begun, in my case. "Gifted social observer and wordsmith" Luke is sandwiching Frome into his national tour betwixt York and Maidenhead, which gives some idea of the truth of the title. If you missed Luke's on C4's "Seven Ages of Love", here's a bite of the real thing.