Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Video art of The White Road

I'm on a writing retreat here right now, but while I am away writing masses (I hope), here's a wonderful thing, an unexpected result of my book. Video artist Richard J O'Callaghan has made a piece inspired by the title story, The White Road. Here it is! I love it, I think it's just fantastic that someone was inspired to create pictures by my words. Thank you, Richard!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Retreats, short story events and workshops

So much to cram into one blog post! My hands are much better, partly due to Dragon NaturallySpeaking, although I don't really like talking to myself. Partly due to excellent osteopath! The nice news is that I have won a fellowship to the Hawthornden Castle Writers Retreat for next summer, am very excited. I am finding it so hard to find any time to write, I've realised I need to set up these retreats well in advance to actually get it done!

What's taking up my time? Well, The Short Review, for one - which is 3 years' old this month! No, I never would have believed it. If I'd known what it would grow into, I think I might have been too daunted to start at all. But I am so happy I did, and am very grateful to all my reviewers, past and present, all over the world, for making it happen every month.

Talking of short stories, it's National Short Story Week next week, and I've organised an event in Bristol, readings by many local writers, special guest Vanessa Gebbie, and a short open mic at the end - Wed 24th, 6-8pm, at the Blackwell's bookshop in Park Street - more details here, come along if you're in the area!

Talking about Vanessa, she's not just a wonderful writer but a great teacher too, and now you have the chance to experience that in the most wondrous setting, Anam Cara Writers' and Artists' Retreat (to which V and I and Sue are off shortly!). Here are the details, it will be a small and intimate retreat, so book your place now!

Short Fiction: So Much More Than It Seems...

Led by Vanessa Gebbie

One-week Residential Workshop Retreat

Arrival: Saturday, 28 May 2011

Departure: Saturday, 4 June 2011

A chance to explore in depth the craft of short fiction in all its challenging guises, in one of Ireland's most creatively exciting venues. A chance to focus on acquiring skills that will maximise the chances of your work rising to the top and standing out for the right reasons not only in publication slush piles but also in competitions.

In the company of a well-published, multi-prize-winning short storyist, who is also an experienced tutor, this will be a focused, collaborative workshop retreat during which you will create not only complete new work and the seeds of many new stories, but you will also discover tried and tested strategies for editing and revising your existing work to make it as good as it can be.

Although biased towards the art and craft of short fictions, we will also be able to explore the relevance of the craft issues to poetry, prose poetry and longer works.

Monday, November 08, 2010

speech recognition software and science inspired fiction

Quite amazingly, I'm dictating this blog post with Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software! Maybe I'm the last person to find this out, but this thing is bloody good! I got it four days ago,spent about 10 min training it, and it's really doing very very well. Not only can you dictate, you can also give commands to navigate around your computer. Unfortunately, this means that I can't use my laptop, which runs the LINUX operating system, so I have to use it on our Windows laptop which is just there for emergencies. I'm not a fan of Windows, I love Ubuntu, it's a brilliant operating system. Ah well, can't have it all.The oddest thing I'm finding is that I don't know what to do with my hands while I'm talking!Any (decent) suggestions welcome.Also, it's a bit hard to drink coffee and dictate at the same time!

I had a lovely time in the last few days to book launches, the ones I mentioned the end of my last blog post,Susannah Rickards' hot kitchen snow, and Vanessa Gebbie's storm warning: echoes of conflict. Great ideas for Christmas presents, if you're stuck!(sorry for the lack of links, really don't know how to do that with speech recognition.)

Just wanted to point you towards part one of a blog post I have up today on the amazing Wellcome collection blog. They asked me to write about science inspired fiction, and I wrote so much that they've split it into two parts! Part one is here: http://wellcomecollection.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/fiction-inspired-by-science-part-i/ your comments are very welcome.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Catching up

I haven't blogged for a while because - entirely due to my own stupidity - my repetitive strain injury has flared up again, and my right arm is very sore. So will keep this brief. Nice news: my new flash story, That Small Small Inch, is a finalist in the PANK 1001 Awesome Words contest and will be published in March. My story, Vegetable, Mineral, was a finalist last year, I feel like I'm approaching awesomeness, slowly, slowly!

Also, if you're in Bristol, come to the launch of the ShedFest Anthology tomorrow night, Wed nov 3rd, 8pm, at the Thunderbolt - this is the follow-up to the excellent ShedFest in September, the first ever literary festival in a shed! Organiser Mike Manson has compiled everything we read that night into an anthology, and £3 from every copy sold goes to the Pakistan Flood Appeal. Buy it here.

On that note, Greg McQueen's done it again: the man behind 100 Stories for Haiti has now produced 50 Stories for Pakistan, all of whose proceeds also go to the Pakistan Flood Appeal. The book features stories by Robert J. McCarter, Joanne Fox, Erik Svehaug, Susan Lanigan, Anne Mullane, Lisa Ricard Claro, R.J. Newlyn, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Martin Webster, Jonathan Pinnock, Trevor Belshaw, Julia Bohanna, Iain Pattison, Laura Eno, Dave Clark, Pam Howes, Alun Williams, Annie Evett, Jennifer Stakes, Rebecca Emin, Marjorie Tolchard, Marit Meredith, Paul Malone, Ewan Lawrie, Jarred McGinnis, Alex Tomlin, Gail Richards, Benjamin Solah, Ruchira Mandal, Alyson Hilbourne, Ramon Collins, Darren Lee, Riaz Ali, Nasim Marie Jafry, Heather Parker, Shazia Bibi, Andrew Parrott, Brigid O’Connor, Rob Innis, Tony Williams, Annemarie Neary, Emma Newman, Robert Long, Beryl Brown, Vanessa Couchman, Joanna Campbell, Sylvia Petter, Rosemary Hayes, Paul Anderson, and Alice Turner. Get yourself a copy now.

I'm off to 2 book launches this week of two great friends: Susannah Rickards' Hot Kitchen Snow and Vanessa Gebbie's 2nd collection, Storm Warning. And greatly enjoyed two launches in the past few weeks, of Sue Guiney's Clash of Innocents and Elizabeth Baines' The Birth Machine. Nothing better than celebrating the birth of friends' books!