Thursday, 28 February 2013

New Writing North events March 2013


Michael Jecks & Karen Maitland: meet the authors

Stockton Central Library, Church Road, Stockton on Tees: Wednesday 13 March, 7pm

Meet two bestselling historical crime writers for an evening full of mayhem, murder and magic. Tickets: £5 from Rediscover Stockton. For more details or to book, call 01642 528 130.


Dracula by Bram Stoker

Lit & Phil: Thursday 14 March, 6.30pm
This talk looks at the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, revealing its author’s innovative combination of folklore, Gothic conventions and deliberate modernity. It also explores the way that Dracula has overwhelmed the older types of the vampire recorded in genuine accounts of superstition and belief, and illustrates those movie representations that have moulded our expectations of what a vampire should be. Second and third talks follow on 21 and 28 March. Free event, no booking required. For more information, see www.litandphil.org.uk.


Kate Atkinson: Life After Life

Forum Cinema, Hexham: Wednesday 27 March, 6.30pm
At this special event to preview the Hexham Book Festival, best-selling author Kate Atkinson presents her new novel, Life After Life. What if you had the chance to live your life again? Could you save the world from its fate? Would you even try? Kate Atkinson’s latest novel charts the turbulent history of the twentieth century through the multiple lives of Ursula Todd. Tickets: £8/£6 (concs) from www.hexhambookfestival.co.uk.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Reading Poetry workshop 11 March 2013

Just been sent the following information from Louise Marr:


Monday 11 March

READING POETRY- A workshop with Anna Woodford

Skircoat Library, Skircoat Green Road, Halifax, HX3 0LQ

2pm

Would you like to read more poetry? This workshop, lead by poet Anna Woodford, will explore contemporary poems from the Read Regional poetry collections and further afield, giving you the chance to look at and discuss some of the best new writing around. Suitable for readers who are new to poetry and more experienced readers.

FREE- places limited- please book in advance.


01422 354828

 

 
To contact Louise for further details:

Louise Marr
Reader Development
Central Library
Northgate, Halifax
HX1 1UN

01422 392606

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Beautiful Creatures film review

Took my daughter and her friend to see this on Friday and I was pleasantly surprised.  I had thought that the movie would try too hard to be like the Twilight franchise, but I was pleased to see it was somewhat darker and less serious.

Adapted for film from the popular book, the movie stars Alden Ehrenreich (who was discovered at a bahmitvah by Steven Spielberg according to IMDB) as Ethan Wate and Alice Englert (daughter of Oscar-winning director Jane Campion and filmaker Colin Englert) as Lena Duchannes, the mysterious new girl in town with supernatural powers who has to choose good or evil on her 16th birthday.  Jeremy Irons (Die Hard: With a Vengence, The Borgias) plays her uncle Macon Ravenwood who tries to steer her to the light side whilst her Moma Sarafine, who has taken over the body of local god-fearing mother of Ethan's best friend Link Lincoln (Thomas Mann soon to be seen in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters), is played by the brilliant Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee), tries her best to turn her to the dark.

Macon and the two new lovebirds Ethan and Lena are ably helped by seer Amma (the excellent Viola Davis - The Help, Knight and Day) who for me, steals the show.  Other Ravenwood family members include Lena's cousin Ridley (Emma Rossum - The Day After Tomorrow, Shameless) who has been through the trauma of her 16th birthday, only to turn to the dark side and the jealous ex-girlfriend of Ethan, Emily (played by Zoey Deutch best known for Ringer) who with her friend Savannah (Tiffany Boone from Dentention, Hamilton) try to break them up.

The funniest and darkest sections of the film come when the powers are unleashed, but I love that they are offset by the characters being grounded in small-town reality.


Tagline: Dark secrets will come to light                                                        6/10

Monday, 25 February 2013

Far Off Places submissions - 31 March deadline

Far Off Places is a brand new magazine featuring creative writing and illustration to be launched in Spring 2013 who are looking for submissions of poetry and prose sparked by the theme of the back of beyond.  They are happy to publish short writing in a variety of forms including poetry, flash fiction and short-form prose.  You can submit up to three poems or one piece of prose.  Poetry should be no more than 40 lines, short prose up to 400 words and flash fiction up to 1200. 

