For us it all came down to a rather warm evening at Southbank Club and a great line-up of readers who entertained us with tales of doomed love, doomed window-cleaning, febrile festivals and disturbingly real trouser snakes.
Amongst all the general insanity we also had some spectacular prose and highly professional performances.
So before moving on to whatever autumn may bring, here are a few souvenir postcards of what we did on our midsummer holidays with thanks to all those who came along and made it what it was.
We had a fantastic response to our call for submissions for next Sunday and are busy putting together a sizzle of solstices with a sprinkling of swimming pools just in case the heat gets to much.
Check back in a couple of days for our final line-up and running order. Expect to see supernovae and rising stars from our local writing firmament. Which may not add up astronomically but still promises to be a lot of fun.
Tell the world!
While we rub our hands and gloat over a very tasty bag of submissions for our next event, here’s Gail’s snapshot of Stokes Croft Writers’ carefully managed assault on the genteel cobbles of Bath.
It was a steamy hot summer night on the not-so-mean streets of Bath, when a motley crew of Bristol writers came to town. Presented by the inimitable Stokes Croft Writers, this unique event was hosted at Burdall’s Yard, home of Bath Spa Live.
We Unchained lot (all 3 of us on this occasion) were part of the lively Bristol contingent, bringing a ‘More Banksy Than Bonnets’ night of humorous ‘talking tales’ to the Bath Fringe.
There was a rather patchy turnout from our Bath cousins. We put this down to the weather and people opting for ‘More Barbecue than Banksy or Bonnets’ but there were plenty of us to make up a suitably raucous audience, and it’s good to have a change of scene after all!
Seriously though, Burdall’s Yard is a great little venue, with a convivial bar and an intimate ‘Cavern’ style performance space. The evening was held together (as quoted in the programme) by Christie Cluett and Thomas David Parker. We were treated to acts of highly entertaining word-art, written and preformed by writers affiliated to the various Bristol writing groups.
Such a diversity of work, I couldn’t begin to describe without lauding each and every piece, and its author, but I will give a special mention to our own Heather Child and her wickedly funny “Hell Goes Into Administration” read for us by Jean Burnett.
The evening was rounded off in suitably irreverent Bristol fashion by Stoke’s Croft Writers’ Mel Ciavucco and Christopher Fielden with “Zombies on a Boat”.
Yes. Zombies on a Boat. You had to be there! Perhaps just as well we didn’t have too many Bonnets in the audience as it turned out.
It was an illuminating evening, and I hope those who hadn’t experienced the Bristol writers thing before might hop on over for the next Talking Tales event back on SCW’s home turf!
Bring it on!
Any minute now we’ll be opening submissions for our next Story Sunday event whose theme is Midsummer Madness (submission details here) but here’s a quick run down on what we’ve been up to since the Love Hangover evening which as hangovers go was a whole lot of fun.
We had great stories and performances from all the writers who came from near and far. Sadly none of the rest of us remembered a camera, but thanks to guest writer Debbie Young you can see a few more snaps on our Facebook page.
Since then we’ve had quite a few adventures, starting in February when Louise Gethin performed Ship’s Diary – a short fictional piece inspired by a visit to the SS Great Britain and narrated from the Ship’s point of view – as part of the Bristol Old Vic Open Stage event. If you want to catch Louise again, she will be one of the poets and writers reading on the 9th June at Life, love and Mortality: A Literary Night. For further information: http://www.skylightrain.com/life-love-and-mortality-a-literary-night/
Meanwhile Shirley Wright enjoyed a visit to the seaside when she took part in the Teignmouth Festival and came second in the Teignmouth poetry prize then ran a poetry workshop at Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which was hugely appreciated.
Jean Burnett and Ali Bacon also took part in the Hawkesbury festival where Jean had the Georgians voted second in the ‘My era’s better than yours’ historical fiction panel. More pictures of the whole day are on Ali’s blog.
No prizes (so far)) for Ali whose short story Silver Harvest has been listed in more than one competition, but she did enjoy reading it at the Stroud Short Stories spring event on April 24th. Here’s a great review of the whole evening by Leah Grant of Good on Paper which really captures the atmosphere – and reveals some enticing news for Stroud Short Stories fans.
