"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Book clubs can change your life

If you are thinking of setting up a book club or reading group there is practical advice available from Voluntary Arts Ireland. Click on the title of this post to download a copy of a new booklet that helps you to set up a new group, and gives ideas about choosing books.
I am positive that belonging to a book club helped me get a place on the MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths in 2003. AND that was the start of a new career and a new life...
Ok, I presume that my portfolio of writing had something to do with being accepted but in the interview I was able to demonstrate a breadth of reading - Gogol and James Elroy, Annie Proulx and Emily Bronte - that was entirely due to being introduced to a range of literature I probably wouldn't have encountered on my own. 
More than that, in the pub I had to put into words why I loved/hated/was indifferent to each month's choice and that was good preparation for being in a classroom.
And there are only two ways to learn how to write: 
  1. write 
  2. read
(Courses, mentors, qualifications, groups can help and support the emerging writer but there is no way of short circuiting those basic elements: if you want to write you actually have to write - as opposed to just thinking about it - and you have to read, anything, everything...just read)
Next weekend there is a festival in Ennis, County Clare entirely devoted to Irish Book Clubs - more power to them!

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