Reading at The Real Story

Well, here I am, reading away at The Real Story on 22 October as part of Manchester Literature Festival (image courtesy of The Real Story's eagle-eyed Twitterers)

It was such a great night. Of course, I scared myself stupid – stage? microphone? lectern? esteemed authors? audience? – but it was one of those occasions where I think I managed to conceal my nerves and I did actually enjoy it. Headline writer, Horatio Clare, was a fascinating listen. Once I've got through my latest pile of library books, I've earmarked him as next in line.

So if you've got an urge to tell a real story, send it to the guys and they'll work with you to get the best draft possible. It's really nice to work with other writers on your piece, and quite unusual – normally it's just a case of submit then yes or no. Full stop. Then, if there's a Real Story event on the horizon, they might ask you to come and read. They'll also publish you on the site, as they did right here.

The Real Story: Saturday 22 October

I've been to Manchester's Real Story live literature event twice, the first to hear Laura Barton read, the second to see Amy Liptrot in action.

And now it's my turn!

I've been invited to read my creative nonfiction piece, 'Hero,' at the next instalment of The Real Story as part of Manchester Literature Festival. The headliner is Horatio Clare and I'll be quaking in my boots. How about coming along to cheer me on? Tickets are very nearly sold out, so I'm told, but if you're quick enough, you might just get one... wish me luck!

Writing biography

Aside from The Word Mill sessions that I lead (gently!), I've never facilitated a creative writing workshop. But it's always something I've been keen to do: to try it out, challenge myself and deepen my writing practice.

So I was delighted – and, naturally, terrified – when the inaugural Saddleworth Literary Festival offered me a three-hour slot on day two of the 2016 programme. I chose to run a 'writing biography' workshop, building on the experiences I had writing Wayward Daughter and From Light To Dark. I designed a few different exercises, each on a different aspect off biographical writing: from good interview techniques; to using source materials; to allowing creative, imaginative license.

And it worked! I also took part in the exercises and we enjoyed swapping our in-the-moment responses to a variety of prompts. One participant also brought along her WIP which made for interesting discussions. Three hours flew by!