I have been out and about with my camera in Bath! For my latest project I have teamed up with Bathscape Walking Festival again. Last year I curated a story walk around Bath with six other writers and long-time friends, Kilter Theatre. We were planning a new story walk this year, but it proved too complex to organise. So we decided to film last year's stories and create a virtual walk. You can view the resulting films here. I hope you'll walk the walk, either in reality or on your sofa at home!
I was delighted to be involved in Bath Radio's Literature Festival in July. A Word In Your Ear curated five short fictions from Story Friday writers, including one of mine. I interviewed the wonderful crime writer Sarah Hilary, and I was interviewed in turn by Elaine Miles.
I'm pleased that my story The Longest Journey won the B&NES Libraries Lockdown competition (I shall be skipping down to Mr B's to spend my winnings!). The story was recorded by Bel Mooney and has been published on the Papernations website as part of their Great Margins project. The judges said that the story 'caught their attention, finding light, hope and happier days where there only seemed despair'. You can read it here or listen to Bel Mooney reading it here. It was also broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol (read by me this time). 'Beautiful fiction,' said Adam Crowther, 'Absolutely lovely.'
In other news, I've been busy during lockdown. As all live events were cancelled, I got together with Olly and Caroline from Kilter Theatre and we decided to put Story Friday online. We created three events with the theme Dark Clouds, Silver Linings in April and May, and a collection of stories with the theme A Breath of Fresh Air in June. We've got a Youtube channel with 27 brand new stories - a hugely varied selection, including two of mine. Click here for all the links.
I've been running weekly workshops on Zoom, instead of my regular workshops in Bath and Bristol. These proved really popular. I've also been running a weekly short story discussion group. Both the workshops and the discussion group paused now for the summer, but are returning in September. For further information here. Let me know if you'd like to be told about upcoming workshops.
I had another story on BBC Radio Bristol recently, Furlough. It's the third of the stories I've written in lockdown that Adam Crowther has played. "I love that so so much," said Adam when he heard it, "What a lovely sketch." The other two of my lockdown stories he's played are The Longest Journey and Lucky. I've had quite a few of my stories broadcast now on Adam's show. It's a bit fab to hear my voice coming out of a real radio! He's also broadcast A Long Way From Home, Living in the Shadow of Venus and The Winter's Egg, all of which are serious stories, and a couple of humorous ones including The Witch, "It put a right smile on my face," said Adam, and No Animals Were Hurt In The Writing Of This Story: 'Lovely story that had me belly laughing today', said Adam.
I'm also delighted that the wonderful Fairlight Books have published one of my stories, The Garden, on their short story portal. This is the third of my stories they've published. My story The Winter Egg appeared on their website at Easter. The story is about the female designer of one of Faberge's Imperial Easter eggs, and was inspired by my recent trip to St Petersburg. They published my story Touching The Sun last summer, and they have selected it to be included in their anthology 'Best of Fair-light Shorts' which will come out later this year.
I was very pleased that my favourite Cornish live fiction event TellTales selected one of my stories for their online recordings, theme of 'Freedom'.
Festivals: I was due to perform on my first solo show Long Story Short at Bath Fringe (May) and Buxton Fringe (July). Both Bath Fringe and Buxton Fringe have now been cancelled. I'm contemplating how and whether to progress the show. I was also looking forward to reading my monologue Mouthy at the Frome Festival for Nevertheless Productions. That festival has now been cancelled.
In news from Before:
I was so pleased that A Long Way From Home won the Frome Short Story Competition, and in a double whammy I got the local writer's prize too! Huge thanks to the organisers and to wonderful judge Tyler Keevil. I was invited to read my winning story on Frome FM. The recording is now available on the Frome Writers' Collective's website or here.
Elsewhere, Storgy Magazine have published The Interview, one of my favs, in their latest magazine (and they said I was a 'gifted story-teller' - little dance of delight!). Blue Nib published A Long Way Home on their website in September. I was also very pleased to win third prize in this year's Yeovil Short Story competition. I was a finalist in the Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Awards, and have a story in their 2019 anthology.
My story Swimming Away was in the July issue of the uber-cool Barren Magazine. My story The Clown was published by Fictive Dream in May, such a chic website hosting some fabulous stories. Someone liked me in Frome this year, because as well as winning (which was lovely) another of my stories My Land, Your Land was longlisted. My story Celestial Dragon was shortlisted by Magic Oxygen, and will be published in their latest anthology.
Plays and scripts:
My short monologue Mouthy was screened at the Egg Theatre in August as part of the Fourteen project, and was recently screened again at the Clifton Lit Fest in Bristol. Many thanks to Engage, Screenology, and especially director Hannah Entwhistle Jones and wonderful actor Suzanne Kendall.
I'm was so pleased that one of my short plays 'This Heart of Mine' received a rehearsed reading at the Merlin Theatre in Frome in February.
In exciting news, I have been shortlisted by Greedy Ear to develop a theatre-in-the-dark sound play. More on this soon. Also, The Goats Theatre Company will be recording my play Reputation soon, and it will be available to listen to one their podcast.
Little Potatoes went down really well at the Old Red Lion in London last year:
'An extraordinary, heart-warming tale...thought-provoking and well-executed....it will get you laughing one minute and crying the next' [My Entertainment World']
'Heartachingly moving and delightfully comic' [The Spy In The Stalls]
'An emotional two-hander with a relevant political message...refreshingly different' [London Pub Theatres Magazine]
'Well-written, self-contained..a quietly absorbing study' [Everything Theatre]
I'm so proud that after our fantastic runs at the Old Red Lion in 2019 and at the Edinburgh Festival in 2018, Little Potatoes lived on in a new production by Red Dragonfly Productions. It was part of Taking Flight at their pop-up Nomad Festival and toured to the New Forest, Cheltenham and the Buxton Fringe Festival. We are discussing staging it again for a Chinese Theatre festival in the autumn of 2020.
Foraged Fictions, a story promenade event which I created with Kilter Theatre went down at storm at Prior Park. "This is a production of an originality that expands the boundaries of what is considered theatre. One hesitates to use the word 'magical', but this is a unique experience that echoes in the memory for long afterwards." (Theatre Bath*****).
I was very pleased to hear that my story Morg has been downloaded nearly 80,000 times on Bedtime Fm, and gets 800 new listeners a month. It is apparently Darcy (aged 6)'s 'enduring favourite' on the podcast site...!
Readings: I've continued to read my stories at Story Fridays in Burdall's Yard, Bath, the event I run with Kilter Theatre. I'm running some Story Saturday events at Clifton Library in Bristol, where I will be reading alongside other writers, as guests of Foccal. I have read stories in a variety of sites recently, including the atmospheric Tin Church in Brokerswood, as part of the Frome Festival.
If you'd like to get in touch with me send me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.