Posted by: scottishwriters | September 16, 2016

Come East to West: part II

In the second blog post following on from our event in the East End last week, Simranjeet Aulakh interviews Charlie Gracie and Mary Thomson about their poetry collections and offers an analysis of their work.

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An Interview with Mary Thomson and Charlie Gracie

Many writers ponder questions of existence. The urge to question everything surfaces up in all our minds from time to time, no matter what your age or status in life. As writers from the East End, Mary Thomson and Charlie Gracie explore questions about life and death through their poetry in both similar and different ways.

As I read Charlie Gracie’s Good Morning and Mary Thomson’s Alphabetical Order I posed some questions to understand more about their writing both in relation to themselves and each other.

Reading your work, I began to see recurring themes concerning life. Why did you choose to substantially write about life and our existence?

MARY THOMSON:

“We all ask such questions. We ask closed questions and spend our life time studying philosophers for instance but we should really be in the moment.” [Such questions are directly asked in Beneficial Properties of Stones: ‘Where do we come from, why are we here?]

CHARLIE GRACIE:

“It’s the surface, poetry responds to things.”

You also explore many other important themes revolving around life, such as love and death. Why does this hold prominence for you in regards to your writing?

CG

“I am not interested in pastoral poetry, for instance by referring to a nice bird. I am more interested in the human condition.”

MT

“Every poet is writing their own life and in doing so they connect with the world. I am reflecting on my own life, hoping to give connections. Hoping to make my own images resonate, for my experiences to be heard. It’s about recognition.”

Mary’s poem Life Span seems to easily capture such themes regarding love and death. This poem uses the metaphor of a butterfly flying away to symbolise how time itself flies by.

In Life Span, a metaphor is used to pose questions about death. What made you think of a butterfly?

MT

“The metaphor is used to represent the gravity of life. It’s about life drawing to its close. All poems start with an event and the event in this case was a butterfly and also waiting to see if my 2 week premature grandchild was born; ‘Its touch was as confiding/ as a baby’s finger on the breast’. I started to think, in the time of me waiting, how long a butterfly lives for. I also started to think about what proportion my life will be and I don’t know. I am constantly thinking about my own life.”

Whilst reading Man Killed by Tree by Mary and Dead on the Hill by Charlie, I began to see that they explore the same ideas concerning life. In Dead on the Hill, the speaker expresses his desire to be taken by nature when he dies, rather than to be found by humanity. The speaker, in this instance praises nature by making it his final resting place; ‘I want the crows to feast/ I want to seep into the earth/ the worms to work my flesh’. In Man killed by a Tree, the same level of appreciation for nature is shown. In this case, a tree gets the blame for killing a person, although it wasn’t its fault as they are just a part of nature. Mary went on to say that she read what she described in her poem as a newspaper headline. She thought that she wouldn’t want that to be the headline for her, if she were to die in the same way as she would have praised the tree because his life would have also ended.

You mention memories in your poems, mostly negative experiences. What are your views on dwelling on the past?

MT

“I think we should always be aware of sensation in order to maxim pleasure in life. I am in my 70s and that is how I live my life. This should be the case when you get older. You shouldn’t let bad experiences define who you are now. Death is approaching, we shouldn’t be wasting time. I feel compassion for my past self which enriches my life now. I think it is better to write than to think, otherwise we won’t be able to express feeling.”

CG

“It is intrinsic for me to write about past experiences. I am Interested in if something is good, what is going to mess it up? On the other end of things I also look at what is bad, I look under the surface of things, in other words. You should expose yourself more, otherwise what is the point of writing poetry. It is like breathing to me- intrinsic.”

One example of the past being explored is Charlie’s poem 8 August 1980. It is a memorial to those who died in the Central Hotel, Bundoran, County Donegal. It pays tribute to the lives lost in the event. Charlie begins by stating ‘It is not just memory’ and ends with ‘It is the love continuing’, suggesting that Charlie seeks to embrace the past and remember it in a positive way regardless of the pain surrounding it.

In Mary’s poem American Clothes, the past is explored in a different way. Heritage is explained through the metaphor of clothes. The stanzas break into three with three different years of time, almost like a poetic timeline where the first stanza is set in 1950, in a rural farm in Cheshire, the second stanza is set in 1975 where the speaker receives clothes from her American born neighbour and the poem ends with the final stanza set in the early date of 2015. Mary explained to me here that “the clothes the speaker brought in Chicago, unlike the store-bought ones from Glasgow made her feel like she can be anywhere. Earlier she didn’t want to be where she was. Her imagination is placing her elsewhere.” This was also the case for Mary as she endured bad experiences whilst growing up and had tendencies to escape her past. Mary doesn’t dwell on her past experiences but seeks comfort and happiness in the present.

