Writers Unchained and in the wild

A round-up of our summer adventures – and it’s only July!

Heather Child: ‘Uplit’ at Edgelit

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Heather (far left) on the Edgelit panel

As well as an appearance at the Dark Societies dystopian book club in London, Heather was in Derby last week running a workshop and speaking on a panel at the popular sci-fi, fantasy and horror event EdgeLit 2018.

 

The recent boom in dystopian fiction was the topic of discuss

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Everything About You

ion, though with political decisions made in the last couple of years starting to bed in, it seems the incoming trend is ‘uplit’, or more uplifting fiction. All events were well-attended and people enjoyed meeting their favourite genre authors and getting books signed.

Heather is also at this week’s lunch-time lecture at Bristol City Library on Thursday July 26th at 12.30 in the old library foyer. It’s free, so get there if you can!

Jean Burnett in the Dragons Den

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Jean conquers the dragons

Jean  pitched her unpublished novel to the Chudleigh Dragons at the Chudleigh LitFest last weekend in Devon – and won the prize!

Her cosy crime novel wins a critique from novelist Sophie Duffy from Legend Press.

Jean is also working n a new historical novel and looking forward to a writing retreat in Greece.

 

 

Ali Bacon around and about

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Signing ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ at Wickhambrook

Having survived a book-selling trip to France, Ali set out for Suffolk where she was part of the Wickhambrook literary lunch in late June.

As well as talking about In the Blink of an Eye she had lunch with afternoon speakers Nicci Gerard and Sean French and has been name-dropping ever since.

She is now emerging from a stint on the golf course to do a book signing at Books on the Hill in Clevedon this Saturday 21st and dropping in to the Flash Fiction Festival on Sunday in Bristol.

 

 

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Ali will be at Books on the Hill , Saturday July 21st  Clevedon,  BS21 7PL,

Scottish readers should also check out her website for news of Scottish shenanigans in September and October.

And yes, our next Story Sunday will be in the early autumn, so please watch this space and keep writing!

 

 

 

Submissions closed

Thanks to all those who submitted. Participants will be announced by October 15th.

You are invited to submit stories from 500 – 1500 words on the theme of Crime for our Story Sunday on October 22nd.

Deadline October 1st.

Check out how to do it on our submissions page. 

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Summer news: publishing deals for Heather and Ali

Hello fellow writers and readers and apologies for being off the scene for a while. However we have some excellent news to report and can also give you the heads-up for our next  event in October, part of the annual Bristol Litfest extravaganza.

First, the good news.
In between all that short story action last year, our members were labouring over their long-term projects, two of which have come to highly satisfying fruition.

heather_cFirst up for a round of applause is Heather Child‘s debut novel Smartface recently acquired by  Little, Brown Book Group imprint Orbit via the Julie Crisp Literary Agency.

Heather’s book is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of a woman whose virtual assistant takes on the personality of her missing sister.

When her sister vanished, Freya’s life seemed to stop. Eight years later, she is hearing Ruby’s voice again as a ‘Smartface’, so alive and real it seems she could be out there somewhere, feeding updates into the cloud. But should Freya trust this intelligent assistant, which is programmed to give her everything she wants?

The novel examines what happens when smart becomes too smart, when people accumulate so much data online that they can be recreated as data ghosts and lives can be changed by the information they’ve left behind. The book will be out in spring 2018.

Heather, who joined us a couple of years ago, has already been published in MslexiaUnder the Radar, the Storgy 2014 Short Story AnthologyHerCircle, the Bristol Post and Notes from the Underground online. We’ve loved hearing excerpts from the book at our feedback meetings – I can’t wait to read the whole of this fabulously written  novel which takes a compelling and disturbing look at what might be just around the corner.

Ali_ason 4896x3672Hard on the heels of Heather’s success comes Ali Bacon who has signed with Linen Press Books. In the Blink of an Eye is a re-imagining of the life of Victorian artist and photographer David Octavius Hill. This collection of sixteen stories in ten distinctive voices bring together history, fiction and biography. Ali says:

I was doubtful a mainstream publisher would commit to something that crosses so many of the usual boundaries. I was thrilled when Linen Press snapped it up straight away.

