At the weekend I enjoyed the official launch of The Incubator journal (link on the right of my blog), which saw contributors read their short stories, flash fiction and memoirs to a packed crowd at the Black Box venue in Belfast. I’ve written a review of the event for Culture NI, so I won’t go over the same information here. Suffice it to say – there is a wealth of writing talent in Ireland, north and south but then, we knew that already – right?
One thing I like about readings like this is that it allows you to meet (or at least observe) the authors in the flesh and see how they present their work. Often, it’s unlike the way you read it in your mind, which I am always a little surprised by. Then I think – well, of course it sounds differently when I read it – and it probably always will. It brought the thought to mind though – can the way someone reads their work put you off from reading it yourself? Well, for me – no.
There’s no right or wrong way to read, and some people are naturally more eloquent and better at reading aloud than others, but if writing is worth reading, it’s worth reading. It’s not always about the packaging, remember? (Although I am often still swayed by beautiful book covers…)
Another great aspect to the afternoon however, was having the opportunity to catch up with a writing friend from last year’s John Hewitt International Summer School on the journey from coast to city. Connecting with other writers is always a positive experience, as a means of sharing experiences, tips, contacts and perhaps even critiquing each others’ work…
My friend – Elaine Donnelly – who had a beautiful and, as NI poet Ruth Carr described it – ‘haunting’ – piece of flash fiction published in The Incubator, had just come from the annual Flowerfield Writers’ Group reading event the night before, and had also just celebrated the launch of her Portrush Writers’ Group anthology – Beach Combings. It is only further proof of the writing talent simmering away in Northern Ireland and, dare I say it – outside of the big smoke!
In way of other writing news… I’ve just heard today that one of my Peace Poems, Awakening, has been chosen as one of the pieces which will be performed by actors at the Reading and Writing for Peace project’s closing event next week in Belfast. Good news!
(Culture NI should have an article on the project published on their website sometime this week, for anyone who wants a little more detail.)