Send to submissions@faroffplaces.org as a microsoft word or plain text-document or in the body of an email.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Glitter & Mayhem submission call deadline 15 March 2013

Glitter & Mayhem have put out a call for submissions.  Please find the details below which have been taken from their website:

 

Glitter & Mayhem: The Speculative Nightclub Anthology is looking for a few glamorous stories.

As you know, we’ve got fabulous work from amazing writers like Alan DeNiro, Amal El-Mohtar, Daryl Gregory, Damien Walters Grintalis, Maria Dahvana Headley, Kat Howard, Vylar Kaftan, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Pelland, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Diana Rowland, Sofia Samatar, David J. Schwartz, William Shunn, and Rachel Swirsky.
But what about you? You’re glamorous, right? We bet you have a dazzling idea for a story, don’t you? You probably even know the prompt by heart:
Roller Derby, nightclubs, glam aliens, (literal) party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, debauchery, etc.
Here’s the details you’ve been waiting for:
  1. The max word limit is 6000 with a deadline of March 15.
  2. We’re paying $.05 per word.
  3. You’ll have the chance to be edited by Hugo Award-winning editors and be in a ToC with awesome authors (see above).
We expect stories to follow standard manuscript format. We expect that the your name and contact info is on the first page of your submission. Please send only one submission at a time. If you can refrain—mostly due to the extremely short reading period—please do not query about your submission.
Send submissions to submissions@glittermayhem.com

Saturday, 23 February 2013

David Almond, Writers talk 27 February 2013


David Almond: How Long Does it Take to Reach the North? A Writer’s Journey

Room G.13, Percy Building, Newcastle University: Wednesday 27 February, 5.30pm
David Almond, author of novels such as Skellig, The Savage, The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas and many other stories and plays, discusses the journey involved in being a writer. Talk free, and open to the public. Please book a place at www.ncl.ac.uk/ncla


I would also like to say congratulations to my son L who was very brave in his first fencing tournament today.  He was still up for the challenge even though his competitors had been doing it for much longer.



Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard Review

Took the kids (and mostly the hubby) to see this yesterday.  We love the first and third Die Hard (the second wasn't as good and the fourth was just into unbelievable territory) and sadly this film follows suit to film No4.  If you love car chases and explosions, brilliant - it's for you.  If you want a coherent plot, bad luck - it does not appear to have one.  I love Bruce Willis and I can kind of see why they have moved on to the Father/Son team up, as he is getting a little long in the tooth to save the day, but I fear if this is the way they are going with the franchise, then we shouldn't have a Die Hard 6 (Should have Died a Long Time Ago).

Bruce Willis (John McClane) does his best with the plot and Jai Courtney (2010 tv series Spartacus) looks pretty muscular in a tight t-shirt, but the laughs are few and far between and we just need more plot.  What plot there is (according to IMDB: John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces) sadly, is predictable (the Komarov 'twist' I saw coming a mile away) and like the previous film, the stunts take the implausable to the next level.

To be honest, I had more fun playing the 'what have I seen that actor in before?' game, e.g. there was Isobel from the 4400 as a news reporter (though others may have seen her in tv's new 90210 more recently) and McClane's daughter was the bad guy (Royal Pain) in the Disney kids movie, Sky High.

In short, just enjoy the car chases and explosions.                                5/10

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Polly Dunbar Event and An evening with Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate 22 February 2013




Polly Dunbar: Tilly and Friends

Seven Stories, Newcastle: Friday 22 February,11am & 1.30pm
Meet best-selling author and illustrator Polly Dunbar for an event full of music, puppets, drawing and fun. There will also be a free public book signing afterwards. Tickets are £3 per person in addition to admission fee and there will be one free adult with every child. See www.sevenstories.org.uk/whats-on/eventsfor more details or call 0845 271 0777.





