Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Dangerous Driving by Victoria Watson short story review

Recently purchased from Amazon on kindle, I read this book in the Summer.

The woman at the centre of this short story is married to a man who works at King Abdulaziz Medical Centre, so when a call comes through to her mobile from the Centre, at first there is no cause for alarm, but it is not him; it is someone informing her that her only child, Farid, has been critically injured and she needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

As a woman born in Riyadh and educated in Europe, she know it is a risk, but concern for her child forces her to make her own way to the hospital.  When she hits a sedan pulling out of the Souk, the Mutaween arrest her, calling her a 'haraam' and trying to pull her headscarf  from around her hair, putting her in grave danger..

At the police station they do not believe her story is true, that her driver was not available to drive her and cite her nail polish as proof of her lack of moral compass.  She is left alone with a policeman and her mobile phone rings, knowing it must be either the hospital or her husband she knows this is her only hope.  But will he listen?

This is a tense story that hints toward the protagonist being a Doctor, but clearly shows that she has no power in her world as she is a woman in a Muslim country.  Given no name throughout the tale, the writer, Victoria Watson, underscores perfectly that the protagonist is of no real value and paints a vivid picture of inequality in a difficult situation.

A haunting tale of how something so ordinary, can turn dark.                                                   8/10

Here is a link for anyone wishing to purchase the story:


Further details on the author:

Victoria Watson was awarded 'Young Reviewer of the Year' in 2009 and completed a Masters degree in Creative Writing in 2010.

Her short story 'The Piano' won 1st prize in the Story Tyne competition in 2012. Victoria had a story published in the 'Home Tomorrow' anthology published by 6th Edition Publishing in 2011. Her work is also featured in both 'Off the Record' charity anthologies.

Victoria has contributed to publications including 'True Faith' (Newcastle United fanzine), NCJ Media's north-east titles The Journal, Evening Chronicle and Sunday Sun. She has also reviewed for Amazon, Waterstones and Closer Magazine. She has also contributed to The Northern Line blog and is the official blogger for Whitley Bay Film Festival.

Victoria runs Elementary V Watson Proofreading and Copywriting Services. She also runs Creative Writing classes. For more information, visit her website elementaryvwatson.com.

#Amazon  #VictoriaWatson  #DangerousDriving  #ElementaryVWatson

Monday, 29 September 2014

Writers Digest Competition deadline 15 October 2014

Writer's Digest on YouTube
September 2014
10th Annual Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards
If you write short stories, don't miss your chance to compete in the Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards. There's sure to be a category created just for you. Choose from Romance, Thriller, Crime, Horror, Science-Fiction and Young Adult.  Enter your best in 4,000 words or less.

Wondering what's in it
for you?
  • A chance to win the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize including $2,500 and a trip to the 2015 Writer's Digest Conference
  • Get your name on the cover of Writer's Digest
  • A chance to win one of the six $500 Category First Prizes
  • Get your story promoted in Writer's Digest and on WritersDigest.com
  • Win $100 off a purchase at www.writersdigestshop.com
  • Receive a copy of the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market



Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ilkley Literature Festival 3-19 October 2014

There are still tickets left for the Ilkley Literature Festival 2014:


Ilkley Literature Festival 2014 Opens on Friday

There is a week to go until the 2014 Ilkley Literature Festival and preparations are in full swing, with tickets being printed, banners going up around the town and stewards sashes being ironed.

Tickets still available!

There are still tickets available for nearly 140 events at the Festival including:

Michael Morpurgo (last few!), Lauren Child, Michael Rosen, Diane Abbott, Geoffrey Boycott, Jodi Picoult, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Andy Kershaw, Austin Mitchell and Andrew Motion.

The Box Office is open Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm and Sat 10am - 1pm on 01943 816 714.
Phone bookings can be made throughout the Festival.

You can book online at www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk
Online sales for each event will stop 24 hours before they start (48 hours at weekends).

Unsold tickets and returns will be available on the door at events.
The Box Office opens 60 minutes before an event.


