Celebrating women writers

So, International Women’s Day came and went and all in all, it was a great success with regards to the Women Aloud NI project. Women writers gathered across Northern Ireland to celebrate each other’s achievements, enjoying readings and chatting about all things relating to writing.

Some of the writers who read in Coleraine, including Women Aloud NI organiser, Jane Talbot (far right).

Some of the writers who read in Coleraine, including Women Aloud NI organiser, Jane Talbot (far right).

In Coleraine, the audience enjoyed hearing from a variety of talent throughout the day, and it was great to see such healthy numbers in attendance, with some people even staying from morning until evening.

It was my first time reading my work at an event like this and I don’t know whether it was the supportive atmosphere and the attentiveness of the audience, the prompting from author Bernie McGill (who was facilitating the readings) with questions during my discussion, or simply feeling at ease surrounded by so many shelves of books in a store I used to work in, but I really enjoyed the experience.

WOMEN ALOUDFeedback from everyone else seems to be the same and, as someone who used to get nervous reading in public, all I have to say is – when’s the next one?! Of course, part of what helped my confidence is the fact that I was reading a story which had been published in a literary journal.Waterstones reading1

For me, knowing that someone liked my work enough to print it, automatically boosted my confidence in reading it in public, and I think journals are an excellent way to improve your confidence as a writer, as well as building up your reputation.

I also shared some tips about submitting to journals, and brought some with me as props so the audience could see examples of what’s out there, which I think worked quite well.

It certainly inspired me to get back to scribbling in my notebooks, so I think it’s about time I started that next story…

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