Good Morning and Alphabetical Order pose pivotal questions we all seek to ask or answer throughout our lives. Whether addressed as part of a metaphor or as an ode to a hotel fire, both collections provide vivid insights into inquiries of the human mind.

 

Words by Simranjeet Aulakh

Posted by: scottishwriters | September 13, 2016

‘Owersettin’: Three Poets of Scotland

 

owersettin

For our last August event, the SWC hosted AC Clarke, Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton as they read and discussed their pamphlet Owersettin: a Three-way Conversation.  In the project, each poet chose two poems by the others and translated (sometimes closely, sometimes loosely) or responded to the initial text to produce an original creation infused with their own unique perspective.  What began as a literary experiment for the three poets – Londoner Clarke, native Gaelic speaker Rabatski and Doric Scots speaking Templeton – gradually became a reciprocal conversation between the languages of contemporary Scotland.

While working on Owersettin, the three poets did not set out to choose poems with a common theme.  Nevertheless, from the readings, the universal experiences of love, loss and heartbreak spoke out from their texts. First to read on the evening was Rabatski with her poem ‘Letter to my Daughter’ performed in English and then in her lilting native Gaelic, which was followed by Templeton’s Scots translation.  To round off the first set of poems, Clarke opted to construct a response that drew from her own personal experiences, rather than a translation, with her poignant reading of ‘Letter to my Brother’.

Through the course of creating the poems within the pamphlet, the poets stressed that key gifts they gained was ‘a kind of attentiveness’ to the medium of language and performative aspects to poetry.  Neither Clarke nor Templeton have a grasp of Rabatski’s native Gaelic, however, the dissociation from the language compelled them to observe the feeling and rhythm of the poetry in their responses.  Furthermore, the translation process also made the poets reach beyond the usual subject matter they tend towards naturally.  While Rabatski and Templeton tend to draw from their personal lives, Clarke noted that the project had forced her to address her personal life and create poetry she ‘clearly needed to write’.

The project also allowed the rare experience of seeing their poems through a different voice and perspective. Clarke stated that her work had become ‘reinvigorated’ and that ‘[the poem] wasn’t any more my poem: it was an equal poem’. Owersettin became not a selection of derivate translations and responses, but poems infused with their own power. Through reinterpretation, the texts become parallel poems; poems in transit, moving between linguistic borders to open up a dialogue on common human experiences.

At the end of the evening, the poets turned their three-way conversation out to the audience and asked: ‘Was there anyone able to understand all of the poems?’.  Only one person raised their hand.  In this admission, the poets arrived at the core of their project: through translation, each poet was able to open up their writing to a wider audience and transcend the limits of language. Owersettin is not just a three-way conversation between Clarke, Rabatski and Templeton, but also a four-way dialogue between the writers and the audience.

owersettin-catalogue

Purchase Owersettin here.

 

Words by Abigayle Brown

Posted by: scottishwriters | September 9, 2016

Come East to WEST: An interview with Mary Thomson

On Tuesday 6th September, the Scottish Writers’ Centre journeyed to the East End for a night of poetry and music. Although it wasn’t our usual place of residence, it was entertaining and creatively diverse.

Beforehand, I had the pleasure of speaking to the poet behind the event, Mary Thomson. She is one writer who fairly represents literature in the East End, a place not prominent in all things literature-related. In this interview, I asked her about the event, as well as how the East end influences in her writing.

Originally from Yorkshire, Mary moved to Scotland in 2005. She has worked as an art critic, curator and freelance writer. Alphabetical Order is the fifth in a series of poetry pamphlets she has published.

 

mary-t

 

Tell us about your inspiration for organising this event. What is the event about? Who is it for?

Mary Thomson:

There has been very little happening, literature-wise, in the East End and, knowing the venue, I thought it would be good to try and tempt audiences to travel from the rest of the city and to offer a poetry event to a local audience where I live.

Has coming into the East End of Glasgow from elsewhere had an influence on your writing?

