Friday, 21 October 2016

Summer Break

Right. Where were we? Ah, yes. Summer. A fading northern-hemisphere memory. Having negotiated an equal day–night settlement that has already slipped, it is preparing to concede an hour before heading into further darkness. Summer's shocks and follies have hardened to fallen leaves and windblown promises.

And this is my first blog in a while. There's a few things to recap, so I'll be brief... ish.

Let's kick off with stories and comps and things:
There was also spoken word!

  • The Talking Tales squad left the street-art comfort of Stokes Croft to stage an event at the Bath Fringe Festival under the heading of More Banksy than Bonnets (Bristol favouring insurgency over Regency). I read "Three Moments of Defeat", which received mention in a review of the event.
  • Under the theme of Midsummer Madness, I read #KrakenEvent at Writers Unchained's Story Sunday, which ended the evening on an apocalyptic note (more on that later).
  • In the spirit of doing something I've never done before, I read at a festival. After last year's Sanctum, the North Bristol Writers were invited to do a set at FarmFest. It would be fair to say that the tent, timing and competition with the main stage were not ideal, but it was a good day out and I got to read "Three Moments of Defeat" again. (I wrote the story years ago, but didn't initially see it as a spoken-word candidate... turns out it's a late bloomer.)

And almost last, but most definitely not least, National Flash Fiction Day 2016! This had a bit of everything — spoken word, publication, walking, talking, drinking...

  • As well as the workshop and readings, we had a new event this year: the Flash Walk. The concept, format and everything about it just worked out. Jo Butler and Tom Parker read — indeed, performed! — stories that were related to or inspired by areas area around the Bristol's harbourside. Sidz Photography took some great photos.
  • Judy Darley blogged about the day, particularly the Flash Walk, which she also gets the credit for pulling together.
  • The afternoon workshop with Alison Powell and K M Elkes at the Central Library was well attended and inspiring.
  • I've always aimed to have twelve readers at the evening event. I've always ended up adding one or two more speakers late in the day. This year I thought I'd managed the dozen. Until someone dropped out at the last minute. Fortunately, Grace Palmer and Jane Roberts were able to step in at the last minute to read, joining me, Calum Kerr, Diane Simmons, Freya Morris, Jude Higgins, Judy Darley, K M Elkes, Pete Sutton, Tim Stevenson, Tino Prinzi and Tom Parker to make a baker's — if not dirty — dozen of readers.
  • I read out "First Date, Last Date" and — once more with feeling — "Three Moments of Defeat" (and three mentions in this blog).
  • My drabble, "Lost Love's Labours", was republished in the day's FlashFlood.
  • My story, "The Door Closes", was published in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed, the NFFD 2016 anthology.
  • In the build-up to NFFD, I was one of the competition judges, a competition that gave some great little stories to the world.
  • See the BristolFlash page to see more photos of the walk and the readings.
So is that everything? Almost. Yesterday the Bristol Festival of Literature kicked off. Sadly I missed being able to join the rest of North Bristol Writers for their sell-out readings at Arnos Vale Cemetery, but I'll be joining them tonight at the Flash Slam. I'm reading something apocalyptic at Writers Unchained's Sunday Story. At BristolCon I'm on a panel about AI and robots and will also be running a flash fiction workshop. During the week I plan to pop in on a couple of other things.

I'll try to report back before the hour springs forward again...