"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...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Brighton Writers Workshop

I am very excited about the new Writers Workshop that will run on Tuesday evenings after Easter for eight weeks. The location is the Friends Centre in their new eco friendly premises near Brighton Station.
The very first writing class I ever attended was a workshop in London run by the American playwright Bernard Miller. I can still remember some of the things he said: get sex out of the head. Get it back in the bed where it belongs...
I'm not sure what he was referring to - I don't remember my writing or anyone's else going anywhere near such subjects. There was some debate but mostly we just listened to him comment on our offerings.  He was tough, praise was a rare commodity, but he was also inspirational.
The next workshop I attended - after a gap of X years and two children - was at City University in Islington.
It was inspirational in a different way - a mixed group of writers entered into detailed, pertinent discussion under the thoughtful and reflective ear of Alison Burns. It was a productive experience where trust was earned and equality respected. I am still close to several of the writers I met there and my novel grew out of those sessions.
What's the Brighton workshop going to be like? Well, the second workshop will be my model - I am no Bernard Miller - and I am very clear about the kind of atmosphere I want to create. Supportive. Collaborative.
It's not a competition. It's about getting the best possible text. It's about becoming a better reader of your own writing because you are better at reading other people's...

Writers have always needed workshops -- they might have taken the form of a smokey Fleet Street pub in the 1890s (I am thinking of Yeats at the Cheshire Cheese)  or in a church hall or a smart new classroom in one of the most sustainable buildings in the world (hint, hint). We need to share our work with others who understand the challenges before we let it go out to the wider world of family, friends and reading public...

You can find out more about the workshop (and how to enrol!) by clicking on the title of this post or ringing 01273 810210 Monday - Friday, 9.30am-3.00pm.

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