Claire Snook who lives in South Gloucestershire and is currently finishing a second novel, reports back on two of the many recent live events in Bristol- including our own!
Something special seems to be going on in Bristol at the moment. There’s never been a better time to be a writer in the city with so many opportunities for scribblers to get themselves seen and heard out there. I’ve even partaken in a couple of events myself; reading at the Writers Unchained inaugural Spine Tinglers’ night and performing a couple of stories at the marvelous venue that is Sanctum, a truly unique experience.
The Spine Tinglers’ night at the Southbank in Bedminster was absolutely fantastic and it was great to hear stories from Bristol Women’s Writing group and guest speakers including Emily Koch and esteemed horror writer Pete Sutton (who has blogged about the evening here) . It was the perfect night for scary stories as well with dense fog outside. We heard about carnivorous slugs (something that has stayed with me :S), bodies manifesting their owners’ wrong doings, decapitation, and a death that doesn’t go exactly to plan. There are some fabulous storytellers around at the moment and the tales on the night were chilling. I’ve only read one of my stories in public before so I was absolutely terrified – and on last. Thanks, Ali Bacon! (Ed: – no problem Claire – we wanted a grand finale!)
My story was more of a confession as it actually happened while I was living abroad. It involved dancing nuns and rats. I hosted a mini Q&A session afterwards as people wanted to know more – and see the scars. I hadn’t performed one of my horror stories before and it was great to have such a shocked yet positive response. People were still talking about the story the next day across social media, posting videos about parts of it and I even received an email from an audience member telling me she hadn’t slept all night because of my story. Great, and I’m getting it framed.
A few days later I found myself sat in front of an audience at Sanctum. This is such a great venue where I again performed a couple of stories – one horror and one magic realism. It had the right atmosphere too – grey and eerie, raining a little outside with just two spotlights in the entire place. People drifted in throughout my twenty minute talk.
There’s definitely something very special about performing there, it was an incredible experience. It’s very intimate with a max of fifty people in the audience. Afterwards I received lots of hugs and talked to people, discussing my stories in depth. People were curious. Another highly enjoyable performance! I think I’m getting the hang of these.
Sanctum is worth a visit; I’ve been back to watch a few performances and can highly recommend dropping by while the project is running. You never know what might pop up next!
Thanks Claire. Sanctum is running until Nov 21st but no programme is published. Kevlin Henney describes it here or follow @Or if you like the idea of performing with Writers Unchained, we’re planning another event at Southbank in February. Details soon 🙂