Gloucestershire writers’ network event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival

 

An increasing interest in everything writing, a discovery of the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network, and a toe dipped in the water of their competition, finds me in the audience at this event looking forward to hearing the successful

Conceived originally by the Literature Festival, Gloucestershire Writers’ Network was set up to encourage local authors and to inform and unite the various writing groups and this is the show piece of their competition. Although the festival does provide the opportunity of a bigger platform for the winners to air their talents, there is a certain home-grown feeling to the audience and I get the impression there are more than a few local supporters.

It is a warm atmosphere and there is an expectation of enjoyment as the winners and runners up read their prose and poetry pieces, all conforming in some way to the theme “East Meets West”. The breadth of the interpretations is wider, more unusual than I had anticipated, the readings unselfconscious and engaging. I particularly enjoy the prize winning prose piece, “ The Locals ” by Emma Kernahan because it rings true and makes me laugh, and “ Public school – Private Hell “ a poem by  Marilyn Timms,  for the strength of its delivery.  In fact the whole is summed up quite nicely by my neighbour’s comment,

“The standard is much higher than I expected.”

It is as I scan the anthology that I realise the authors have all had some success previously and are not quite the amateurs I thought they were.  **

In the second half we are treated to recitals from the judges themselves, Kim fleet reads extracts from her most recent crime novel “Holy Blood” and Anna Saunders a selection of her poetry, with particular focus on her latest book “Ghosting for Beginners”.

The 50: 50 mix  of poetry and prose makes  the evening varied and entertaining and I will put it on my wish list next year.

As I leave I have a conversation with a stranger about the Ghosts we have seen, it is a good way to end the day thanks to Anna!

 

** Admin Reminder
Please note that the competition is open to all, regardless of experience.  Over the years both experienced and new writers have been represented in the winning line-up.