Festival Opening- Andrew Motion: The New World

The Festival's fifth decade is opened on Friday 3 October by the former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion.
The poet, novelist and biographer explores the synergy between poetry and prose.
Friday 3 October, 7.30pm, Kings Hall, £12/10

Book online now


Late additions to the Festival programme

Lorna Goodison and Kei Miller
Forward Prize nominated Kei Miller joins Caribbean poet Lorna Goodison for this not to be missed event.
Friday 10 October, 7.30pm, Ilkley Playhouse £5/3

Deborah Frances-White
Discover the fascinating journey comedian Deborah France-White took tracking down her birth parents.
Saturday 11 October, 7.30, Ilkley Playhouse, £6/4

Nick Davies
The Journalist who uncovered the phone hacking scandal discusses his new book Hack Attack.
Sunday 18 October, 2pm, Kings Hall, £7/5


Keep up to date with all the Festival news and behind the scenes gossip

Follow us onTwitter (@ilkleylitfest), like us on Facebook (Ilkley Literature Festival) and use #ILF14 to share your Festival experiences and pictures!

Plus, The Pickled Egg is the official Festival blog and packed with reviews and interviews.


Festival Highlights:

Festival Trustee and blogger at The Pickled Egg Andrea Hardaker share her Festival picks.

A Dog's Life Michael Holroyd
I enjoy books about family relationships - especially dysfunctional ones! Holroyd seems like a real character and I am interested in his work both as a biographer and author.
Sunday 5 October, 4pm, Craiglands Hotel, £8/6

Behind the Lines Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks
I am fascinated to hear Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks (two of the best known voices on BBC radio) reading from the work of Wilfred Owen, Ivor Gurney and Edward Thomas.
Saturday 11 October, 7.30pm, Otley Courthouse, £10

Kirsty Wark The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle
As a fellow Scot and journalist I am a great admirer of Kirsty Wark. Her latest fictional work tells the story of a lonely island woman. Having lived in some remote areas of Scotland I can identify with this community. I also won't be able to resist a sneaky question about the Referendum!
Sunday 12 October, 1.30pm, Kings Hall, £12/10

David Almond: The Tightrope Walkers
Ilkley writer/reviewer JY Saville sent me a review of this book for the Pickled Egg and I found myself desperate to read it and see David's event on the strength of her review.
Wenesday 15 October, 8pm, Ilkley Playhouse, £6/3

Nick Davies: Hack Attack
Having freelanced as a journalist for tabloids in the past (pre phone hacking!) I am fascinated by Nick's talk. The Festival has a habit of booking speakers at just the right time... Davies' book has also been snapped up by Hollywood A-lister George Cloony.
Sunday 18 October, 2pm, Kings Hall, £7/5

Book online at www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk
Box Office: 01943 816 714 (10am - 4pm Mon - Fri, 10am - 1pm Sat)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

New Writing North newsletter

Here is the latest New Writing North newsletter, including workshops, competitions and job opportunities:

September 2014
News from New Writing North
New Writing North news
News from the Writing Lab
Last night saw the concluding event of an innovative schools project between New Writing North and schools from the North East’s Catholic Schools Partnership. Students from Carmel in Darlington, St John’s in Bishop Auckland, St Anthony’s in Sunderland, and Our Lady & St Bede from Stockton all read work and talked about writing projects they’ve been working on for the past six months with funding from Bridge North East.
The Writing Lab project began in March with partnerships of pupils and teachers from eight schools invited to spend a day behind the scenes of the Discovery Museum trying out different styles of writing. Inspired by this experience, all eight schools from across the region applied for a small grant to run their own writing projects in their schools and communities. Projects on show last night included a creative writing club for Year 7s run by older pupils, a writing workshop at a local museum run by Year 10s for younger pupils, a creative writing website, and pupil-led writing workshops for young people just starting secondary school. In all young writers worked with over 250 younger pupils in their schools, and many of the projects are continuing in the individual schools.
Commissions at Durham Book Festival
When Durham Book Festival opens in ten days’ time it will see the culmination of several months of works by specially commissioned northern writers.
This year’s programme has a particularly strong North East theme. We took Anne McElvoy, the Durham-born public policy editor at The Economist, to Easington to revisit the town 40 years after the miners’ strike. Michael Chaplin followed in the footsteps of his father, Sid Chaplin, when he undertook six walks between Holy Island and Durham City. We also sent popular broadcaster Stuart Maconie out walking in the Durham Dales, and he will return to the Gala to talk about his experiences and the characters he met along the way.
War Correspondents is a topical piece of song theatre exploring the risks journalists take in reporting war. Created by composer Helen Chadwick and choreographer Steven Hoggett of Frantic Assembly, the production will be at Durham Cathedral for one night only on 15 October. Last, but by no means least, we are thrilled to have commissioned a series of poems on Heathcliff’s 'lost years' from Northern Writer’s Award 2013 winner Benjamin Myers. The poems will be on display in Durham Cathedral alongside Nick Small’s photographs on the moors. At a special event, Lives, Landscape and Literature, on 16 October, William Atkins, author of The Moor, will talk about his book, while a selection of Benjamin Myers’ poems will be read aloud. A chapbook of Heathcliff Adrift is being published by New Writing North.
Poetry Exchange opportunity for poets and performers
The Poetry Exchange is all about the concept of ‘a poem as a friend’. As part of the ongoing development of the project, we are running a workshop, What does it mean to give voice to a poem?, to provide a creative space for actors and poets to share their skills on working with the written and the spoken word. The workshop takes place at Northern Stage on Friday 24 October and will be led by Poetry Exchange founder and director Fiona Lesley Bennett. Places are free. It you are an actor or a writer, please apply by sending your CV to Beth Rutherford at beth@newwritingnorth.com by 17 October. To find out more about The Poetry Exchange, see www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk.
Creative writing session with Daljit Nagra
Acclaimed British poet Daljit Nagra, who was recently selected as one of the prestigious 20 Next Generation Poets, will lead a creative writing session at Durham Johnston School on 6 October at 5pm as part of Durham Book Festival. The session will be aimed at both teachers keen to enhance their creative writing skills and writers. It will focus on ways into writing poetry and explore participants' own creative writing skills. Limited places available. For more information and to book, go to  www.durhambookfestival.com/programme/event/twilight-session-with-daljit-nagra-the-retold-ramayana/.
Durham Book Group leader vacancy
After six years, Jo Colley is stepping down as leader of Durham Book Group. The group is now looking for another leader to take on this voluntary position. If you are interested, please get in touch with Olivia Chapman at olivia@newwritingnorth.com.
Success for Simon
In our last newsletter, we told you that writer Simon van der Velde’s short story The Bearer had been shortlisted for the Wasifiri International New Writing Prize. Well, guess what? He’s only gone and won! The Bearer will feature in the spring issue of Wasifiri magazine.
Zaffar at the Southbank for National Poetry Day
Northern Writers’ Award winner Zaffar Kunial will be appearing alongside Denise Riley, Steve Ely and Warsan Shire in The Pity, a special National Poetry Day event at the Southbank Centre on 2 October. The four poets have been selected as some of the UK’s most exciting writers, and will be performing new work about the legacy of the First World War. Find out more at www.poetrysociety.org.uk/events/event/2822.
Mari’s in the Library
Congratulations to Mari Hannah, who has made the longlist of the CWA Dagger in the Library. The prize is awarded to a crime writer for their body of work, rather than a single title. Mari toured throughout North East and Yorkshire libraries with us on Read Regional 2012-13, and we are delighted that she has clearly picked up a strong library readership. Well done, Mari!
NWA winner Marie-Claire signs with Conville and Walsh
Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez received a New Fiction Bursary at the Northern Writers’ Awards 2013 for her young adult fantasy novel, Without the Wild, a work inspired by her keen interest in biological sciences. After meeting with agents at our Northern Talent Summer Party, we were delighted to hear that Marie-Claire has recently signed with agent Sue Armstrong at Conville and Walsh.
New writer seeks assistance
Margaret Mowat, who is blind, is looking for help with editing the 200-page manuscript of her autobiography. If you can help, her email address is margaret.mowat@blueyonder.co.uk.
Publishing news
Bloodaxe poets tipped for the top
The Poetry Book Society has released its once-in-a-decade list of 20 Next Generation Poets, tipping the future stars of the poetry world, and featuring Bloodaxe poets Jen Hadfield, Hannah Lowe and Heather Phillipson. For the full list and details of poetry events throughout the north, including at T-Junction (see below) see http://nextgenerationpoets.com.
Smokestack to publish John Berger
Teesside press Smokestack Books is to publish the collected poems of John Berger, the poet, art critic and essayist whom The Guardian called ‘one of the most influential intellectuals of our time’. The collection will be launched at the T-Junction festival in Middlesbrough, and will be the poet’s only UK appearance. The festival draws on a wealth of international talent at its four-day outing from 16 October. Find out more at www.tjunctionfestival.co.uk.