MT

Ten years ago I moved from rural Yorkshire to Scotland, so since then have been adjusting to a change of country and culture. The big change of moving from the country to the city was reflected in poems in the next pamphlet Comings and Goings, then after a year living in the East End I put out a very small sequence of poems called, simply, East End. In that I naturally wrote about some local landmarks – but as metaphors for ideas. Clearly, life experiences are crucial to my writing; creative people are always looking to validate, record, examine or celebrate what happens to them through their art, whatever the medium. 

Whilst reading your poem St Mungo’s Burying Place, I noticed it pays homage to St Mungo. You appear to  take an historical and factual approach to this poem as you refer to his tomb in the cathedral with undertones of factual references, for instance the fact that he was nicknamed ‘dear one’ came up in the first stanza of the poem. I was wondering because you are not from Glasgow, did writing this poem make you feel more connected to/ or at home here?

MT

I have always enjoyed knowing about the landscape I have lived in, from its geology, through its archaeology, its history, the visible evidence of what its geography looks like and what and why man has built in it. I have moved many times and each time have learned a new history of what is under my feet or in front of my eyes, because I’m curious and it pleases me to know, (see the last phrase of the poem Alphabetical Order) not in order to make myself feel at home, though it has that effect I suppose and may explain why I have always relished the stimulus of change!

I was also wondering what St Mungo means to you directly, why are you interested in this figure?

MT

In addition, I have always had what I would call a keen sense of place or what artists refer to as genius loci. St Mungo died in approximately 627 and was buried on the site of what became the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral. Stories about him suggest that he was a modest and much loved saint and I imagined the first settlement, then the little wooden church built by his followers, then other hands building in stone until, 600 years after he died, the current cathedral took shape in the 1200s. So, though it is based on facts and an understanding of the geography and fauna of the site, my poem is strictly imaginative in its approach and arises from that sense of place experienced by his tomb, on frequent and regular visits to the cathedral. The way a poem looks on the page, has to reflect the feeling and meaning of the poem and you will see other examples of this in all my poems, but St Mungo’s Burying Place has a very solid look, as though stone has been set on stone to build something lasting.

The event broke down the metaphorical compass of writing in Glasgow, bringing people together creatively regardless of which direction they came from.

Each poet had their own sense of flair and originality. From Mary Thomson and her charming readings about her adjustment to city life from originally being a ‘country girl’, to Finola Scott’s darkly feminist rewriting of the fairy tale Red Riding Hood, to Lesley Traynor’s powerful deliverance of ‘Big Bad Wolf’, to Charlie Gracie’s tender reading of his very recent poem dedicated to his first born grandchild, all tied together with many other incredible poets and the amazing musical stylings of Will MacArthur – this event had it all.

It fully delivered on its promise, to bring East to West in style.

Words by Simranjeet Aulakh

Posted by: scottishwriters | September 5, 2016

Glasgow’s Indy Book Crawl

Here in Glasgow, we can count ourselves lucky to have plenty of independent bookshops still lining our streets. From arty zines to secondhand classics, all kinds of writing awaits the curious reader in these lovely little stores. Use a free afternoon wisely and follow the #indybookcrawl trail … You could even fit in a pint or two along the way!

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Posted by: scottishwriters | August 31, 2016

Crafting a Story with Lea Taylor

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Lea Taylor describes storytelling to us with the simple phrase, “out of the mouth”. Storytelling is not simply reading from books, even if the initial ideas might be garnered from them. To open her talk on a warm August evening, she explains how storytelling was a pre-literate tradition, key to many Indigenous cultures, where bards were upheld with prestige allowing people in communities to gather and store information with precision. This ties into Taylor’s educational work, which includes using storytelling to help improve literacy for people of all ages; Taylor is both a performer and a community worker.

As her job title suggests, Taylor’s appearance at the CCA Club Room is filled with entertaining and unexpected anecdotes. Speaking of the strange places her storytelling has taken her, she recalls arriving at one event in a forest in the States, only to realise she was about to perform to a naturist community, fully-clothed. As well as requiring refined social skills for dealing with such situations, her career encourages the use of various artistic mediums – accompanying Taylor on the train from Midlothian is a wicker dog named Dougie. She handmade Dougie for her show, Pedigree Tales, made up of funny stories from a canine point of view.

Taylor finds the seeds of stories all around her. When she stumbles upon an idea, whether it’s a pet’s tale or a forgotten protest by the Edinburgh suffragettes, she “rips out the bones to find the essence”. From there, if it piques the imagination, it can be adapted for an audience, and become a fully embodied performance. Storytelling requires fast-thinking improvisation, and engagement with the body language and mood of the audience.