You may well have heard Ali reading excerpts from her work-in-progress at Novel Nights in Bristol or at Stroud Short Stories.  In June of this year Ali also won first prize in the Evesham Festival of Words Short Story Competition with one of the chapters from her book.
In the Blink of an Eye will be published in mid-2018 when we’ll get to read all of the stories one judge said  ‘knocked his socks off’.

 

And finally! (cue blood-curdling scream)

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Get out those diaries and sharpen your pencils in preparation of our next Story Sunday which will be A  Night of Crime on October 22nd.

Submission details coming shortly here or on Twitter @bww_unchained

The Twilight Zone – Captain’s Log

Stardate: October 24th ….

Out of this world – or just plain blinding.

You’ll have to excuse the cliches while we say a massive thanks to everyone who made last night’s Twilight Zone an absolutely stunning experience. Most of all to our amazing writers who each brought a unique and contribution to the SF/spec-fic genre every one of which was totally unforgettable.

So let’s hear it for these brave and talented souls who took the floor (with apologies for the odd solar flare!)

ACT ONE

Kevlin Henney 'Ashes to Ashes, Manana, Manana'
Kevlin Henney ‘Ashes to Ashes, Manana, Manana’
Julie Hayman ‘A new Cosmic Order After the Apocalypse’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonty Levine 'The Map of Chad'
Jonty Levine ‘The Map of Chad’

 

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Mark Lewis ‘Candy Man’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Corlett, 'Last Tango in Space'
Anne Corlett, ‘Last Tango in Space’ (and first glass of wine back on earth!)

ACT TWO

Alex Bridge 'Questionable Benefit'
Alex Bridge ‘Questionable Benefit’
Barney Barrett 'Down the Plughole'
Barney Barrett ‘Down the Plughole’
D. S. Ketelby 'The Birth of Birds'
D. S. Ketelby ‘Giving Birth to Birds’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phlip Douch, ‘Trog and Kron attempt to Refuel’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevlin reading John's 'Youre Very Beautiful'
Kevlin reading John Holland’s ‘Youre Very Beautiful’

 

Our commiserations to John Holland who couldn’t make it on the night but whose story ‘You’re Very Beautiful’ was read by Kevlin with such mesmerising intensity it looks to me as if John’s shadow (or maybe his alien alter ego) was with us in the room.

Thanks as ever to Southbank Club who provided the ideal venue and to Sally for bringing along the portable atmosphere!

 

 

This was our fourth story Sunday since last we began on a misty night last November, so a good time to thank everyone who has read for us this year.

We are off to give ourselves a pat on the back and decide when and what our next event will be. Thanks to last night, I think there are a few more sci-fi fans in this neck of the woods.

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Apocalypse? Miaow!

Logging out.

And thanks again for all the birds, robots, eggs and (recurrent theme) very startled cats.

 

The Twilight Zone approaches

Yes, at 6pm next Sunday you can enter a world of mesmerising and mind-bending stories read by their writers. Our call for submissions has been the best yet and in a break with tradition we at WU are standing aside in favour of a full programme of guest writers. Our line-up includes not only star local writer/performers but also newcomers to the Bristol live-lit scene.

What can you expect if you join us?

  • Anne Corlett‘s award-winning story about space-travel
  • Philip Douch with sci-fi at its most hilarious
  • cosmic shenanigans from Jonty Levine, Barney Barret and Julie Hayman
  • an alien with a roving eye from  John Holland
  • an edgy take on time travel from  Alex Bridge

Sally post-nanoIf you feel the need for something more familiar, Mark Lewis offers boiled sweets (but not as you know them) and you can share an apocalyptic cigarette with Kevlin Henney. Or if far out really is your thing, we have D. S. Ketleby with an avian family saga.

Tickets £5

Doors (and bar) open 5.45.  Mind-altering stories,   6 – 8 pm

Let us – or them – entertain you!

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Madness it was … (or “phwoah, what a scorcher!”)

midsummergrpahicHelp. Autumn is nearly  upon as and you’re wondering what happened to midsummer.

For us it all came down to a rather warm evening  at Southbank Club and a great line-up of readers who entertained us with tales of doomed love, doomed window-cleaning,  febrile festivals and disturbingly real trouser snakes.

Amongst all the general insanity we also had some spectacular prose and highly professional performances.

So before moving on to whatever autumn may bring, here are a few souvenir postcards of what we did on our midsummer holidays with thanks to all those who came along and made it what it was.