Carol Ann Duffy: An evening with the Poet Laureate



Northern Stage, Newcastle: Friday 22 February, 5.15pm
A very special event to celebrate balletLORENT’s Rapunzel, written by Carol Ann Duffy. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy reads from her award-winning poetry collections from the set of Rapunzel, with musical accompaniment from John Sampson. Book sales will be available on the night. Carol Ann will sign and dedicate books after the event. Tickets: £12.50 / £10 concs / £6 children from www.northernstage.co.uk. If you want to attend this event alongside balletLORENT’s Rapunzel, call the box office on 0191 230 5151 to find out what discount is available.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Sagra delle Words competition

Just received my New Writing North newsletter which includes details of a writing competition to win a Writers Retreat in Italy.  Sounds like a fabulous idea, so I thought I would post the details on my blog in case any of my followers or writer friends wish to enter.  Please find below the information from their webite:


We are offering a free place on our next retreat.
Collecting the Colours of Autumn taking place in October 2013 is the ideal opportunity to enjoy time away from your usual responsibilities and the time and space to concentrate on your writing.
Sagra delle Words is offering a free place on this retreat.
The winner is entitled to an 8 day retreat including writing workshops, free accommodation, airport transfers, and all meals included.
This retreat is open to writers in all fields regardless of nationality or age.
The chosen candidate will have the opportunity to do a reading/ presentation of their work during the week.
The winning writer is responsible for all extra personal, living expenses, travel and insurance costs, telephone charges and any other expenses during their stay.
Deadline for application 31st March 2013
To apply please send:
1. Curriculum Vitae/Resume
2. Cover letter including a writer’s statement and what you hope to achieve through your attendance on this retreat.
3. 10 pages of recent work (i.e. completed prose, poetry, scripts etc.)
Please email applications to sagradellewords@gmail.com
Please note we do not return submitted materials.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Cleckheaton Writers Group (CWG)

Attended CMG this evening with P and D (sadly the others could not make it) and we mostly dealt with the dialogue and characterisation workshops D and I had attended thanks to Michael Stewart at the University of Huddersfield.  As I have previously posted on the dialogue workshop I attended, I thought I would put a few details down of the characterisation workshop for my followers.

To find a character there are five methods:

1) Autobiographical method
To use yourself or aspects of yourself, but also get away from yourself too to make a rounded character.

2) Biographical method
Base your character on someone you know, but not so much so that they can recognise themselves.

3) Invent from scratch
Use a setting, an object or a profession and imagine what character traits this person would have if they were in this setting/owned this object/worked at that job.

4) Combination
Use aspects of yourself and of some people you know to create an original character - observe others for traits.

5) Stock characters
Use stock characters like the village gossip, jolly barmaid etc. but try to subvert them somehow so that they are not too obvious.

We also discussed the writing we are working on at the moment, including the fifth draft of D's manuscript and she shared the prologue with us.

I mentioned that I had entered three competitions with short stories and I may share one or two of them at the next meeting.

The next meeting is Monday the 4th of March, 6-8pm at Cleckheaton Library.  New members always welcome.

Friday, 15 February 2013

250th post - Stephen May, Meet the Author Event

Anna Turner has forwarded me the following information:


We have managed to arrange a second evening with Stephen May, whose latest book ‘Life! Death! Prizes!’ was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. Thwarted by snow earlier in the year, Stephen will now return to King Cross Library to talk about his second novel, as part of New Writing North’s Read Regional Campaign.

 

Meet the Author- Stephen May

Wednesday 20th March 2013

6pm

King Cross Library

Tickets £3 from King Cross Library on 01422 288028 or email king_cross.library@calderdale.gov.uk

 

Louise Marr

Reader Development Assistant

 

Central Library

Communities

Libraries, Museums and Arts

Northgate

Halifax

HX1 1UN

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Competition entries

Yesterday I entered my 100 word flash fiction story 'recycle' into the Jeffrey Archer 100 Word Story Competition. 

Today I have entered the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story Competition 2013 with my short story entitled 'Freedom' in keeping with the 'freedom' theme and entered the first page of my WIP novel 'Overbite' with the theme of 'beginnings' into the Psychologies competition that Caroline Glass kindly informed me about. 

Got my fingers crossed for these competitions and hope some of my followers are going to enter too.  If you do, let me know and Good Luck.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dialogue workshop

Michael Stewart of the University of Huddersfield kindly invited D and I to a couple of his creative writing workshops and I thought I would share these valuable nuggets of information with my followers.

