Tag Archives: flash fiction

The Rest of the Bristol Litfest

Although we’re focused on The Twilight Zone, our members are making best use they can of the rest of our lovely Bristol Litfest. Here are a few events we’re involved in or can recommend.

Friday 21st, 7 pm
The Flash Slam at 51 Stokes Croft

Five local writing groups ‘compete’ to come up with the best flash fiction (up to 200 words) on the night. Last year’s event was a riot (almost!) This year Gail, Jean and Jo with friends Louise Gethin and Gavin Watkins will represent us as Writers Unhinged. Come and support us – or any of the rest!

Saturday Oct 22nd, 3 – 4pm
Ancient Egyptian Storytelling at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Four local authors, including our own Jean,  will read original stories inspired by the myths and mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Should be atmospheric!  No tickets, just turn up.

scwritersSaturday 22nd, 7 – 11 pm
Talking Tales, Left Bank, 128 Cheltenham Road

A first outing at this event for Ali Bacon. Natalie Melling who read at  Midsummer Madness is also reading.  Come along to calm them down and cheer them on. Live music as well as prose and poetry! Presented by Stokes Croft Writers

On Sunday it’s The Twilight Zone!

Yes, it’s us, As if you didn’t know. Southbank Club Bedminster from 6 – 8 pm. Tickets £5 on the door.

Thursday Oct 27th, 2 – 4.30pm
Making History Workshop

Royal West of England Academy: Tickets: £20  

A workshop aimed at those interested in historical writing – that’s at least two of us! With Mike Manson and Lucienne Boyce. Looking forward to it 🙂

Finally, for those for whom the Twilight Zone will never be enough, this one’s unmissable!

Saturday 29th October,  2pm to 3.15pm
Science and Science Fiction: Versions of the Future, Mercure Brigstow, Welsh Back, BS1 4SP . Tickets £5.

Science Fiction writers and Scientists bring you near-future stories designed to provoke lively debate

Of course this is a pitifully small selection of everything going on in Bristol in the next few weeks.

Make sure you check out http://unputdownable.org/ for all the other goodies – and do it quickly, some are selling out!

comic-con

 

 

 

On with the Midsummer Madness show!

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!

Details below.

midsummerposter2

More Banksy than Bonnets it certainly was

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. 

bathfun

Shaping up for a bit of iconoclasm?

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.

banksybigposterThere 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.

jeanheatherbath

Heather and Jean recover from hell going into administration with a nice cup of tea

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!

scwriters

Thanks to Stokes Croft Writers. Who needs bonnets anyway?

Live events round-up by Claire Snook

Claire Snook who lives in South Gloucestershire and is currently finishing a second novel, reports back on two of the many recent live events in Bristol- including our own! 

claireshaun

Claire with a local celebrity

Something special seems to be going on in Bristol at the moment. There’s never been a better time to be a writer in the city with so many opportunities for scribblers to get themselves seen and heard out there. I’ve even partaken in a couple of events myself; reading at the Writers Unchained inaugural Spine Tinglers’ night and performing a couple of stories at the marvelous venue that is Sanctum, a truly unique experience.

 

South Bank Club

The Spine Tinglers’ night at the Southbank in Bedminster was absolutely fantastic and it was great to hear stories from Bristol Women’s Writing group and guest speakers including Emily Koch and esteemed horror writer Pete Sutton (who has blogged about the evening here) . It was the perfect night for scary stories as well with dense fog outside. We heard about carnivorous slugs (something that has stayed with me :S), bodies manifesting their owners’ wrong doings, decapitation, and a death that doesn’t go exactly to plan. There are some fabulous storytellers around at the moment and the tales on the night were chilling. I’ve only read one of my stories in public before so I was absolutely terrified – and on last. Thanks, Ali Bacon! (Ed: – no problem Claire – we wanted a grand finale!)

My story was more of a confession as it actually happened while I was living abroad. It involved dancing nuns and rats. I hosted a mini Q&A session afterwards as people wanted to know more – and see the scars. I hadn’t performed one of my horror stories before and it was great to have such a shocked yet positive response. People were still talking about the story the next day across social media, posting videos about parts of it and I even received an email from an audience member telling me she hadn’t slept all night because of my story. Great, and I’m getting it framed.

Sanctum Bristol

Sanctum: a ruined church and a 24/7 performance space

A few days later I found myself sat in front of an audience at Sanctum. This is such a great venue where I again performed a couple of stories – one horror and one magic realism. It had the right atmosphere too – grey and eerie, raining a little outside with just two spotlights in the entire place. People drifted in throughout my twenty minute talk.

There’s definitely something very special about performing there, it was an incredible experience. It’s very intimate with a max of fifty people in the audience. Afterwards I received lots of hugs and talked to people, discussing my stories in depth. People were curious. Another highly enjoyable performance! I think I’m getting the hang of these.

