I’ve been a little quiet on here the past couple of months, but with good reason... At the end of April, I met with literary agent Jenny Brown after she read my manuscript for Quines at Sea and I am chuffed to announce that Jenny has taken me on! This has meant that I’ve been working hard on getting my manuscript into ship-shape for submission to publishers at the end of the summer. This has involved a lot of time spent playing with post-its to map out each of my characters’ arcs, smoothing out continuity errors and contradictions, and tightening up the prose as much as possible. Thankfully, I’ve had the resource of a shared studio space, Aberdeen Writers’ Studio, with fellow writers in Aberdeen at The Anatomy Rooms. It’s been great working in a dedicated writing space with the support of a community of writers I’ve come to know really well. I don’t know if I would have got this far without them all!
Alongside this, I’ve been facilitating a second The Writers’ Room programme at my Creative Learning post. I’ve really enjoyed getting to deliver this programme again, but with a different set of writers who’ve all brought something new and unique to it, and it’s also been great to have help with the facilitation from Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow Morna Young, author Wayne Price, last year’s participant Megan Primrose, and two visual artists, Lady Thornfield and Caitlin Hynes. One highlight this year was when participants from both programmes took a jaunt up to Inverness to attend XPO North, Scotland’s creative industries festival. There we watched three writers from last year’s programme - Rachelle Atalla, Rae Cowie and Emily Utter - pitch their novels brilliantly to a panel of publishers and Jenny Brown. Lots of great feedback was given, and more general advice that had us all scribbling notes in the audience!
On the theatre side of things, I had new work performed as part of Union Street, a collection of skits, sketches and poems from playwrights local to Aberdeen, performed by professional actors (including Joyce Falconer and Morna Young), as part of the Silver City Stories Festival. This production, a follow up to the National Theatre of Scotland's Granite, showcased the diverse set of voices writing in Aberdeen today, but all focused on the city’s most famous street. The play, and other writing from the group, was published in a collection by Aberdeen University Press, and also performed as part of this year’s May Festival.
Speaking of festivals, there’s still one more literary festival to come to Aberdeen this year, and that’s EIBF’s Booked! Festival in ACT Aberdeen. I’m looking forward to delivering children’s writing activities throughout the two days in my role at Creative Learning, and also hosting and reading some of my own work at Aberdeen Booked! Unbound alongside bestselling novelist Jake Arnott and some of the Northeast’s most well-known and well-loved writers: Leila Aboulela, John Aberdein, Esther Woolfson and Morna Young; there’ll also be music from Morna’s band, Folkify. It’s a free, unticketed event starting at 8pm in the ACT Theatre on Thursday 24th August, so get it in your diary now!