DIALOGUE

Good dialogue should: have subtext (what is being said as opposed to what is being meant), surprise us (not be predictable), unique to the speaker (though be careful not to get so carried away it turns into pastiche), NEVER be used as exposition, establish character, establish hierarchy, move the plot forward, raise questions.

Dialogue is the greatest way to show character.

Michael will be running a creative writing workshop as part of the Huddersfield Literature Festival.  For further information www.litfest.org.uk I will be booking myself on this.

Looking forward to hearing all about D's workshop on Characterisation at Monday's Cleckheaton Writers Group.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Psychologies Writing Competition

Thank you to Caroline Glass who brought this competition to my attention:


Psychologies magazine – WEEKEND WRITING COURSE
Write the first page of a story or a novel (any genre), up to 500 words. The theme is Beginnings. Win a free ticket to a weekend writing retreat on 20-21 April 2013 in London, including one lunch, a night at MyHotel in Bloomsbury and evening drinks. Your winning story published in Psychologies. 4
How to win: send your page by email with your name, age, address and contact details to competition@psychologies.co.uk with Writing Competition in the subject line. Don’t send any attachments. Or post to:
Writing Competition,
Psychologies,
Kelsey Publishing Cudham Tithe Barn,
Berry’s Hill, Cudham,
Kent TN16 3AG.
Competition closes 27th Feb

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013 short story competition and travel fiction competition


Found these two competitions on the Writers' & Artists' website:


Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013 Short Story Competition


For published and aspiring writers alike - enter the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013 short story competition and you could win:
  • a cash prize of £500
  • a place on an Arvon Foundation residential writing course of your choice*
  • publication of your story on the Writers' & Artists' website
All you have to do is enter a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words, on the theme of 'freedom' and email it to shortstorycompetition@bloomsbury.com with "WAYB13 competition" as the subject line.
The closing date is 15 February 2013.
The Arvon Foundation runs four historic writing houses in the UK, where published writers lead week-long residential courses. Covering a diverse range of genres, from poetry and fiction to screenwriting and comedy, Arvon courses have provided inspiration to thousands of people at all stages of their writing lives. Find out more and book a course online at www.arvonfoundation.org
Don't forget to read the full details, terms and conditions before you enter and please remember to register on www.writersandartists.co.uk before submitting your entry. Good luck! 

Travel fiction competition


Thanks to Directline Holidays, Writers' & Artists' have a Kindle to give away. Perfect if you're a regular globetrotter; the Kindle fits into a pocket and can hold a staggering number of books.
To Enter
The physical location of your story can have a striking impact on the emotional landscape your characters navigate. The location of your story guides the mood and tone of your writing and can shape your characters' beliefs and behaviour.
The challenge is to write a short story which brilliantly evokes a location of your choice. They're looking for lush description that amplifies the story, immerses them in another time or place, or renders a familiar location strange. They want to see characters that are wrought in the context of their location and hope to find a short story with plenty of life, detail and imagination.
The story must be no more than 500 words and entries should be submitted to writersandartists@bloomsbury.com before 28 February 2013.
Prizes
First prize: An Amazon Kindle e-book reader
Second prize: A copy of Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2013

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Huddersfield Literature Festival

Diane Green, Reader Development Officer at Kirklees has forwarded me the following information which I thought I would share with my followers:


Inspirational Womens’ display - March 2013

There will be a  display from the Local studies Library about Inspirational Women of Kirklees in both Huddersfield and Dewsbury Libraries alongside a ‘poet tree’ where people are invited to add names of women who have inspired them plus a piece of prose or poem as they wish. 

 

 

·         Wed 20th Feb, 7.30-11pm   Mangoes on the Beach from storyteller Peter Chand at The Watershed, Slaithwaite plus other storytellers at Storylounge.  Peter has taken his parent’s story of their journey to Britain in the 1950’s and woven it with 4 traditional Indian tales. Tickets £5 or £4 Kirklees Passports from Marsden and Slaithwaite Libraries and from any box office 01484 223200/222444 or on line at http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls/boxoffice.shtml   A partnership between Kirklees libraries and Slaithwaite Moonraking festival.