Our next ‘outing’ before or own Story Sunday will be at the Talking Tales evening in Bath on June 5th. ‘More Banksy than Bonnets‘ is a chance for Bristol writers to go large in the sedate (?) city which is our neighbour, so thanks to Stokes Croft Writers for inviting local writing groups – and watch out Bath!
Perhaps best of all, we’ll be joined at upcoming events by new members who’ve recently joined our Writers Group. We’ve been enjoying their work immensely, so please take a look at Heather‘s and Eleanor’s websites and join with us in giving the a warm welcome.
Like I said, it’s all happening🙂
As soon as we’re over the #lovehangover event, we’ll be heading off for a very important book launch. Established crime writer and our erstwhile member Nina Milton is launching the third in her Shamanic Mystery Series Beneath the Tor in the centre of Glastonbury on Saturday Feb 27th. Do join us if you can.
Beneath the Tor, published by Midnight Ink (Llewellyn Worldwide), features young Somerset shaman, Sabbie Dare, who enlists the help of the spirit world to fight the dark side of humanity.
All the Shaman Mysteries are set in the beautiful, but sometimes eerie landscape of the Somerset Levels, but Beneath the Tor opens on Midsummer Eve at the top of Glastonbury Tor, where beautiful Alys Hollingberry dies suddenly after dancing the night away. The book has its own cast of Glastonbury characters and examines many of the myths and legends of this mystical town.
The launch will take place at
The Avalon Rooms
at the Glastonbury Experience (2-4 High Street BA6 9DY)
2pm on Saturday 27th February
All Nina Milton’s books will be available at a special launch price.
Ronald Hutton, professor of history at Bristol University, and author of Pagan Britain will give a talk on shamanism today, and Nina Milton will give readings of her work and sign copies of her books.
Complimentary refreshments will be served and blues guitarist Arthur Billington will provide acoustic music. All book lovers are invited, and admission is free.
Born in Bristol, Nina has been writing since she could hold a pen, and holds an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
She began her writing career when she was awarded the Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Prize. She returned to the prize-giving in 2015 to talk about what can happen after winning. Milton Nina Milton is also a Druid with shamanic training. “Druidry takes me close to the earth and into the deep recesses of my mind. Shamanic techniques help me in my life – in fact they changed my life.”
If you’re a reader or writer, Nina will be happy to chat to you at the Launch Event; “I love talking about my passion, writing,” she says. “Talking about it makes a break from the actual writing!”
Here are some reviews of her books:
Embark on Nina Milton…and you won’t stop reading…
Naomi Lewis, Sunday Observer
Nina Milton has created a unique fictional world in her Shaman Mystery Series, featuring Sabbie Dare as a young shaman. With Beneath the Tor she passed the ultimate test of a writer, that of causing me to put off useful jobs which I really should have been doing, in order to see what happens next. She has become a mistress of plot-weaving, and above all, she pulls off the trick of setting the totally fantastic amid the totally everyday and making the two fit together with pace and excitement…
Ronald Hutton, author of Pagan Britain and The Triumph of the Moon.
This third mystery of the series hits the ground running. I read the book straight through with only some sleep in between. It’s not necessary to have read the first two to read this one. Wonderful mix of modern grit and ancient magic…
Chesapeake Reader Amazon.com review, December 2, 2015
Sabbie Dare is the most compelling protagonist I’ve met this year, and Milton’s tale is riveting…the visceral suspense Milton creates is commendable, not to mention terrifying. I like pairing her work with Elly Griffiths’s atmospheric English mysteries
Milton puts an intriguing New Age spin on the traditional English mystery
In the Moors, 2013
Unraveled Visions, 2014
Beneath the Tor 2016
Milton’s books for older children, Sweet’n’Sour (HarperCollins) and Tough Luck (Bristol Publishers ThornBerry) were both set in Bristol.
She has a long track record as a short story writer, winning the Wells Literary Festival Short Story Prize among others.
And some of Nina’s most recent short stories can of course be read in our own Unchained Anthology.