Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bristol: Stories, Books and Science!

Bristol is a really great city for things writing-related. First, you have SEVEN hours to get your entry in for this year's Bristol Short Story prize - deadline midnight tonight, UK time (British Summer Time, we just turned the clocks forward). Stories 3000 words maximum or much shorter (wow us in 1000 words, or even 300). Anonymously judged, of course. Open to any writer anywhere in the world!

To entice you, the prizes are: 1st-£500 plus £150 Waterstone’s Gift Card, 2nd -£350 plus £100 Waterstone’s Gift Card, 3rd -£200 plus £100 Waterstone’s Gift Card. Each of the 17 remaining shortlisted finalists will receive a cheque for £50. Not to be sniffed at! Enter now!

Second, 18 months after the book came out, I finally got to be a guest at a book club! Here is the wonderful Brislington Library Book Group, with my book (nicely plasticized in that way libraries do):

That was already a thrill, it really made me feel like a proper Author all over again. The book group, half of whose members are also in the library's writing group, were delightful, they were interested and interesting, asking questions and also sharing their thoughts about my stories, about writing in general, about books. They made me think about a lot of things - am I a romantic? Why do I go in for short story competitions? What is my next goal? And then, the biggest compliment - when they gave the library copies back, they bought 5 copies of my book to take home.

Chris from Bristol Libraries whisked my books off to the next library, where I'll be chatting in a few weeks, a few days after I read at the 40th birthday celebrations for another of Bristol's libraries, in Henleaze, a great honour. I love libraries, I can't quite get over the idea of free books. Not having that for the past 15 years, it's like walking into a sweet shop! Not that many short story collections on the shelves, but I recommended some other books to this book group and said I'd be happy to let them know about even more, and maybe a short story shelf?

Third, today was Science Day. I spent the afternoon with the members of a fascinating biochemistry lab at the University, being shown around the lab, with me asking silly questions about cells and microscopes, and also about how the life of a scientist works. It was so interesting, and I am going back at 10am tomorrow (yes, bit early for me) to watch an experiment. This is the start of my "embedding" and I will be blogging about it on the Science Faculty website shortly, will link from here. 3 1/2 hours was so much stimulation, my brain was whirring with ideas. I can't wait to see what comes out of it!


Lauri said...

The book club sounds like a lot of fun. I've never actually spoke with a group of people who had all read my book.

Sue Guiney said...

Fantastic on all fronts. The science thing is going to be amazing for you!! Can't wait to hear more. xo