 

See: www.slaithwaitemoonraking.org/  for more details about the festival which includes stories for children from Miso’Shi, a fantastic storyteller from Ghana, at Marsden, Slaithwaite and Golcar Libraries on Wed 20th Feb, more tales from Peter Chand and Taffy Thomas and more, plus lantern making workshops and fantastic processions.

 

 

Above the parapet: Short story readings

Complete short story readings from local poet and short story writer, Alison Lock, in Kirklees Library and Information Centres.  Refreshments.  For adults and interested teenagers. These events are open to all and are part of International Womens Day celebrations in Kirklees.

 

 

·         Tues 5th March, 10.00-11.30am    Above the Parapet: Complete Short Story readings from poet and author Alison Lock  at Cleckheaton Coffee Plus.  Free event. Tel 01274 335170 to book your place.

 

·         Wed 6th March, 11.00-12.00pm  Above the Parapet: Complete Short Story readings from poet and author Alison Lock  at Honley Library. Tel 01484 222340 to book your place.  Free event

 

 

·         Wed 6th March, 7.30-9.30pm   Storytailors Club  Meet Cassandra Parkin, author of New World Fairy Tales and A Lighter Shade of Grey and Storyteller Susanna Meese telling  Revealing Women at Marsden Library  Tickets £2 

Please email diane.green@kirklees.gov.uk to book your place so that we can manage numbers.

   

·         Fri 8th March, 7.30-9.30pm   Women to Watch Out For  A funny and entertaining storytelling show from storyteller, singer, musician and dancer Ursula Holden Gill at Almondbury Library tickets £3/£2 from the library, and from any box office 01484 223200/222444 or on line at http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls/boxoffice.shtml

 

·         Tues 12th March, 7.00-8.00pm  Above the Parapet: Complete Short Story Readings from poet and author Alison Lock at Kirkburton Library. Tel 01484 222710 to book your place.  Free event

 

 

·         Wed 13th March, 10.30-11.30am  Above the Parapet: Complete Short Story Readings from poet and author Alison Lock at Huddersfield Library visually impaired readers group.  Tel  01484 221955 or email transcription.service@kirklees.gov.uk  to book your place or to find out more about library services for the visually impaired.

 

·         Thurs 14th March, 7.30-9.00pm Rod and George spin Yorkshire Yarns and Humorous Monologues. Kirkheaton Library. Tickets £2 from the library 01484 223560 kirkheaton.lic@kirklees.gov.uk or from any Kirklees box office 01484 223200 or on line at  http://kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls 

 

·         15th March, 1.30-2.30pm  Above the Parapet: Complete Short Story Readings from poet and author Alison Lock at Mirfield Library. Tel 01924 326470 to book your place.  Free event

 

·         18th March, 1.00-2.00pm Above the Parapet: Complete Short Story Readings from poet and author Alison Lock at Batley Library. Tel 01924 326021 to book your place. Free event

 

·         19th March, 7.30-9.00pm   Rod and George spin Yorkshire Yarns and humorous monologues. Lindley Library.  Tickets £2 from the library. 01484 222172  lindley.lic@kirklees.gov.uk or from any Kirklees box office 01484 223200 or on line at  http://kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls 

 

·         21st March, 7.30-9.30pm  Goosewing;  Storytelling from Christine McMahon with Paul Roberts on the violin at Holmfirth Civic Tickets £3/£2 from Holmfirth Library, Holmfirth Tourist Information Centre, from any Kirklees box office 01484 223200 or on line at  http://kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls 

 

·         3rd April, 7.30-9.30pm   Jodi Picoult at Huddersfield Town Hall. A joint event from Kirklees libraries and Huddersfield Literature festival. Tickets £4/ £2 Kirklees Passports available online at http://kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls, email to: huddersfield.information@kirklees.gov.uk, By phone: 01484 223200, or in person at Huddersfield Visitor Centre in the library.

