A bit of both, actually. 2016 has been a very busy year so far. And a very rewarding one.
I did get down to some serious work. As a warm up to getting on with my next book, I wrote two new stories and sent them off and I’m delighted to report that my story Cleo has made the short list of the Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition!
The festival takes place at the beginning of July and there’s a great line up, including Chris Hill (Bridport Prize winner), Katie Fforde (one of Britain’s most popular writers), and the Emergency Poet. I’m particularly looking forward to the Saturday afternoon open-mic session hosted by Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn because I enjoyed it so much last year. (You can read more about the festival here.) We’ll find out who the overall winner is at an event on 1st July, but I’m just really pleased that my story will be published in the festival anthology.
I have also made a start on my next book, The Mother and The Ghost, but I admit progress is a bit slow. Halfway through the draft of the first story, I got side-tracked by an exciting opportunity.
Shakespeare 400: History, Heritage & Faith is a programme of events centred around the exhibition of Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623) & King James Bible (1611) at St Mary’s Church, Warwick. The exhibition is being opened by Dame Judi Dench on Thursday this week, and the full programme includes a new version of Henry VI, film screenings and talks by historians and key figures from the theatre (see more here).
I’m thrilled that I’ve been asked to host an open-mic evening at The Globe in Warwick on 16th June. Since the theme is poetry and prose inspired by Shakespeare and the Bible, I’ve made an unscheduled shift to work on a sonnet or two plus a new short story called Monty and Jules – anyone care to guess what that one’s about?
In the meantime, The Mother and the Ghost is forced to fit in around these other commitments. It’s ticking along, I’ve got a lovely new big notebook with lots of notes and plans and sketches and a half written story called Nana’s Room, but I know I need to be more disciplined. And I will be. Soon.
Because at the moment I’m getting ready to go to the Hawkesbury Upton Literary Festival this weekend – it’s a great little festival in the heart of Gloucestershire and it’s free!(read more here) On Saturday morning, I’ll be sitting on a panel discussing ‘writing what you know’, then joining a group of short story writers to read my story The Journey – or maybe On the Way Home, I haven’t decided which one yet. Then in the afternoon I’m scheduled to read my Henry stories for children, accompanied by a menagerie of stuffed animals …
I’ll report back next week.