Today I got to do something amazing. I got to sit in writing workshops with bestselling (and famous) novelist Emily Barr.
Quickly upon meeting her, I found out she was lovely. Like a ‘I’m really interested in who you are and what you do’ kind of lovely and this made her workshop so engaging and effortless the entire way through. (It was three hours long).
First we did some writing exercises, like trying to write a short story with every consecutive word of the alphabet – in order. I won’t lie, it was tough. And mine was a load of nonsense compared to everybody else’s.
Currently, there are twelve of us who are participating in the writing workshops which are running for a few weeks! Do I even need to tell you I’m excited?? Being in a room with so many sophisticated and talented writers is really humbling and kind of like magic once you’re in the room with them. They make you want to be better. They want to make you try harder. I’m really lucky to not only be with Emily Barr – an actual novelist – but also everyone else too, because they’re all talented.
I’m so incredibly looking forward to seeing how these few weeks pan out. It’s the last year of my degree, the last chance for me to do something like this. I’m going to count every second because I don’t want it to be over. Next week we’re looking at setting and how it matters in fiction/writing!
In other news, my friend got me a new vintage night gown today (she knows I love them and already have like three already). It has ruffles and IT’S PINK! I’ll even leave you a picture of it.
Anyway, until next time! I have to pop out to get some washing up liquid …
This weekend I’m going to a Vintage Fair at Killerton in Devon.
I – can’t – wait! If you live anywhere near Devon and have access to transport I highly recommend you go! It looks like it’s going to be fantastic. I am missing a kind of belated house warming party for it (it’s actually my own house warming party but hey I live in a student house – I’m sure my roommates will tell me all the shenanigans I miss!) because as soon as I got told about it I WAS IN. As far as I was concerned, all other plans could be thrown out of the window!
Not only does it feature lots of vintage clothing and – wait for it – fashion shows! but also there will be beauty parlour workshops too where attendees can have their hair and/or makeup done inspired by vintage fashion trends! Of course you have to pay and book in advance for these kinds of treats but if vintage/retro is ‘your thing’ then you owe it to yourself to book in and get a proper professional makeover to show all your friends! There will also be a professional photographer there to take your photograph if you wanted to keep the memories even longer!
There’s so much going on and it’s happening right throughout the entire weekend 21st – 22nd June so you won’t be bored! There’ll be fairground rides, classic cars, workshops, dancing, a Jazz band, a wedding marquee and, even better, there’ll be lots of stalls with over 100 antique/vintage inspired items to choose from, including clothing, accessories, homeware and knickknack things to indulge yourself with. It looks fantastic and the line up makes me feel all kinds of giddy inside.
Seriously, what is not to love about this?
It’s a ticketed event so make sure you get yours here.
For adults tickets in advance cost just £6. For children just £4. If you decide to buy tickets on the day these are slightly more, with adults costing £10.60 and children £5.30.
To visit their Facebook page for more information click here.
Writers In Residence is a thing. A University thing, I think. And, to me, it’s a very important thing. It means that aspiring writers (like me) get the opportunity to submit their pieces of writing and if they win they get to participate in scheduled workshops with that author.
A real author!
This year, it is Lionel Shriver, who wrote the award winning book We Need To Talk About Kevin and she is coming to the university where I study. HOW EXCITING!
Naturally, I got so excited when the emails came around saying that students could apply to be in the workshop for Writers In Residence. With Lionel Shriver. A very successful author and journalist from America. I applied as soon as I was ready, as soon as I’d written something I thought was the absolute best I could aim for.
Choosing to come to university was a big task for me, but when I realised students got the opportunity to work with actual authors and published writers, go to poetry readings and indulge themselves in a special writing world that they may not have had the chance to do otherwise, my mind was pretty much made up. I decided to go, almost based on that. That it was a world I would be opening myself up to that I may not ever get the chance to do in the real world.
Establish contacts, hone my writing skills, just overall be with people who shared my love for the world of writing and adored literature.
I really wanted to go. And it’s totally worth it. All of it. Even the ‘sit-by-myself lunchtimes’ and the ‘almost-talking-to-nobody-Fridays’. It is all worth it.
Because – dare I even say it – my application got through to the Writers In Residence workshop and soon from the beginning of April and all through to May I am getting the chance to do some fiction writing with Lionel Shriver.
It’s with 11 other applicants, and we will be spending two hours every week with her to develop our writing skills and get one to one sessions with her also if we so desire. I can’t wait. Following a disappointing email from a publisher for a short story competition saying my submission hadn’t got through, to then read this email was full blown amazing and I still can’t even believe I managed it.
It seems that since university, my life has had its doors open and opportunities flood their way in through. They may not all be successful ones on my part but I love being given the chance to throw my arrow in the bucket along with all the other applicants too. I feel this is what being a writer is all about.