Tag Archives: writing

Migraine demons and the first ever caricature

4 May
Irving Finkel

Festival Director, Matt Holland with Irving Finkel (right) ©Calyx Picture Agency

Dr Irving Finkel doesn’t like to say he works in a museum. Not because he hates his job, on the contrary, Irving believes he works in the ‘best museum in the world, in the best job in the museum.’ The museum being the British Museum and the job being the cuneiform tablet curator. So why the reticence? Because people then expect him to be ‘dusty and boring’.

I’m pretty sure that anyone who meets Irving would have their expectations adjusted within 30 seconds. He is more one man show than monotone lecturer, adopting different accents in a talk punctuated by finger jabbing, foot stamping and casual swearing. He speaks many languages and exclamation marks feature in all of all of them. Continue reading

Wild writing

18 May
Isn't Lower Shaw Farm pretty?

Isn’t Lower Shaw Farm pretty? Photo (C) Festival Chronicle.

Us chroniclers love an event leader who gives good quote.

Bridget Holding’s workshop was one of well-honed analogies, thoughtful phrases and stimulating prompts.

Her writing hook is wild. “Nature is a brilliant resource – it’s very living, it helps writing to become alive. It grounds ourselves,” said Bridget. And ‘new’ nature writing is very now – such as Amy Liptrot and The Outrun, as featured earlier in the Swindon Festival of Literature.

She explained what she meant: ‘writing is like tracking a wild animal’. An animal exists in its environment; it uses its senses. It has a physical bodily reaction with broad body sensations which intensify into emotions. Emotion is there to deal with a threat, leading to action. This will create powerful writing, lighting up the brain’s neurons, helping the reader live in your world, not simply look at it. Continue reading

Damn fine words – writing workshop with Matt Harvey at the Swindon Festival of Literature

17 May
Writing workshop with Matt Harvey

Writing workshop with Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey’s writing workshop yesterday was a lesson, not just in writing, but how to run a writing course. We had three and a half hours to learn. I felt sympathy for Matt when we introduced ourselves, a proper mixed ability class.

There were published poets and Karen, a novelist with an agent. There were also people who hadn’t written since school; for Lucy that was twenty years ago. That’s one diverse crowd to cater for in a single workshop.

But the great thing about writing is that a person becomes a writer when they write. Whatever inspires a person – with a pen, pencil or finger to put it to paper or electronic device and create words – is job done. Continue reading

Patrick Gale, Eve McBride and truth at the Swindon Festival of Literature

7 May

Patrick Gale and Eve McBride

Patrick Gale and Eve McBride

“I come from a long line of priests. I owe a huge debt to the King James Bible. The language got under my skin. My Father spoke like a King James Bible. Today, I’m a doubter,” said novelist Patrick Gale.

“Mental illness overshadowed my life growing up. Our characters can go just like that from mental illness. I think that’s why I became a writer. I could escape into other people by writing.”

He was in conversation, yesterday, with novelist Eve McBride, fellow truth teller and lover of dogs.

“I suspect we both want to talk about dogs,” said Patrick earlier on Twitter; Eve’s Twitter name is 2bluedanes. “I have a dog in all my books,” said Patrick. Eve’s book, No Worst, There is None, explores the healing of grief from all angles, including by dog. Continue reading

Running and walking with writers at Swindon Festival of Literature

6 May

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Life’s all about choices, and on a warm bank holiday Monday afternoon I faced a dilemma – take a 5km run through Swindon’s Lydiard Park with some Lycra-clad literature lovers, or enjoy a gentle stroll around the ornamental lake of the Georgian stately home with storyteller Rachel Rose Reid.

Continue reading