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Writers Unchained and in the wild

A round-up of our summer adventures – and it’s only July!

Heather Child: ‘Uplit’ at Edgelit

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Heather (far left) on the Edgelit panel

As well as an appearance at the Dark Societies dystopian book club in London, Heather was in Derby last week running a workshop and speaking on a panel at the popular sci-fi, fantasy and horror event EdgeLit 2018.

 

The recent boom in dystopian fiction was the topic of discuss

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ion, though with political decisions made in the last couple of years starting to bed in, it seems the incoming trend is ‘uplit’, or more uplifting fiction. All events were well-attended and people enjoyed meeting their favourite genre authors and getting books signed.

Heather is also at this week’s lunch-time lecture at Bristol City Library on Thursday July 26th at 12.30 in the old library foyer. It’s free, so get there if you can!

Jean Burnett in the Dragons Den

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Jean conquers the dragons

Jean  pitched her unpublished novel to the Chudleigh Dragons at the Chudleigh LitFest last weekend in Devon – and won the prize!

Her cosy crime novel wins a critique from novelist Sophie Duffy from Legend Press.

Jean is also working n a new historical novel and looking forward to a writing retreat in Greece.

 

 

Ali Bacon around and about

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Signing ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ at Wickhambrook

Having survived a book-selling trip to France, Ali set out for Suffolk where she was part of the Wickhambrook literary lunch in late June.

As well as talking about In the Blink of an Eye she had lunch with afternoon speakers Nicci Gerard and Sean French and has been name-dropping ever since.

She is now emerging from a stint on the golf course to do a book signing at Books on the Hill in Clevedon this Saturday 21st and dropping in to the Flash Fiction Festival on Sunday in Bristol.

 

 

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Ali will be at Books on the Hill , Saturday July 21st  Clevedon,  BS21 7PL,

Scottish readers should also check out her website for news of Scottish shenanigans in September and October.

And yes, our next Story Sunday will be in the early autumn, so please watch this space and keep writing!

 

 

 

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Story Sunday – Submissions Open

Stop all the clocks! We’re having ‘A Moment In Time’

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After something of a lull at WU Towers we’re delighted to be open for submissions once more for our first 2018 Story Sunday event on Sunday April 29th with the theme of A Moment in Time when around ten writers will be invited to take to the Southbank stage in Bedminster and enthral us with their talent.

Submissions Open Now

Any genre is acceptable, a historical tale or an imagining of the future, or maybe just a moment, crystallised in words. As ever we love to be shocked, stunned, terrified or delighted in any way.
Please check our submissions page for full instructions on how to send us your finely-wrought words.

All welcome on the night

Our promise to writers is a friendly audience – to our audience a night to remember for a mere £5 entry.
Sunday April 29th
7 – 9 pm
Southbank Club, Dean Lane, Bedminster,  Bristol BS3 1DB
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Readers at our Night of Crime. This time it could be you!

 

A Night of Crime awaits at Story Sunday

Phew, we made it!

As ever is was tres difficile to decide which stories to feature in our Story Sunday line-up but we got there in the end.

We’re looking forward to some fabulous writing and reading so all we need now is you to come along and give them as big an audience as we can muster.

There’s plenty of room and the bar will be open. Tickets £5 on the door.

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Summer news: publishing deals for Heather and Ali

Hello fellow writers and readers and apologies for being off the scene for a while. However we have some excellent news to report and can also give you the heads-up for our next  event in October, part of the annual Bristol Litfest extravaganza.

First, the good news.
In between all that short story action last year, our members were labouring over their long-term projects, two of which have come to highly satisfying fruition.

heather_cFirst up for a round of applause is Heather Child‘s debut novel Smartface recently acquired by  Little, Brown Book Group imprint Orbit via the Julie Crisp Literary Agency.

Heather’s book is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of a woman whose virtual assistant takes on the personality of her missing sister.

When her sister vanished, Freya’s life seemed to stop. Eight years later, she is hearing Ruby’s voice again as a ‘Smartface’, so alive and real it seems she could be out there somewhere, feeding updates into the cloud. But should Freya trust this intelligent assistant, which is programmed to give her everything she wants?

The novel examines what happens when smart becomes too smart, when people accumulate so much data online that they can be recreated as data ghosts and lives can be changed by the information they’ve left behind. The book will be out in spring 2018.

Heather, who joined us a couple of years ago, has already been published in MslexiaUnder the Radar, the Storgy 2014 Short Story AnthologyHerCircle, the Bristol Post and Notes from the Underground online. We’ve loved hearing excerpts from the book at our feedback meetings – I can’t wait to read the whole of this fabulously written  novel which takes a compelling and disturbing look at what might be just around the corner.

Ali_ason 4896x3672Hard on the heels of Heather’s success comes Ali Bacon who has signed with Linen Press Books. In the Blink of an Eye is a re-imagining of the life of Victorian artist and photographer David Octavius Hill. This collection of sixteen stories in ten distinctive voices bring together history, fiction and biography. Ali says:

I was doubtful a mainstream publisher would commit to something that crosses so many of the usual boundaries. I was thrilled when Linen Press snapped it up straight away.

