Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Reliving the 5th annual Huddersfield Literature Festival

The word 'busy' does not really apply to my hectic lifestyle for the past week and a half. Ever since World Book Day it's been none stop in the Library which leaves me knackered every time I get to the flat which in turn makes me vulnerable to my strongest weakness - being lazy in front of the TV all evening. Which did happen for some of the week although I am pleased to say not all for last week on Wednesday 10th March 2010 the 5th annual Huddersfield Literature Festival began! And because I was taught by the Festival Director and the genius that is Michael Stewart I was able to attend at least 2 events completely free hehehe.

The first was Michael Stewart's Master Class to Short Fiction which most of was a refresher course for me as he'd taught me the same stuff back when I was at Uni (nearly a year ago now) but it was nice to be reminded and have my creative knowledge tested. Thankfully he didn't pick on me to answer any of his open questions etc and the audience were anticipating strongly anyway regardless. Some of the audience were in fact 10 of my creative writing enrichment students who due to my endless promotion of the Literature Festival got the chance to come along and learn from the best. I myself was invited to go with them and my lovely boss Terry, always keen to encourage my little writing talent, agreed to let me go for the afternoon with the group.

Afterwards I assisted as an unofficial photographer for two students in the group who were part of the Journalism enrichment group who wanted to interview Michael and because it's me who asked he complied hehehe. So they spent a nice ten minutes asking him about how he got into writing, what he writes, what books he likes and what the festival has to offer young people.

Once their interview was over I made my way to the nearest nicest pub in town which was 'The Lord Wilson' (ironically using my surname) which was based directly opposite the Uni tosit, read and have myself a nice tea (scampi and chips yum yum) until 6pm when I would meet up with Terry (my boss) at the Train Station and walk the short distance the elusive and exclusive Peacock Lounge for the Huddersfield Literature Festival Launch event. Also where the winners from the Less Is More Short Fiction and Poetry writing competition run by the Festival will be announced. It was slightly sad having not even made it into the short list myself for my shorter and very different version of my valkyrie story 'I Am No Angel' but I was keen to learn what kind of talent I was up against.

Whilst we waited as the crowd gathered in we were dined upon by lovely festival attendants serving mini quiches and Terry was exteremly happy with her bowl of salted dried broadbeans. It was a very pleasant atmosphere against the chic patterened walled seating, the black seats and delicate tea lights illuminating eager faces.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for - who beat me to my first chance at proper fame and being published! No, no, I joke, these winners do genuinely deserve it in fact Michael said even the runners up were that good that they too will be included in the Grist Anthology when it is published next year. Beating the many thousands that will enter Grist's own writing competition which opens again at the end of May.

David Gill (Short Fiction judge) and Gaia Holmes (Short Poetry judge) announcing the winners.

Writer Mark Ellis recieving his 3rd Place prize for his short story 'Sometimes I Think That If I Start Cryin I ain't Gonna Stop'.

Steven Maxwell won 2nd Place prize for his story 'Earth: A Review' but was too far away to make it there that night.

And 1st Place goes to Jenny Oliver for her story 'Chloe'.

Prizes in the Poetry section go to:

                  3rd Place went to Rosie Blog and her poem 'Tramps'. Sadly she entered from a distance away so couldn't make it either.

2nd Place Poetry winner Julia Decan for her poem 'Presence'.

1st Place Winner is Jackie Tarletan for her very short poem '3am Phone Call.'

So there you have them, the 6 lucky winners from over 600 entries from all across the country who won a small cash prize and pride of place in the future Grist Anthology of New Writing.

After they had all briefly read the entire or an extract of their winning entries an entirely different character graced the stage before us all. Michael discribed her as 'a singer, a celloist and a serial killer.' And her name was Ruby Honeycut Corsett.

This very intriguing and humorous character has the persona of a wealthy aristrocatic lady owning lands and servants (who she makes many references to, in particular one where they tried chopping a girls arm and a leg off to see if it indeed did elevate her in social standing hehehe) but a woman who also has a peculiar addiction to blood, gore, murder and avoiding the police. All this is shown in her songs. My particular favourite is the one about how after being kilted by her love she murders him and uses the lines 'you look so beautiful in my bodybag.'

And so my night with the Literature Festival fun ended as I did not intend to stay for the after party due to being up at 6am the next morning for work. But it was a jolly good night had by all, in particular the lucky winners who out wrote me yet again.

One day I'll make it. One day I will win muwahahahahahhaa!

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