"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, 26 October 2011

IN YER FACE versus SUBTLE SUGGESTION - whose side are you on?

New Writing South are hosting The Monday Night Moot in Brighton next week and we're invited to join in the debate with Billy Budd playwright Martin Lewton and award winning actress, choreographer and director Miranda Henderson 
As audiences walk out of the current RSC production of Marat/Sade (‘Utter filth and depravity‘ said the Daily Mail so that's a recommendation then), Rattigan and Wesker are enjoying revivals.The Monday Night Moot is a monthly creative and intellectual whiz, which invites two speakers to talk passionately for 15 minutes, each presenting an opposing view on a burning issue.  It’s then over to the audience to talk back, participate and give their verdict! 
Date: Monday 14 November 2011 
or call 01273 735353.

French Prize could go to a novel set somehwere in ireland

The PRIX GONCOURT - the tres prestigious French literary prize - goes through four rounds: a longlist, a shortlist, a shorter list (which was announced today) until finally  a winner is declared who must be living on his or her nerves by the time the announcement is made, surviving on a diet of nails (the handy kind that are easy to nibble) and strong drink.
The four books on this year's
short short list are:

  • L'Art français de la guerre by Alexis Jenni
  • La belle amour humaine by Lyonel Trouillot
  • Du Domaine des Murmures by Carole Martinez
  • Retour à Killybegs by Sorj Chalando 
My French is almost non existent I am ashamed to say (I won't bore you with a bag load of excuses) but as I have been to Killybegs, a very pleasant town in Donegal, I wanted to find out more. From what I can gather Sorj is a journalist who knows Ireland well. His story is about three generations of a family involved in nationalist politics and at least one family member is an active member of the IRA. 
 As I was reading websites with my French English dictionary in one hand and my finger poised over the Google translate this now button, I can't tell you much more except that some folk seemed to think that Killybegs is in Northern Ireland.
Given the novel's subject, it's an easy mistake for commentators to make. (I am sure the author didn't make it.) Donegal, however, is in southern Ireland - in the Irish Republic.
It is though the most northerly part of the island of Ireland. There, that's cleared that up.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Great Book Give Away for 2012 announced - how many have you read?

One million books will be distributed for free – from this list of 25 – for the second World Book Night which is on St George's Day  - April 23rd - 2012
I've read 12 of them (most recently The Road by Cormac McCarthy) and have to confess that there's at least three on the list I've never heard of... 
Anyone heard of all of them? 
Anyone read all of them?
The one I haven't read and must is Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle. So many people have said how good it is - her more famous book is 1001 Dalmatians.
I would recommend The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell to anyone who hasn't read it - a great example of intelligent women's fiction. No, that's wrong. It's a great example of intelligent fiction. Full stop.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Vintage)
The Player of Games by Iain M Banks (Little, Brown)
Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (Transworld)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Harper Collins)
The Take by Martina Cole (Headline)
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwall (Harper Collins)
Someone Like You by Roald Dahl (Penguin)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Penguin)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Pan Macmillan)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Little, Brown)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)
Misery by Stephen King (Hodder)
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Transworld)
Small Island by Andrea Levy (Headline)
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Quercus)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Pan Macmillan)
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Vintage)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (Headline)
The Damned Utd by David Peace (Faber)
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Transworld)
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (Penguin)
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (Vintage)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Vintage)
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak (Transworld)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Why we read: by the Booker prize winner

Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. Julian Barnes

Monday, 3 October 2011

Felt in the mood for a poem about October...

...to be reminded what it's supposed to be like and here's one by Robert Frost. I presume he was writing about New England and I love the amethyst/mist rhyme (although I probably wouldn't volunteer to read it aloud).
There's nothing mauve and misty about old England right now. July got lost and ended up here, leaving a metallic taste in the mouth. There is gold in the air from a warm winter sun and bronze on the pavement from fallen leaves: there's even silver in the cash registers from unexpected visitors.

Saturday October 1st was the hottest October day EVER - hotter than Athens, Barcelona or Los Angeles.
It's like a present we didn't know we wanted until we got it. 
October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if the were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the all.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

A Chance to Write for Television

CHANNEL 4 are running a screenwriting course for TV drama from January to June 2012 and are looking for 12 talented, original and diverse writers who currently have no broadcast credit .
The course gives a chance to find out how TV drama, particularly Channel 4 TV drama, works, and to write, over a five month period, your own pilot script for an original series or serial, working with an experienced script editor. 
The course is designed so that writers should be able to take part even if in full-time employment (the only attendance is on two weekends, in January and June 2011, and you get five months to write the required two drafts of a one hour drama script).

PLUS writers will be paid a small fee for attending the course - which is the cherry on top of the icing on the cake
How to apply:
Applicants should submit by email a CV and one writing sample. This can be a screenplay, a stage play or radio play, minimum length 30 minutes (novels, treatments, short stories, unfinished screenplays and "shorts" are not acceptable).  The scripts should be original, not episodes of existing drama series.
Email scripts and CV’s to: 4screenwriting@script-consultant.co.uk
Tuesday November 1st 2011.

No, that never happened to me...

...and I suspect it won't.
A book review written in middle English
Here's a small taste
As þe poete sayde, and richtig:
Þe more strenghþe of ioye myn herte strayneз.
An grete boke: ye most beye yt.
(The sentiments of the last line work in any language)
If you'd like to read more visit the Punkadiddle blog