 

HUDDERSFIELD LITERATURE FESTIVAL

Also we have many literature events coming up during Huddersfield Literature Festival including Kate Atkinson, Jeremy Dyson, Joanne Harris, Monkey Poet, Jodi Picoult, Annabel Pitcher and many more contributors.  All details to be found at:


 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sight & Sound/UnderWire female film reporter competition 2013

I found the following information on the From Sight & Sound's website:

"Sight & Sound is partnering with the UnderWire Festival to search for budding female film reporters.

We╩╝re inviting entrants to send us a piece of factual film reporting of up to 1,000 words – an interview with a film craftsperson, a report from a film shoot, festival or special screening, a conversation with a distributor, exhibitor or programmer about what colours your local screening options, or indeed an investigation into some aspect of the film world that puzzles you. Your choice of story – its originality and relevance – will be part of what we judge, but so too will be your enterprise in following it through, and your ability to set it down in clear, concise and engaging prose.

Sight Sound and UnderWire will publish the winning entry (and any others we deem strong enough) on our respective websites, and in collaboration, will provide the winner with further reporting assignments in 2013.

The deadline for entries is 5 April 2013. Entries, along with questions and solicitations of advice, should be emailed to journalistsubmissions@underwirefestival.com." 
The originating page for this information is here: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/competitions/women-film-female-film-reporter-competition

Friday, 8 February 2013

Encore Drama Performance March 2013

Colin Lewisohn has emailed me the following information that you may be interested in:
 

Rasputin’s Mother
 

‘Bristling with theatrical ideas’ – Sir Alan Ayckbourn

 ‘Really powerful and visual’ – Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham

 

Imagine being granted exclusive access to the workings of an extraordinary, charismatic and deeply sinister mind…


On December 19, 1916, the body of Gregory Rasputin was dragged from a frozen river in St Petersburg, his bound hands clenched in fury as if he’d been scraping at the ice from below – despite being beaten, shot and hounded into his watery grave. But what if the body was not Rasputin’s? What if the notorious Mad Monk somehow lived on as a prisoner of the Communists, destined to watch the rise of Stalin and the collapse of his beloved Romanov dynasty? What would he say to his captors – and the world?

 

Written by Michael Davies, Rasputin’s Mother is the winner of the 2012-13 National Playwriting Competition. Funded by the prestigious Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation in honour of one of the original co-founders of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, the award is made annually to the best script written for the stage.

 

This world premiere is performed by Encore Drama, directed by Colin Lewisohn and with a cast including award-winning actors Warwick St John and Pam Hilton. Performances are at Ilkley Playhouse (March 1-2, 2013, www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk), Seven Arts in Leeds (March 8-9, 2013, www.sevenleeds.co.uk) and the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham (March 22-23, 2013, www.oldjointstocktheatre.co.uk).

 

For more information and booking details, visit Encore Drama’s website at www.encore01.com

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Poetry Day, Screen Yorkshire and competitions

Anna Turner has informed me of a Poetry Day taking place in York on 23 February at St William's College.  For full details contact Anna [Anna.Turner@calderdale.gov.uk]

I have also received the Screen Yorkshire Newsletter with details on The List – application deadline is 5pm on Friday 8th February The List 
Triangle 2013 –further information Triangle 2013

Dundee International Book Prize 2013 for unpublished novelists with a completed adult manuscript, a 500 word synopsis and an entry form by 4 March 2013.  Winner will receive £10,000 and publication by Cargo publishing.  See www.dundeebookprize.com for full details.

Entries are now open for the Bridport Prize 2013 for poetry, short stories and flash fiction.  The deadline is 31 May 2013 and there is a fee to enter.  Further details can be found here www.bridportprize.org.uk

Read Regional deadline is 4 March 2013 for new books for North East and Yorkshire and Humberside-based writers.  The books must be available in paperback by August 2013 and can be fiction, writing for children, poetry and creative non-fiction.  For full details www.newwritingnorth.com

Country Life short story competition deadline 15 February, £500 for a 1,500 word story on the theme 'country life' www.countrylife.co.uk


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Impossible film review

Went to see The Impossible with my friend B yesterday and I think, like Les Mis, we should have taken a pack of tissues with us.

