Upcoming Events

SWC members are entitled to FREE admission for all events, masterclasses, and workshops.

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Ten Feet Tall:  Celebrating 10 Years of Contributions to Arts & Culture

Tuesday, 16 January 2018: Club Room at 7:00pm

VENUE:  CCA:  350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD

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‘TEN Slavonic Dances’ with Tom Hubbard

Tom Hubbard will be performing short extracts from his book of three short stories / novellas Slavonic Dances, (2017) together with a selection of poems / translations relating to east-central European countries. Hubbard will explore how we as writers can use a blend of cultures – even better, a clash of cultures (for all art thrives on conflict and contrast) – to unblock our imaginations and set us on our way.

His stories concern Scottish characters encountering east-central Europe, with results that are variously comic and tragic, ludicrous and lyrical – i.e. ambiguous: A Scotswoman marries a Polish soldier with a dark past; a Scottish-Czech couple are separated by the traumatic events of August 1968 in Prague; a Glaswegian poet and singer are enthused by Russian music. Each poem is a Polish take on Romeo and Juliet; wee Czech frogs being taught astronomy by their grotesquely inept teacher; a Hungarian dad soothes his baby daughter; a Russian mermaid is confronted by a prince who assumes a certain sexual entitlement. In using conflict and contrast, Hubbard exposes how two characters opposing each other creates a scenario that can generate and animate a story.

The ‘dances’ in Hubbard’s title – nicked from music by Dvořák – is partly ironic and nearer to a witches’ sabbath than to innocent small-town frolics or yer auntie’s 60th birthday bash. Hubbard is a champion of irony and its equally weird and wicked sibling, ambiguity, to say one thing and also mean its opposite, and packing the maximum of meaning into the minimum of words. Performance Techniques: Hubbard will discuss how readings can be enhanced with the use of simple props. He experiments with papier-mâché heads, partly inspired by east European theatrical traditions involving marionettes and mannequins.

tom souriant en suisseTom Hubbard is a novelist, poet and former itinerant academic whose second novel, The Lucky Charm of Major Bessop, (2014); readers are still working out the teasing clues in this ‘grotesque mystery of Fife’. His other works of fiction are the novel Marie B. (2008), based on the life of the late-nineteenth century painter Marie Bashkirtseff, and, more recently, Slavonic Dances (2017), a set of three linked novellas based on the comic and tragic encounters of the Scottish characters with eastern and east-central Europe. His book-length collections of poetry are The Chagall Winnocks (2011) and Parapets and Labyrinths (2013), both Scottish and European in their scope and also published by Grace Note. Tom was the first Librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library and went on to become a visiting university professor in France, Hungary and the USA. He lives in his native Kirkcaldy.

Admission £6/£3 (Concession).  FREE to SWC Members

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Ten Feet Tall: Celebrating 10 Years of Contributions to Arts & Culture

 

 

Scottish Writers’ Centre International Event

Tuesday, 13 February 2018: Club Room 7:00 pm

VENUE:  CCA:  350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD

‘Ten Poems (Possibly) Impossible to Write’ with Richard Robbins

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A beginning poet will direct a lot of energy toward finding a comfort zone—a stable place, a fixed position from which to write a piece that feels like the right size, draws from a familiar well, bears one’s unique vocal stamp, embodies a comfortable level of cynicism or hope, follows a familiar trajectory in the direction of epiphany.

For those who are no longer beginning, though, for those who expect to write over the long haul, reaching a point of competent self-imitation is not good enough. To quote John Berryman, as remembered by Philip Levine: “You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you’re merely imitating yourself.”

Robbins4brighter1Richard Robbins will discuss how important Berryman’s idea has been to his own writing development. Robbins will share ten poems by other poets—Stafford, Bogan, Olds, Ryan, Hoagland, Perillo, Levis, Larkin, and Meehan—imagining how each work might have rested comfortably before its author committed to writing the poem that was impossible to write. It is presumptuous, of course, to imagine the decisions that lay behind the making of a superb poem, but the exercise can be instructive. Robbins will offer up at least one of his own poems for examination.

Richard Robbins was raised in California and Montana but has lived continuously in Minnesota since 1984. He has published six books of poems, most recently Body Turn to Rain: New & Selected Poems (2017). He has received awards from The Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America. From 1986-2014, Robbins directed the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State University Mankato, where he continues to direct the creative writing program.

Tickets £6/£3 (Concession) FREE for SWC Members

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Ten Feet Tall: Celebrating 10 Years of Contributions to Arts & Culture

Tuesday, 27 February 2018: Club Room 7:00 pm

VENUE:  CCA:  350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD

Ten Sybils with Anne Scriven

From Greek Σιβυλλα (Sibylla), meaning “prophetess, sibyl”. In Greek and Roman legend the Sibyls were ten female prophets who practiced at different holy sites in the ancient world.

In the build up to International Women’s Day, the Scottish Writers’ Centre welcomes Anne M Scriven who will be discussing her approach to her writing of narrative non-fiction. The art of this genre is the art of paying attention. In this session Anne will illustrate how she came to appreciate and practice this awareness and weave a text out of conscious gazing. It has been a journey largely contoured by the wisdom of women. Some of these women Anne has encountered in lived reality, others she has met and may only ever meet, in their literary creations: Virginia Woolf; Mrs Oliphant; Margaret Elphinstone; Kathleen Jamie… to name but some of the possible influences. Each of these special women continue to offer teachings that, like the ancient Sybils, are sacred in their intent and passed on for interpretation. Drawing on her published life writing Anne will illustrate how the honing of her own words is helped and heightened by the sagacity these personal Sybils.

Anne Scriven 2Anne M Scriven holds a PhD in Scottish Literature which she taught at university level for some years. An Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Scottish Cultural Studies, University of Strathclyde, Anne has a portfolio of published academic papers focusing for the main part on Mrs Oliphant and Scottish women writers. Her annotated edition of Oliphant’s novel Kirsteen, (1890), was the ASLS annual volume in 2010. Since leaving academia Anne has published three titles of narrative non-fiction: Learning to Listen: Life and a Nervous Dog (2013), Provenance: Tales from a Bookshop (2015), and Cadences: Notes from an Ordinary Life (2017). All titles are published by Kennedy & Boyd whom Anne previously worked with in a collaborative project that brought numerous titles of Scottish literature back into print. Ian Jack, of The Guardian, has said of Anne’s writing that ‘she writes about her human subjects with a delightful — and rare — quiet irony. She’s a joy to read.’ When not writing Anne amuses herself by working in a second-hand bookshop.

Tickets £6/£3 (Concession) FREE for SWC Members

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