You may well have heard Ali reading excerpts from her work-in-progress at Novel Nights in Bristol or at Stroud Short Stories.  In June of this year Ali also won first prize in the Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition with one of the chapters from her book.
In the Blink of an Eye will be published in mid-2018 when we’ll get to read all of the stories one judge said  ‘knocked his socks off’.

 

And finally! (cue blood-curdling scream)

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Get out those diaries and sharpen your pencils in preparation of our next Story Sunday which will be A  Night of Crime on October 22nd.

Submission details coming shortly here or on Twitter @bww_unchained

Review – and recommendation! Story Sunday through the eyes of a first-time reader

Thanks to Suzanne McConnaghy for summing up her first experience of reading with us at Southbank on March 19th.

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Mark Lewis, Suzanne, Ali Bacon, Debbie Young, Heather Jo Reed

Writers Unchained impressed me so much at the Festival of Literature, back in October 2016, that I decided I would enter their next event. They’d finally got me to see that writing a short story was not just writing a story: there was an art to it. Large learning curve and here I am at Story Sunday  on March 19th, 2017, about to step onto the stage.

The Southbank Club provides us with a relaxed and welcoming venue to listen to ten writers’ interpretations of the theme: ‘Another Country.’

I soon find Story Sunday’s excellent organisation is very supportive to the readers – when you have a programme and know exactly when you are on, it does a lot to calm the nerves. I’m placed mid-way through Act 1 and this gives me time to see how the first two excellent writers handle the situation but comes early enough to allow relaxed enjoyment of the remaining performances.

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Mark Rutterford, Jean Burnett, John Holland, Lania Knight, Dawn Maria Kelly

Heather Jo Reed’s ‘Mr Muyila’s Bull’ transports us straight out to the African Bush, transfixing the listener as we come to understand the fate intended for the little girl and enjoy the mother’s clever thwarting of her husband’s will. Thoroughly rattled by Mark Lewis’s surreal ‘The Ancestors,’ during which we travel across place and time,’ I realise it’s my turn. I’ve prepared a smooth response to the introduction but fail to hear a word of what is said – it must be nerves – so I have to go straight into the story. With ‘Boy in a Blue Shirt,’ you’re out in Bristol, mixing with the people who live on the streets – and under them.

Ali Bacon’s sensitive story of a young girl’s death, ‘The Coldest Country of All,’ introduces a note of sadness which contrasts well with the following piece, ‘The Emperor’s New Wall.’ After the tension of the previous reading, this satirical story by Debbie Young gives the audience an opportunity for uncomplicated laughter.

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Dawn Maria Kelly, Another Country-style

An interval filled with the strong musical performance of Dawn Marie Kelly, mixing well-known titles with some of her own work, and we’re into the second act with Jean Burnett’s ‘Swansong.’ Set in Malta, it reveals the uncertain world of the hit-man and confirms that his is not the ideal profession – if we didn’t already know it. A smooth performance by Lania Knight with ‘The Red Doll’ touches on the theme of homesickness and the power of certain objects, while John Holland’s ‘The Doorstep’ deals with a familiar character, the Polish workman, whom we see in an entirely new way. Then, Dawn Marie Kelly is back with ‘No Place,’ the story of a simple world somehow made infinitely menacing in the telling. Her acting ability and very convincing American accent made this story very powerful.

To finish, Mark Rutterford’s funny, self-deprecating ‘Skydiving’ takes us on a whirlwind journey through his love life, which feels exactly how I believe skydiving would be. This intricate, cleverly-constructed story is a worthy end to a very satisfying programme.

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Picture by Rebecca Lang

Can I recommend attendance at the next Writers Unchained event?
Most definitely. You’ll sit enthralled through a couple of hours of thought-provoking entertainment. And if you’re a writer with aspirations like me, you’ll also learn much from the way in which the performers handle their material and deliver it to the audience. Look out for the next Story Sunday.

Thank you, Suzanne! If anyone would like to be notified of our next event,  please contact us to be added to our mailing list. 

Another Country – nearly there!

anothercountryorangeThe programme is nearly done for our next event on Sunday March 19th when ten local writers will read their interpretations of our chosen theme ‘Another Country’

The venue is Southbank Club, Dean Lane, Bedminster, Bristol  BS3 1DB
7-9 pm

Entry £5 on the door.

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Guest writers at the last Story Sunday

We’re delighted our line-up is confirmed. Come along and hear new work from old friends and familiar faces and with live music from Dawn Kelly. 

Guests: John Holland, Lania Knight, Mark Lewis, Mark Rutterford and Debbie Young

Writers Unchained members:
Ali Bacon, Jean Burnett, Dawn Kelly, Suzanne Mcconaghy and Heather-Jo Reed

 

Hope you can join us!