IN 2004, A DEVASTATING TSUNAMI HITS SOUTHEAST ASIA
THIS IS ONE FAMILY'S TRUE STORY OF SURVIVAL                                                              tagline

This film is based on the true story of a regular family caught up with tens of thousands of strangers in one of the worst natuaral disasters of our time - the tsunami in Thailand.  It stars Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Ring) as Maria the wife of Henry, played by the brilliant Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Trainspotting) and mother to three young sons, Lucas (Tom Holland, best known for the title role in Billy Elliot the musical in London), Thomas and Simon (newcomers Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast respectively, though Oaklee has been in TVs Casualty and Eastenders). 

The director, Juan Antonio Bayona, does an excellent job in lulling you into the Christmas holiday scenario with the family, yet you are still on edge because you know what is coming, just not when.  The action scenes where the water comes and devastates the idyll and Maria and Lucas get separated from Henry, Thomas and Simon are dealt with realistically and acted to a high level (Tom Holland is one to watch, though Naomi's abilities, for me, were never in doubt).  There is only one scene where Maria is told to think of something nice whilst being anaesthetised and Lucas is having a nightmare because his mother is in surgery, where I think it was taken too over the top - the scene would have been better utilised in the tsunami section for me.  But overall this film felt real, not overdramatised and I would be interested to see if all of the story happened exactly as portrayed (especially the hospital scenes, I won't tell you which one, because I don't want to spoil it).  Ewan McGregor's performance was also a powerful one, though I suspect if accolodes are forthcoming, they may head Naomi's way.  The scene where he makes a mobile phone call home is nailed so perfectly, that you almost feel that you are intruding on a father's personal grief.

The film pulls you in and takes you on their journey throughout - you hold your breath, you cry and at turns you stare in disbelief and horror at the power of nature and the in/capacity of humans to think of others.  But what really stays with you is the poignancy of one family in the heart of a catastrophe.

Take your tissues.                                                                                                                  10/10

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Cleckheaton Writers Group

Had a productive meeting last night despite some of the members being unable to make it.  P, D and I discussed various writing competitions that are coming up in the next few months (including the one I posted about yesterday) and D gave us some feedback on her prospective agents comments on her manuscript.  It is very exciting that the agent is willing to read TSC again once she has made the alterations suggested.  Fingers crossed D.  We shared our writing plans and progress (or not, as the case may be) and all decided we would like to look into more author talks and seminars to attend as a CWG outing.  D also shared some information on a dialogue and a characterisation session that she may be able to attend at a local University.  We look forward to learning all about it at the next meeting.  We were also surprised when we were joined by a potential new member.  C is looking at joining the group once she gets back from a trip to Dubai and we will be happy to welcome her in two meetings time.  The next meeting is on Monday 18 February 6-8pm at Cleckheaton Library and new members are encouraged to come along.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge

Just found this writing competition that I thought my followers may be interested in:


Enter the Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge!

Are you in the process of writing a novel? If so, the Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge sponsored by Kobo and Curtis Brown Creative is the contest for you! One lucky winner will be awarded the grand prize of free enrolment in an upcoming Curtis Brown online novel writing course.

How to Submitja (2)

Authors should submit a 100-word short. The short can consist of any genre of fiction, as long as it stays within the 100-word limit.

Submit Here

Submission deadline: February 15, 2013.

What Happens Next

The Kobo Team will select 20 semi-finalists whose submissions will be collected in a free anthology available on the Kobo site! (Author names and photos will be included here as well, so get ready for your close-up!)
Contest judge and bestselling author Jeffrey Archer will evaluate the 20 semi-finalist submissions and choose three finalists. The finalists will be announced by Jeffrey Archer himself at the London Book Fair on April 15th, 2013.
The three finalists will be requested to submit a 3,000-word excerpt of their novel-in-progress to be judged by Curtis Brown Creative and will receive written feedback.
The lucky grand prize winner will be awarded free enrolment in an upcoming Curtis Brown online novel writing course! The winner will be announced on April 29th, 2013.
Tutors and guest speakers of past Curtis Brown creative writing courses include Jojo Moyes, Tracy Chevalier, Tony Parsons, Harriet Evans and Anna Davis. Find out more about Curtis Brown Creativehere.