Thursday, 15 October 2015

Writerly goings-on

Various writerly goings-on.

Edinburgh Writers’ Club session 2015-16 got off to a cracking start on 22 September with opening speaker Elaine diRollo. She gave us a very frank insight into her publishing experiences and her writing and research methods. I had read and loved her quirky historical novel A Proper Education for Girls. Her third novel, Beloved Poison (she is now publishing under the name Elaine Thomson), is due from Constable and Robinson (an imprint of Little, Brown) in March 1916. 

The second meeting was a ‘speed-chat’ arranged just like a speed-dating event (so I’m told …) except that you didn’t have to give anyone marks out of ten. As there were four new potential members that night, as well as members ranging from one to thirty years standing, it was an excellent way to get to find out what everyone was working on, what their writing goals were, and generally find out more about them.

Not one but two fellow EWC members are having novels published in the next few weeks.

See my interview with Victoria Hendry here about her first novel A Capital Union. Her second The Last Tour of Archie Forbes is being launched at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Southbridge, Edinburgh on 29 October, 6.30.

The book tells the story of a traumatised Afghanistan veteran fending for himself in Austerity Britain. The publisher (Saraband) describe it as 'A dazzling, empathetic and darkly funny portrayal of the hostile home front' and novelist Manda Scott says it's 'One of the most engaging, powerful, original, heartbreaking books I've ever read.'

And Mairi Wilson’s first book Ursula’s Secret, which won the Sunday Mail Fiction Prize, is being launched at Waterstone’s West End, Edinburgh on 4 November, 6pm. Here's Mairi (on Facebook) talking about it. The paperback will be out for the launch; the Kindle version is available now for 59p.

A former EWC member has a book launch this very evening. Margaret Skea's first novel Turn of the Tide won all sorts of awards and is a brilliant read so I have high hopes of her new one A House Divided.

What inspiring company to be in!

As for me, I am really looking forward to judging the Scholarship Award at the Scottish Association of Writers Conference (SAW) in March. This is for a story aimed at a woman’s magazine and the winner will have their expenses paid to attend the conference. (NB The competition is open only to members of writers’ clubs affiliated to SAW.) I should be getting a pile of manuscripts around 23 November so that will keep me very busy for a couple of months.

I was delighted to be guest author again at a People’s Friend workshop on 10 October in Dundee. There were twenty delegates and as before it was great to listen to the advice from PF Fiction Editor Shirley Blair and her team, and to hear what delegates made of the various exercises. I always learn something myself from these events. Looking forward to the York workshop later this month (fully booked) – and to the train journey down when I can read, write or stare gormlessly out of the window.

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