To illustrate the way storytelling affects an audience, Taylor asks us to participate in an exercise of the imagination. We all close our eyes and visualise an elephant, then feed back to the group the details of what we imagined. Everyone brings up different features of the animal and setting. This is how the art of storytelling distinguishes itself from the art of writing. Whereas the written word is rich and visual, spoken stories paint worlds for listeners’ ears so that they do the work to fill in the gaps and make the world come alive in a unique way.

Currently, Taylor is working on research for a novel about the folk tales of Midlothian. In true storyteller fashion, instead of “cheating” by looking through history books in the library, she is following leads from person to person around the area through chance meetings and interviews (being a good storyteller, she advises, comes from being a good listener), uncovering all sorts of local lore. They will be complied into a handbook of inspiration for other storytellers. The truth, she says, is malleable when it comes to storytelling, and stories morph and change between every performance to performer. This allows stories to stay free from the rigid confines of paper.

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Dougie from Pedigree Tales

 

For more information about storytelling events, visit the Scottish Storytelling Centre website.

Lea Taylor’s official website can be found here.

 

Words and Images, Ellen MacAskill

Posted by: scottishwriters | August 16, 2016

Scotland in Comics: From Our Past to Our Present

When we think about Scotland, there are a few key motifs from the country’s history and culture that stand out. The idea of Scottish people being warriors, the people’s religious views, the mythology surrounding the country, and the way Scottish people embrace their identity are all important aspects of how not only Scotland defines itself, but how the rest of the world views it as well. Here we will look at how comics from Scotland and the rest of the world display what makes Scotland the country it was, and the country it is today.

Scotland’s Past From The Outside: Jean-Yves Ferri, Asterix and the Picts (2013)Slide4

Asterix and the Picts, one of the most recent comics in the Asterix series, details the adventures of Asterix and Obelix as they encounter a Pict for the first time, and travel to Caledonia to help the Picts defeat the invading Roman army. Obviously as a children’s comic, characters are exaggerated (the Picts survive on “malt water” and all have names beginning with Mac) but the characterisation of the Picts rings true to the romantic literary tradition of portraying the Scottish people as brave warriors, fighting off the Romans with ease. This is something that is taught in schools, and that most people take as fact, despite there being little or no historic evidence to support it. Instead this is a myth that Scotland has perpetrated, and that the rest of the world has happily bought into. It can still be seen in media today, and is something that Scotland seems in no hurry to disprove.

Scotland’s Past From The Inside: John Ferguson, Saltire: Invasion (2015)Slide7

Saltire is a comic written and published in Scotland. The series, first published in 2013 and already in its fourth volume, takes the reader through the adventures of Scotland’s first superhero, the titular Saltire, from his creation to help defeat the Romans invading Scotland and beyond. Here again we have the idea of the Scottish as warriors, Saltire shown as singlehandedly taking on a Roman legion, and the creators of the series have made sure there are no doubts about the message they are trying to state. With blue skin, red hair, and a white X-shaped scar across his bare chest, Saltire is the personification of Scotland’s warrior spirit, something for its people to be proud of and embrace about themselves and their histories.

Contemporary Scotland From The Outside: Chris Claremont, The X-Men v1 #104 (1977)Slide10

During Chris Claremont’s long run on Marvel’s X-Men comic, the team of super powered Mutants make frequent visits to the fictional Muir Island, situated off the coast of Scotland. This means that when trouble inevitably begins, the X-Men often end up on the mainland, specifically in Ullapool or Stornoway (shown above). It is interesting to note the types of Scottish characters the reader is introduced to during these visits. There are the deeply religious, such as Rahne Sinclair (a young mutant girl from the Highlands, brought up to believe mutants are evil sinners), and the deeply prejudiced, such as Reverend Craig or Angus MacWhirter (above). The Scotland that Claremont portrays here is a deeply negative one, but one that has some basis in truth. With the reformation and men such as John Knox as examples of religion in Scotland, it is easy to see how the connections can be made, showing the reader another opinion of Scotland’s culture that is out in the world, and based on its past.

