Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I've worked hard to get the Highland Literary Salon on the map, and it took 18 months to get a mention in the local paper. But yesterday we went viral. The Culture Cafe, a weekly Radio Scotland show, featured readings and our event, which was quite exciting. I spoke to the producer in the morning, saw the inner workings of how the BBC magic happens, and sat in a real live soundproof room. UK listeners can hear this until next Tuesday here.
It was a cramped room for three of us - with two sets of headphones and one microphone - and much juggling happened as I realized I had to speak again at the end of the readings. And talking of viral, the niggling cold I've had since Sunday - my first all year - decided to kick into cough mode and I found myself choking to death during the first reading. So pardon the huge frog in throat at the end. The whole thing was rather surreal, but great fun.
The occasion was a celebration of the Hi-Arts New Writing Sampler, which was put together last November and was recently sent to publishers and agents. I'm honored to be a part of it, especially among other writers with exceptional talent. Orla Broderick and Richard Neath each read some of their work, and I got to chat a bit about the Salon and how there are now events in Stornoway and Skye happening, too. This network of Highland-based writers is really starting to happen, and I'm so glad it's happening now so I can see the potential before I go away for awhile.
After our radio show, we were all buzzing, so we went for lunch and a drink and had a buzzy chat about linking our Salons and utilizing authors' time better when we brought them up. The dream is a four-day stint, with workshops and Salon events in three or four locations - great for our writers and great for authors to connect with a new audience.
The evening event went by without a hitch. I helped give a workshop on social media for writers (notes can be found here) and didn't confuse people too much. Then Orla, Richard and I got to read a bit. I read from Saudade, which I'm revising (I know, again, but I had an epiphany), which is about a woman who finds herself back in a place where she experienced a heartbreaking tragedy a decade ago; Orla read from her novel in progress, The January Flower, a fresh, sassy book verging on the erotica; and Richard read from his work-in-progress, Breakfast Will Do, a harrowing tale of a man, a dead body, and a journey. Three very different stories and very different writers, but it worked really well. And gosh, it's good to read to an audience who has never heard your work and to see and hear the reactions.
So thanks to those who came along and humored us.
Image from design*sponge, quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr.