The writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

Fabric at the British Library

Scan 2

This is a piece of fabric I bought while on holiday in Banjul, capital of the Gambia. We spent a day in the city in order to  visit the Methodist Church where a new generator had been purchased  by the congregation  in New Malden.  The cloth celebrates the Methodist Church in the Gambia and I became fascinated by the Gambian tradition of wearing fabric to acknowledge and promote many different things. I remember seeing a woman in Albert Market wearing traditional dress with a matching head wrap in bright, printed fabric. When I asked if the cloth was for sale, I was told it was worn in support of a political party. While logos and designer brands have become part of popular culture in this country, it seems that wearing anything to indicate allegiance to a political party is limited to a badge or rosette.

I was prompted to make this post after visiting the West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition at the British Library.  There you will find a whole range of artefacts that demonstrate the interlinking nature of word, symbol and song including texts, drums, shell-stories and, of course, fabric. It’s well worth a visit. 

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Best of CafeLit 2012

Product DetailsWhen I received an email on New Year’s Day from Debz Hobbs-Wyatt saying that my story The Shallows had been included in The Best of CafeLit 2012, I was delighted. Now I’m looking forward to receiving my copy of the anthology which is available through Amazon. The ezine CafeLit is a fantastic place to submit stories up to 3,000 words. Each year Debz selects 15 of the stories she’s most enjoyed for inclusion in a trade book and contributors receive a share of the profits.

I’m really pleased to see my work appear alongside that of Patsy Collins. Patsy has had considerable success in having her stories published in women’s magazines and now has a number of print and ebooks available. She writes regular blog posts which are well worth reading and you can find the link to her blog here.

Interestingly, Patsy was made redundant earlier in the year and I’m taking inspiration from the writing she’s undertaken since she’s been liberated from paid employment. In the meantime, the date of my dismissal through redundancy approaches and I’m making plans for a refocused future. When everything is confirmed, I’ll let you know more.

 

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Spring writing workshops

I’ve been invited to deliver several flash fiction workshops in the coming months and I’m delighted at the prospect. To give you an idea of what I’ll be covering, please see the outline below:

Flash fiction, keeping it short

Everyday lives are packed with tasks and activities that leave little time for reading or writing at length.  Flash fiction has the ability to fit into the breaks and provides satisfying stories with all the elements of a longer piece of fiction.  ‘Keeping it short’ is an interactive workshop that explores opportunities to incorporate flash fiction into your creative life and will use examples to share:

  • Flash fiction at its best
  • Starting points for writing flash fiction
  • Ideas about the definition of flash fiction
  • Websites and journals that publish flash fiction enabling writers to reach a wider audience

What do you think?  Have I got all the bases covered?

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National Association of Writers in Education: 25th anniversary conference

The Minster’s Western Front (Wikipedia)

I was in York at the weekend, attending a wonderful conference where I also delivered a workshop.  Participants attending ‘Flash Fiction:  keeping it short’ came from across the phases of education, all with an interest in developing writing for themselves and their students. I shared a range of prompts aimed to get those less experienced in writing flash started.  These included:

  • Looking at classified advertisements for inspiration
  • Getting ideas for writing from Dulux colour cards (this prompt originates from Calum Kerr, Director of National Flash Fiction Day)
  • Using pages from small, illustrated notebooks to focus the mind on purposeful word selection
  • Drawing upon a photo to think about the story behind the image, from the photographer’s point of view
  • Describing stereotypes from ‘Come Dine with Me’ to create characters you love to hate
  • Self publishing mini books by folding and cutting a sheet of A4 paper
  • Finding markets for your writing:  a selection of websites and magazines that accept flash fiction.

I’d like to thank everyone that came to the workshop for engaging so readily in the tasks, for being willing to share the outcomes from the prompts and for the feedback provided. Read the rest of this entry »

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