News! Our next Story Sunday is on Oct 7th.
A round-up of our summer adventures – and it’s only July!
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
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Jean pitched her unpublished novel to the Chudleigh Dragons at the Chudleigh LitFest last weekend in Devon – and won the prize!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.
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.
Scottish readers should also check out her website for news of Scottish shenanigans in September and October.
Our judging hats are well and truly on and we are haggling over who to include from a very strong entry.
If you submitted you will be hearing from us soon. Meanwhile here’s a reminder of the event details.
Though we say it ourselves, our Crime Night Story Sunday went particularly well and we are grateful to all of our readers and the enthusiastic audience who made it such a friendly and entertaining evening ( pictures at the bottom of the page!)
We still have to decide on next year’s programme but will keep you up to date here with our plans, or contact us to go on our mailing list for events and submission opportunities.
Meanwhile we’ve been busy at other Bristol Literature Festival Events, including the first ever Book Busk on Bristol Harbourside and at the notoriously raucous (and testing!) Flash Slam where we fielded two teams but still had to give way to Stokes Croft Writers (don’t miss their next Talking Tales evening) when it came to top prize!
Coming up is an event hosted by theatre group Bristales. Both Dawn and Ali have been selected to take part in an evening of readings on the theme ‘memories’. Catch them at The Room Above at the White Bear on St Michael’s Hill on Friday Nov 24th at 7.30. (Don’t be late. Ali is first up!)
And just in time for Christmas you can find us on December 9th with our jolly book stall,
this time at the Southbank Christmas Market
MANY STALLS – LIVE MUSIC – HOT SNACKS – FREE ENTRY
BAR OPEN – IT’S INSIDE at Southbank Club, BS3 4DB
Yes we sell books as well as write them. Bargains may well be found!
Here are some reminders of our Night of Crime
Phew, we made it!
As ever is was tres difficile to decide which stories to feature in our Story Sunday line-up but we got there in the end.
We’re looking forward to some fabulous writing and reading so all we need now is you to come along and give them as big an audience as we can muster.
There’s plenty of room and the bar will be open. Tickets £5 on the door.
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.
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’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 Mslexia, Under the Radar, the Storgy 2014 Short Story Anthology, HerCircle, 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.
Hard 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)
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
Thanks to Suzanne McConnaghy for summing up her first experience of reading with us at Southbank on March 19th.
Writers Unchained impressed me so much at the Festival of Literature, back in October 2016, that I decided I would enter their next event. They’d finally got me to see that writing a short story was not just writing a story: there was an art to it. Large learning curve and here I am at Story Sunday on March 19th, 2017, about to step onto the stage.
The Southbank Club provides us with a relaxed and welcoming venue to listen to ten writers’ interpretations of the theme: ‘Another Country.’
I soon find Story Sunday’s excellent organisation is very supportive to the readers – when you have a programme and know exactly when you are on, it does a lot to calm the nerves. I’m placed mid-way through Act 1 and this gives me time to see how the first two excellent writers handle the situation but comes early enough to allow relaxed enjoyment of the remaining performances.
Heather Jo Reed’s ‘Mr Muyila’s Bull’ transports us straight out to the African Bush, transfixing the listener as we come to understand the fate intended for the little girl and enjoy the mother’s clever thwarting of her husband’s will. Thoroughly rattled by Mark Lewis’s surreal ‘The Ancestors,’ during which we travel across place and time,’ I realise it’s my turn. I’ve prepared a smooth response to the introduction but fail to hear a word of what is said – it must be nerves – so I have to go straight into the story. With ‘Boy in a Blue Shirt,’ you’re out in Bristol, mixing with the people who live on the streets – and under them.
Ali Bacon’s sensitive story of a young girl’s death, ‘The Coldest Country of All,’ introduces a note of sadness which contrasts well with the following piece, ‘The Emperor’s New Wall.’ After the tension of the previous reading, this satirical story by Debbie Young gives the audience an opportunity for uncomplicated laughter.
An interval filled with the strong musical performance of Dawn Marie Kelly, mixing well-known titles with some of her own work, and we’re into the second act with Jean Burnett’s ‘Swansong.’ Set in Malta, it reveals the uncertain world of the hit-man and confirms that his is not the ideal profession – if we didn’t already know it. A smooth performance by Lania Knight with ‘The Red Doll’ touches on the theme of homesickness and the power of certain objects, while John Holland’s ‘The Doorstep’ deals with a familiar character, the Polish workman, whom we see in an entirely new way. Then, Dawn Marie Kelly is back with ‘No Place,’ the story of a simple world somehow made infinitely menacing in the telling. Her acting ability and very convincing American accent made this story very powerful.
To finish, Mark Rutterford’s funny, self-deprecating ‘Skydiving’ takes us on a whirlwind journey through his love life, which feels exactly how I believe skydiving would be. This intricate, cleverly-constructed story is a worthy end to a very satisfying programme.
Can I recommend attendance at the next Writers Unchained event?
Most definitely. You’ll sit enthralled through a couple of hours of thought-provoking entertainment. And if you’re a writer with aspirations like me, you’ll also learn much from the way in which the performers handle their material and deliver it to the audience. Look out for the next Story Sunday.
Thank you, Suzanne! If anyone would like to be notified of our next event, please contact us to be added to our mailing list.
The programme is nearly done for our next event on Sunday March 19th when ten local writers will read their interpretations of our chosen theme ‘Another Country’
The venue is Southbank Club, Dean Lane, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 1DB
Entry £5 on the door.
We’re delighted our line-up is confirmed. Come along and hear new work from old friends and familiar faces and with live music from Dawn Kelly.
Hope you can join us!