Midsummer Madness – full programme

Here t’is!

Sunday’s full programme. Tickets £5 on the door.

Southbank Club Bedminster, BS3 1DB
6.30 – 8.30 pm

Come and support our brave readers. (Note to brave readers: we can’t wait!)

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It’s all happening at Unchained Towers (yes it really is!)

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Emily Koch reading Scratching at the Grey

Any minute now we’ll be opening submissions for our next Story Sunday event whose theme is Midsummer Madness (submission details here) but here’s a quick run down on what we’ve been up to since the Love Hangover evening which as hangovers go was a whole lot of fun.

We had great stories and performances from all the writers who came from near and far. Sadly none of the rest of us remembered a camera, but thanks to guest writer Debbie Young you can see a few more snaps on our Facebook page.

And?

Louise Gethin
Louise Gethin starred at Bristol Old Vic

Since then we’ve had quite a few adventures, starting in February when Louise Gethin performed Ship’s Diary – a short fictional piece inspired by a visit to the SS Great Britain and narrated from the Ship’s point of view – as part of the Bristol Old Vic Open Stage event. If you want to catch Louise again, she will be one of the poets and writers reading on the 9th June at Life, love and Mortality: A Literary Night. For further information: http://www.skylightrain.com/life-love-and-mortality-a-literary-night/

 

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Shirley in Teignmouth

Meanwhile Shirley Wright enjoyed a visit to the seaside when she took part in the Teignmouth Festival and came second in the Teignmouth poetry prize then ran a poetry workshop at  Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which was hugely appreciated.

Jean Burnett and Ali Bacon also took part in the Hawkesbury festival  where Jean had the Georgians voted second in the ‘My era’s better than yours’  historical fiction panel. More pictures of the whole day are on Ali’s blog.

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Ali reads at Stroud

No prizes (so far)) for Ali whose short story Silver Harvest has been listed in more than one competition, but she did enjoy reading it at the Stroud Short Stories spring event on April 24th. Here’s a great review of the whole evening by Leah Grant of Good on Paper which really captures the atmosphere – and reveals some enticing news for Stroud Short Stories fans.

What’s next?

Our next ‘outing’ before or own Story Sunday will be at the Talking Tales evening in Bath on June 5th.  ‘More Banksy than Bonnets‘ is a chance for Bristol writers to go large in the sedate (?) city which is our neighbour, so thanks to Stokes Croft Writers for inviting local writing groups – and watch out Bath!

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Eleanor Matthews
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Heather Child

Perhaps best of all, we’ll be joined at upcoming events by new members who’ve recently joined our Writers Group. We’ve been enjoying their work immensely, so please take a look at  Heather‘s and Eleanor’s websites and join with us in giving the a warm welcome.

Like I said, it’s all happening 🙂

 

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Spine-tinglers event November 1st. Cometh the hour …

Let us tell you a story

South Bank Bar

Yes, as you may have heard our new and improved Sunday Night Stories get-together WILL take place on Nov 1st from 6 – 8 pm when you can snuggle up in the bar at Southbank Club Bedminster and let our members and guests make you shiver or smile with their spine-tingling stories.

Update! Submissions are closed and we have selected eight stories by our members and guests to be read on the night. We’ll be in the main bar at Southbank and hope to welcome everyone there who’s free to join us.

Tickets on the door. Don’t forget your voucher if you have one! Details below or contact us with any questions.

 

Local writers are invited to join us 

If you are within striking distance of Bedminster and have a chilling or thrilling story to hand (or can rustle one up in a hurry!) please send it to us by Wednesday October 21st. We’ll pick those we like best and invite the authors to take up our three guest slots on the night.

Please read our submission guidelines before you send us anything and only submit if you can come and read on the night. We’ll let you know by October 28th if you’ve been selected.

There is no entry fee (or prize!) for this BUT

  • everyone who submits a piece for consideration will be sent a Bring A Friend For Free voucher, so that even if you’re not reading, you can come along with a friend and have your entry at half -price.
  • if you’re selected and decide to come alone, you’ll have free entry.

The full ticket price is £5, by the way, to include spooky refreshments. (Cash only.)

So whether you’re a reader, writer, or someone who likes a bit of entertainment, don’t let Sunday evening get you down. Come along and be part of the Southbank scene, and let us tell you a story.

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