My Writing Life: Weeks 10 & 11
A fortnight of updates this week – which is my way of skirting round the issue of not posting last weekend. Largely becauuse of the hearty poetry overdose mentioned above.
The fortnight in numbers:
- 1 completed draft of a play script
- 1 funding application submitted
- 1 review written for Words by the Water
- 2 festivals (StAnza Poetry Festival & Words by the Water)
- 3 strolls along the St Andrews sea front
- 4 bookshops visited (including a beautiful new one in St Andrews)
- 5 prompts written for my young writers
- 6 books read / partly read
- 8 trips to various St Andrews cafes
- 9 teddy bears donated for an upcoming project
- 16 new books acquired (oops!)
- 35 (ish) events worked on / attended
- Countless coffees / teas / chai lattes drunk
Hence only 1 blog post.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve attended two festivals. I volunteered at StAnza Poetry Festival (St Andrews, Fife), and then received a young person’s bursary to attend Words by the Water in Keswick. (I’m going to miss being a ‘young person’ once I turn 26. Goodbye rail discounts and cheap theatre tickets. Hello adulthood.)
StAnza was a wonderful whirlwind of poetry. I counted up from the brochure, and I think I attended and / or worked on around 25 poetry events over 5 days. Poets from Jo Bell, to Don Patterson, to Lemn Sissay, to Sean O’Brien, to Matthew Sweeney, to Em Strang, to Fiona Benson… The list goes on and on.
Words by the Water was slightly less hectic: only 10 events, and I was only attending those, rather than working on them. I was also lucky enough at Words by the Water that one of my bursary tickets was for James Rebanks’ talk, which was completely packed. I think every single seat in the house was taken – which is around 500 seats. (I wrote a review of this event, as part of my bursary agreement. Hoping it should be on the Words by the Water website in the not-too-distant future.)
We also had a film showing at Penrith Old Fire Station this week: This Changes Everything, followed by a discussion about climate change (which got quite heated, ironically).
Other highlights of the fortnight? I completed a draft and a redraft of my play! I also discovered a lovely new bookshop in St Andrews, where there are sliding ladders to reach the top shelves and they give you a cup of tea while you’re browsing.
The week(s) in books:
- Joshua Levine, Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle for Brittain
- Joshua Levine, The Secret History of the Blitz
- Caroline Moorhead, Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
- James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life
- David Hare, Amy’s View
- [currently reading:] Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
An unusual amount of non-fiction recently. Partly because I’ve rediscovered the joys of research (seriously: finding stuff out can be so much fun!) and partly because I’ve been wanting to read James Rebanks’ book for ages, and it’s just come out in paperback (much more affordable than hardback)!
I was also lucky enough to see David Hare speak at Words by the Water, so raided a second-hand bookshop any came out with Amy’s View – now signed by the author.
As for The Blind Assassin: it’s been on my bookshelf for years, so I thought it was high time I actually read it. Only on about page 200, but so far hugely enjoying it.