Inpress role change
Sophie O’Neill, managing director of Inpress Books, has headed off on maternity leave, with Jane Harris – formerly of Quercus Books – taking the helm until September 2015. We wish Sophie and Jane both all the best in their new roles.
Trilengua North East: Call for writers, translators and singer-songwriters
Trilengua is a reading series that promotes international literature and work in translation. The event was launched in Barcelona in 2009 and New York in 2012 and is now coming to the North East. They are particularly interested in featuring writers and poets working in any language or regional dialect; and literary translators and multimedia literature/translations (eg, film-poems). They are also looking for singer-songwriters to play before and after the readings. The first event will be held in Newcastle in November, with a second event planned for spring 2015. If you’re interested in participating or otherwise getting involved, please contact Jessica Rainey with a short bio by 10 October. For more details, see www.trilengua.org.
New theatre submissions
The 42nd Theatre Company is a small professional theatre company committed to developing the highest quality of thought-provoking new writing. Based in London and led by Yorkshire-born artistic director Adam Bambrough, they aim to produce original work that is accessible and relatable to all, challenging audiences to think and feel. They welcome submissions of work from writers throughout the year. Submission guidelines and further information about the company, can be found at www.the42ndtheatrecompany.com.
WARMTH mobile sauna: Artist call out
Cargo Collective is building a mobile wood-fired sauna, which is to become a touring venue, creating an extraordinary space for conversation, storytelling, performance and installations. Expressions of interest are invited from live artists, performers/dancers, performance artists, writers, sound/light artists or installation artists to create a short piece of work within, or in response to the mobile wood-fired sauna, for a period of research and development and with public sharing in early 2015. For full details see http://cargocollective.com/warmth/Call-out-Artists/.
Baltic Artists’ Book Market
For two days only Baltic is once again playing host to a national Artists’ Book Market. Submissions are welcome from artists, bookmakers, small press publishers, artists’ groups, zine artists and bookbinders. Deadline for submission: Wednesday 1 October and selected applicants will be notified by 8 October. The exhibitors’ fee is £60 per table (90 x 180cm). For an application form see www.balticmill.com/about/news/call-for-exhibitors-artists-book-market-at-baltic.
2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize open for entry
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience. You don’t need an agent, just an internet connection to submit your unpublished story of 2,000-5,000 words. Each year, five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions share a total prize money of £15,000. The overall winner receives £5,000, one of the highest amounts for an international short story prize open to unpublished writers. Regional winners receive £2,500. Entry is free. Closing date: 15 November. For details and to submit, see www.commonwealthwriters.org/enter-2015-prize/.
New Writing North: Marketing and communications manager
Salary band £22,000-£27,000
We are looking for an energetic and accomplished marketing and communications professional to join our team in Newcastle upon Tyne to manage PR and marketing across our work.
From ensuring our day-to-day communications with writers, readers and stakeholders are informative to placing stories in the national press and media, New Writing North’s marketing and communications manager plays an important role in the organisation’s effectiveness.
Please see www.newwritingnorth.com/text.html?id=marketingjob for full information on the job and how to apply. The deadline for applications is Monday 13 October and interviews will take place on Monday 27 October in Newcastle upon Tyne. The post will begin in December 2014.
Jobs round-up
New Writing North is recruiting right now, and so are many others. Here’s a brief rundown of the opportunities (some with very near deadlines):
Hull Truck Theatre is recruiting in the following roles: head of communications and business development, head of engagement and learning, engagement and learning facilitator, and youth theatre director. All vacancies close on Monday 29 September. For full details, see www.hulltruck.co.uk/about-us/jobs.
Seven Stories is recruiting a learning and participation assistant (full-time) and a learning and participation facilitator (part-time) to work at the Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle. The assistant role closes on Monday 29 September, and the facilitator role on Monday 6 October. For full details, see www.sevenstories.org.uk/get-involved/current-vacancies.
North East Artist Development Network is looking for a freelance PR specialist. Closes Monday 29 September. For the brief, see http://arconline.co.uk/sites/default/files/images/North%20East%20Artist%20Development%20Network%20-%20PR%20Brief.pdf.
Opera North, the national opera company for the north, based in Leeds, is recruiting a head of development. Closes on Tuesday 30 September. For full details, see www.operanorth.co.uk/about/jobs.
Queen’s Hall Arts in Hexham is looking for an engagement and development manager to fundraise for and deliver participatory and audience development projects. Closes on Friday 3 October. For full details, see www.queenshall.co.uk/taking-part/vacancies/.
West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds has a vacancy for a part-time support officer to work on two major projects with older people, Heydays and Our Time. Closes on Monday 6 October. For full details, see www.wyp.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/job-opportunities/.
Tamasha is a leading theatre company producing new plays on global diversity. Based in London, they are seeking an administrator/producing assistant. Closes Monday 13 October. For full details, see www.tamasha.org.uk/vacancies/.
The Listening Post
Opera North comes to Newcastle
Newcastle Theatre Royal
The Opera North season of contrasts opens at Newcastle Theatre Royal on 11 November with
The Bartered Bride, a vibrant colourful comedy of true love overcoming parental and societal constraints and “one for all the family” per The Times. A brand new production of La traviata tells the tragic story of Parisian courtesan Violetta and her journey of passion, love and sacrifice (“Sensational,” says The Guardian). By contrast the dark tale of The Coronation of Poppea remains one of the most shocking, bloody and compelling stories on stage. Touring also to Leeds, Salford and Nottingham. Full details at www.operanorth.co.uk. Book Newcastle dates online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk.
Workshops and courses
Writing the First World War
South Shields Museum: Wednesday 8 October, 10.30am
Discovery Museum: Wednesday 12 November, 10.30am Segedunum Roman Fort: Wednesday 19 November, 10.30am