Contemporary Scotland From The Inside: Peter Davidson, Oor Wullie Annual (2000)Slide13

The Oor Wullie comic, like its companion The Broons, has been a staple of Scottish comics since the 1930s. Celebrating its 80th birthday this year, the adventures of Wullie have barely changed in all its time in print, acting as a reminder to Scots of their own histories and childhood. By tying in important Scottish holidays such as Hogmanay or Burns Night (above), Wullie is a celebration of what it is to be Scottish, as Scottish people want to be remembered. The fact that Oor Wullie is also written in Scots is a big part of that as well, embracing a piece of Scottish culture so that it is not forgotten.

Scotland Today: David Baillie, Red Thorn v1 #01 (2016)Slide16

Since the first issue was released in January of this year, Red Thorn has been a great success, bringing Scottish culture and history to a wider mass market. Written by Scottish writer David Baillie, Red Thorn is published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics which is one of the two largest comic book distributors in the world today. Baillie has made sure that everything about the Scotland he is writing about rings true in the art, in order to create a real picture of Scotland rather than the vaguely Americanised ideas people are accustomed to seeing in mainstream comics. The above image is a perfect example of that, with a Barrowlands and Necropolis that would instantly transport anyone familiar with Glasgow there with one look. In a conversation with the writer himself, Baillie said of Red Thorn,
“I really wanted to try and get bits of Scotland that ordinary people would recognise onto the comics page. It’s easy to stop at the stereotypes – the shortbread and castles stuff, but I also wanted to show the pubs, streets and houses that we’re much more likely to frequent than tourist spots, and feature the sort of people that I grew up with. It’s great to possibly give all of the mythology a wider audience too, but for me it’s the real world that I wanted to showcase.”
Baillie is not only able to tie together how Scotland and the rest of the world should see Scotland, but he also is able to tie together the country’s past and present. Using this modern setting Baillie explores Scottish mythology, creating some of his own, but also staying true to what is already there to embrace important aspects of Scotland’s past.

Words by Andrew Smith.

Posted by: scottishwriters | August 15, 2016

Introducing Lea Taylor, Storyteller

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Storytelling in Scotland comes from a long history and diverse heritage of oratory literature. Telling tales connects people to literature in an accessible environment, both theatrical and intimate.

Storyteller Lea Taylor hails from the Cotswolds south of the Border, but was given a taste for this tradition while studying Scottish Ethnology at Edinburgh University. She has since developed a career by specialising in literacy and youth and children’s work. Now her stories appeal to audiences of all ages.

Her storytelling often includes song, and participation from audiences to encourage full immersion in the experience. Her biography on Tracs Scotland lists her specialities as “traveller tales, Celtic tales, international tales, fairy tales, wonder stories, environmental stories, peace tales and original stories.

She also works with the storytelling group BagaTelle, of which she is a founding member, as well as Young Storytellers Scotland.

At the Scottish Writers’ Centre, the magic of our events often springs from the delivery of stories by the writers present, whether that’s through readings of their work or the stories behind their work, about their inspirations, craft, and writing process. We can’t wait to hear what wisdom Lea has to offer in her ‘Storytelling to Nourish the Soul’ event, and invite you to come and find out with us tomorrow in the CCA Club Room at 7pm.

Read more about Lea’s work here. 

By Ellen MacAskill

Posted by: scottishwriters | July 29, 2016

The Good Dark by Ryan Van Winkle

 

Reading Ryan Van Winkle’s collection The Good Dark (2015) I began to feel as though I had entered into a new world. The poems within are self-standing and distinctive, but together they create a harmonious vision of melancholia and reflectiveness that is so self-aware that the work presents an electric shock to the staid trends of lyric poetry, a genre which today is so often discounted as being apart from experimental poetry. Images are refreshed and renewed. The hackneyed symbol of snow becomes startling again in ‘Untitled (The Decemberists)’:

 

I return to snow

Like a salmon and like salmon I know

the agony of arriving. Is this any way to spend

a day, a life, ploughing snow? Maybe I should

let them be, let the crystals pile high, raise

the roof beams – maybe this week or next

I will place one rare flake in a cigar box,

leave it at your door by way of explanation.

Recreating symbols in this way—rain is also renewed to amazing effect, and appears throughout the collection—brings them back to life, not least emotionally, allowing us to feel snow and rain again. The Good Dark is, in a way, just another break-up album, but unlike most break-up albums it never relaxes into cliché or emotional simplicity. Instead, reading it is like encountering heartbreak for the first time, with all the visceral bittersweetness that brings.