Sanctum is worth a visit; I’ve been back to watch a few performances and can highly recommend dropping by while the project is running. You never know what might pop up next!

Thanks Claire. Sanctum is running until Nov 21st but no programme is published. Kevlin Henney describes it here or follow @situationsUK
Or if you like the idea of performing with Writers Unchained, we’re planning another event at Southbank in February. Details soon 🙂 

Need help with writing? Join us at Southbank, Bedminster

We’ve spent most of the last year toiling away at our writing desks, but with September and that new term feeling upon us we’ve decided it’s time to get out and about again. Our aim is to meet more writers, help more writers, and, yes, find new audiences for our work.

First of all we’re delighted to announce a new partnership with the management of Southbank Club in Bedminster who are keen to have creative arts activities alongside language and exercise classes.

And so first off (drumroll!)  we’re delighted to announce the  Monday Writing Club which will meet fortnightly from Sept 21st (1st and 3rd Monday of each month) from 12 – 1.30  at Southbank (Dean Lane, BS3 1DB) with each session led by a member of the Unchained Writers Collective .

South Bank Bar

Cosy venue for our autumn workshops and story-reading events

So who is it for?

  • Maybe you have an idea I’d like to write about but haven’t quite got round to it
  • Or you might have made a start on something but need moral support, feedback or just the company of other tortured souls
  • Or maybe you’ve got a finished piece of work (WOOP!) but would like some advice on the mad mad world of publishing (believe us, it is!)

radiogroup

If any of these apply do come along and join us. The cost is a only £4 per session with a hot drink provided (BYO lunch)

You can pay on the day, or if you’d like to reserve a place (or have any questions) please use our contact form. 

And did we mention story readings? Watch this space!

southbanklogo

Children and writing don’t mix – or do they?

Jenni O'ConnorJenni O’Connor, novelist, haiku poet, journalist and copywriter,  is also mother to Zoe, aged four. Here she muses on the unlikely fusion between writing and parenting.

“Children and writing don’t mix.” So said one famous male writer, whose name escapes me, presumably as he hastened to the haven of his oak-panelled study, slamming the door to shut out the sound of a wailing baby.

I was musing on this truism today, as I juggled a lorry load of commercial writing commitments with a two-hour long school day – my daughter has just started school and is in the midst of an extended settling in period. Having picked her up, fed her and admired a motley collection of leaf paintings and drawings, and reassured her that it really is OK not to have been able to recognise all the numbers from one to twenty in her second week at school, I then fired up the laptop and CBeebies simultaneously, so I could finish a press release while she enjoyed a bit of time out.

Oh, the guilt! Looking at it that way, children and writing really don’t mix. There’s never the head space, even if there are – on occasion – periods of twenty minutes or more when it might, just might, be possible to pen anything more profound than a shopping list. If only I weren’t so tired.

“How did you write a novel with a baby?” I’m often asked. The truth is, I didn’t. I wrote it before she came along, having very sensibly negotiated a four-day week with my very understanding employer. (I’ve never been a pre-dawn writer, nor a midnight-to-two-am one).

But, around naps and short periods at nursery, and Thursday mornings with gran-gran, I did manage to edit it, and eventually (in 2012), Reach for a Different Sun was nominated a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. When it came to the Unchained anthology, I’m embarrassed to admit that my story was the only one to show up at the first editorial workshop as a first draft stream of consciousness, and it was only with the many thoughtful, insightful and diligent insights from my ‘writing buddy’ that I managed to knock it into any kind of shape.

And yet, and yet. When Zoe was one, and I was just about able to step back and reflect on the wonder and madness of becoming a parent, I wrote a collection of haikus, exploring the journey into motherhood, the marvels and miracles of a baby’s first milestones, and the evolving relationship between parent and child. Perhaps this shortest of short forms, along with flash fiction, is best suited to new (and new-ish) parenthood, given as it is  to capturing and distilling the essence of a given moment in time.

But the greatest gift which parenthood can bring a writer, to my view, is the opportunity to see the world through a child’s eye once more. The chance to regain the awe and wonder in simple things, to stop running just to stay still (in theory, if the laundry, washing up and ironing are ever done), and smile. Children smile, on average, 400 times a day – but by the time they reach adulthood, this is generally reduced to just 20.

So even if it seems impossible; even if there isn’t, in this moment, the time to connect the creative neurons and put fingers to keyboard, I’d urge all writers who are also parents of young children to do this: stop, breathe and observe. Your child or children will bring you untold insights, truths and delights – just by existing. If you’re so inclined, you can jot them down and save them for the day when you finally have more time. And even if they don’t refresh your writing mojo, these moments have the capacity to enrich your life, as long as you’re prepared to stop and listen.

Reach for a Different SunJenni’s first novel, Reach for a Different Sun, is available on Amazon. Her company, Kaiku Communications, specialises in copywriting for print and web. She is currently planning her second novel – though she realises this may take some time!