In conjunction with the Wor Life exhibitions across Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, writer Rachel Cochrane will be running three half-day creative writing workshops related to the exhibitions. Join Rachel for one or all three workshops. £9.50 per workshop. For full details, see www.rachelcochrane.com/wor-life-tyne-wear-first-world-war/.
Next Steps for Filmmakers: A Coming Up showcase
Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle: Friday 3 October
A panel discussion event with executive producer Philip Trethowan (head, Touchpaper Wales), Surian Fletcher-Jones (head of development, drama, Channel 4) and director Tom Marshall, who will showcase the acclaimed Channel 4 talent strand, Coming Up, run with production company Touchpaper Television. Recently restructured to result in a feature-length drama, Coming Up offers one of the few opportunities for new writers and directors to make an original film with a guaranteed network broadcast. Primarily intended for directors, but also open to writers and producers, Next Steps for Filmmakers is aimed at those who have already made some short films and want to move on, especially into broadcast television drama. The event is free, but a refundable deposit of £4 applies. For full details, see http://northernmedia.org/events/next-steps-for-filmmakers-a-coming-up-showcase.
Deadline for the next newsletter
If you have news that you would like to submit for inclusion in the newsletter please contact laurafraine@newwritingnorth.com. The deadline for receipt of information for the next newsletter is 6 October. The next edition of The Listening Post, covering November’s literature events, will go out in late October. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion for this you will need to send information by 21 October to laurafraine@newwritingnorth.com.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is correct at the time of going to press, things do change, frequently at the last minute and very often without our knowledge.