Behind every work of art that commemorates a break-up there is of course a failed relationship, and the collection does not shy away from the tension between this origin in failure and the success of the artistic project it has bequeathed. The stunning opening poem, ‘The Duke in Pines,’ ends with this acknowledgement:

 

If I ever woke

with Ellington and pines you know I would not

wake you to say, would not write it on scrap

paper and leave it for breakfast. I’d just keep

Duke Ellington in Pines in my mind, walk with it,

take it to the pictures, buy it a pop, let it rest on my shoulder

during long journeys. I would smoke Duke Ellington

in Pines with friends and so I am today, smoking

Duke Ellington, wanting to pin him down, write him,

in pines, to you.

 

The collection is also undeniably sad, as this extract shows. There is romantic sadness (‘So,/I want to say sorry//for forgetting to hang/my shirt where my shirt belonged’ is one poignant example) but there is also the sadness of growing old, and of no longer being a child. This nostalgia, defined most usefully here as longing for a home that no longer exists, is conveyed by Van Winkle with the same precision that he conveys heartbreak:

 

Back

before time was something we counted. Before the street lights,

after the street lights – everything changed. 

The effect of this change upon the subject of the poems is also described in a few lines that exemplify the poet’s awareness of rhythm:

 

I was not always old

and stupid and mean. I was born

innocent. But the sun

made me brutal.

 

These two strands, of heartbreak and nostalgia, both so well articulated to the reader, make the collection into a kind of therapeutic space that remains artistically bold.

This is a sorrowful but cathartic collection. The Good Dark is painted with subtle hues of emotion that lead you, unprotesting and mesmerised, into the world within.

 

Ryan Van Winkle will be speaking at the SWC on the 2nd of August, at 7pm, in the CCA.  

Words by Donald Marshall. The Good Dark can be purchased at http://www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2015/02/the-good-dark/

 

Following on from our post on Literary Day Trips (thanks Rachel!), here are a few must-see locations around Scotland to interest younger bookworms. From picture books to YA fiction, children’s writing is rich in allusions to the landscape just beyond our front doors. We have rugged mountains and stormy seas, mysterious lochs and ancient cities – exciting settings for all kinds of stories are closer than you think!

ChildrensBookTour-1

Posted by: scottishwriters | July 27, 2016

Tendai Huchu at the SWC

Tendai6

Why am I putting my time and effort into this when things keep going wrong?

The above quote from Tendai’s talk is something that plenty of writers ask themselves in the process of writing, and Tendai himself is an example of why we should stick with it. At the Scottish Writers’ Centre to discuss his most recent novel The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician, Tendai points out that while this is his second novel, it was actually his eighth; the other six survive as unpublished manuscripts. His point that he has probably failed more than he has succeeded resonates with the audience as a reminder that all writers live with the fear of not being able to be successful.

Tendai talks about how important it is to work hard to perfect the craft, and how vital it is to edit your own work. He tells a story about the first manuscript he submitted which was completely unedited and, needless to say, never published. He managed to write his first published novel in a single two week stretch, and while he thought he would be able to achieve this with his next novel it actually took him three years to finish the manuscript for The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician. He talks about the craft of writing in terms of his favourite British saying, “how long is a piece of string.” Writing a book takes as long as it takes, a writer should just focus on making the most succinct version of an idea rather than worrying about how long it takes them to get there.

After discussing how he wrote the novel, Tendai moves on to talk about the novel itself, and how the form of the book is used to reflect the story and the characters themselves. The novel deals with three individual characters, the titular maestro, magistrate and mathematician, and was made up of three novellas cobbled together into a novel, as Tendai put it. The style in each of the individual characters’ stories is influenced by how the characters themselves act; the mathematician (a young postgraduate student) narrates in shorter sentences and heavy dialogue, speeding up the pace for the reader as they follow the story. Conversely, the chapters from the maestro’s perspective contain no paragraph breaks and much longer sentences, forcing the reader to slow down and concentrate on every word.

Tendai closes the event with some advice for aspiring writers to consider. He stresses the importance of trying to write short stories, and sending them into literary magazines to get published, so that writers can further learn the importance of editing as well as getting their name out there in the literary world. He also suggests that all writers should try their hand at writing science fiction, which develops skills in world building to create the universe your characters live in. Finally, Tendai advises that writers should ask themselves “what can I learn from a text?,” be it their own work, or something read as research, and apply that knowledge to their own writing.

Buy Tendai’s work here

 

Words by Andrew Smith.

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