As first of the workshop readers, I should have warmed up the audience for the subsequent authors. Instead I cooled them down. The other readers from Willesden and Harrow workshops were of a high standard, I thought. We were introduced by Dale Arndell, editor of Newspeak, a literary magazine linked to the workshops.
Preethi Nair told us about the marvellous adventure she went on for two and a half years to self-publish her first book, risking destitution, humiliation, and faced with unforeseen nightmares at every stage. Her book Gypsy Masala is about "following your dreams" and sure enough, she ended up with a bestseller and a book deal. Everything about Preethi was impressive, not least her faultless reading of the very interesting first chapter of her book "A Hundred Shades of White."
Siobhan Curham is another literary star to boast for North West London. Terrific character evocation in her readings from her new book, The Scene Stealers. She introduced four very different characters and how they begin to interact, in a setting based around a fictional grubby video shop in Ruislip Manor. She has a wonderful turn of phrase, for example in her description of a broken gate on only one hinge hanging like a child's loose tooth, a small tug away from the tooth fairy.