Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tune the cat's whiskers to 40 mb

If anybody has broadband and wants to hear the whole event:

Recording of complete event (with Daljit's readings edited down to two out of six, alas) (40 mb mp3, could take a while to download - only practical on broadband). Apart from the poems listed here, Daljit also read "The Speaking of Bagwinder Singh Sagoo", "To the Wealth of India" and "Parade's End".

The complete program:
  • Welcome and intros (yours duly)
  • Jeff Achampong reading from a novel-in-progress, working title "Haemoglobin S".
  • Lynsey Rose reads two poems and an excerpt from newly completed novel.
  • Claudette Gordon reads four new poems.
  • Elle Ludkin reads love poems and a journal about a loved one's battle with cancer.
  • Stephen Moran reads five poems: "To the People of New Earth", "Willesden Sunset, January", "Lines Between Day and Night", "The Dolls' Hospital" and "Inisheer".
  • Dale Arndell reads a short story.
  • (At last!) Daljit Nagra, reading from "Look We Have Coming to Dover!"

Five poems

This is me reading at the Willesden Writers event in the Metrowords festival, last Thursday.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

At the launch of "New Short Stories 1"

The finest storytellers known to humankind, as identified by the talent scouts of the Willesden Herald gathered for the launch of New Short Stories 1.


I started by dedicating the evening to Shakti Bhatt, whose story "Born Again" is in the anthology. I had the sad duty to tell the audience that Shakti, a former editor for Random House India and recently another publishing venture in New Delhi, had passed away just a few weeks ago after a sudden illness. She was only 27.

From my notes: Tonight is a celebration of the art of the storyteller, especially the short story genre. The short story is the most naturally perfect of the literary arts, consisting of a story that can be told in one sitting. We can also include self-contained chapters from novels under the same umbrella. (Some of our best friends are novelists, y'know.)

Steve Finbow, hotfoot from Japan, started the evening off with a virtuosic, almost musical recital in effect, of an excerpt from his extraordinary 'Balzac of the Badlands'. If that is not a novel in poetry, then...there is no then—it is.

Jonathan Attrill read 'Incident on a Country Road', a sinister short story that held the audience's close attention.

Lynsey Rose read from her disturbing unpublished novel about a self-harming office worker, which I described as like a cross between Bridget Jones' Diary and Kafka's The Trial.

After the interval, I failed miserably to create a coup de theatre by wandering on stage reading a copy of the Willesden Herald. It says here: "Willesden Library Centre: for one night only: The New Short Stories – a cross between PUNK and EMO."

Nicholas Hogg read from his long story 'Paradise'. In his introductory remarks he said that he felt the task of the writer was to bring out the good in things (I'm paraphrasing). "It's not all doom and gloom."

Jeff Achampong read from his novel-in-progress, nearly complete, which is a brilliant tale of a guy with sickle cell, torn between the ties of family and the dangerous street life of gangsterism and drug dealing. Having had the privilege to read it, in my opinion it is a brilliant novel, and could be a very big hit.

Vanessa Gebbie rounded off the evening with a reading of her BBC Guildford prize-winning story, "Naming Finbar", which had the audience in knots of laughter. A marvellous upbeat way to close.

Afterwards in Gigi's, a well-earned drink with Stratos, all the way from Brussels, whose cover art adds so much to the book.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More infamy

storySouth / notable short stories of 2006

One of mine has been listed in this competition for the best stories published online. You must admit at least that it has a striking title. It's near the end of the list.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Patio scene


Vernal squalls shake the may tree, blossoms fall like paper snow.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Remembering Shakti Bhatt

Remembering Shakti Bhatt: a collection of tributes to the late Shakti Bhatt, a young Indian writer and editor who died suddenly this April. Shakti's story "Born Again" was short-listed for the Willesden short story prize 2007 and has been published in the anthology "Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 1".

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Infamy, infamy, they've all got it...

From: Vanessa Gebbie's News

"The typesetters were on strike, so Stephen Moran had to produce the paper all by himself, with results that were singular. Here he is, pictured checking the settings, in a local hostelry."