Build It and They Will Come

As an avid reader and writer, I love attending literary events for insight and inspiration. Up until very recently this meant that I had to travel west to Glasgow or east to Edinburgh to hear readings by well-known writers.

The reason I no longer have to travel 20+ miles is thanks to [Untitled] and The Grind working hard together to make Falkirk a destination for quality literary gatherings. Following the success of previous events, the latest coup for [Untitled] and The Grind was to feature established names and exciting new writers of Scottish contemporary writing.

The event, called Nomenclature,  which in Latin, means “naming” and is the process of giving specific, descriptive names to things (a new word for me!) was an all-female line-up – ‘No-men-clature’ is quite unusual.

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Fiona gein it laldy!

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Janet sharing one of her anecdotes of family life.

Nomenclature had something for all tastes and was compèred by Jenny Lindsay, of Rally and Broad, who set the tone with her entertaining spoken word performances.

There was also hilarious Scots poetry from Falkirk born award-winning writer Janet Paisley who had the audience in stitches with her dead-pan delivery. Then there was Celtic poetry and music inspired by Scotland’s turbulent history performed by Katharine Macfarlane and Fiona McNeill.

Lucy Ribchester read her evocative short story, The Glass Blower’s Daughter, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Short Story Award and an extract from her excellent debut novel, The Hourglass Factory. Writer Vicki Jarret has recently launched her collection of short stories, The Way Out and the restaurant setting of the story she read was a great taster (couldn’t resist the pun!).

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MacGillivray’s words and music were full of emotion.

The unique voice of MacGillivray was showcased with her haunting music and ethereal words in a performance the like of which I’m sure the venue (a former haunt of mine when it was Rosie’s nightclub and more used to the hits of Madonna than MacGillivray) has ever experienced!

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Janice’s use of comic timing and facial expression is priceless.

For me, and I’m sure I’m not alone, Janice Galloway, the headline act, fulfilled her top billing status. Janice has a powerful presence which permeates a room with her dramatic style and distinctive voice.

Reading a passage from her memoir, This is Not About Me, which describes her sister getting ready for a big night out in Ayr, she used her talent to brilliant effect and wowed the crowd. Janice is one of my all-time favourite writers and to have the chance to hear her read and meet her (she was very sociable considering I came across as a star struck groupie!) was the highlight of the night.

All credit to [Untitled] and The Grind as Nomenclature was proof that you don’t need to be a big city to attract big names.  Do you have access to hearing inspiring writers locally?

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L to R – Vicki Jarret, Janice Galloway, MacGillivrary, Fiona McNeil, Katharine Mcfarlane, Janet Paisley

(Thanks to Eddie McEleney for permission to use his excellent photographs from the event).

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17 thoughts on “Build It and They Will Come

  1. This sounded so good, thanks for sharing it with us, Helen. I live in a city so I do have access to writer events – we have a literary festival, Waterstones do a few, and because I’m at university, I get access to masterclasses there too. It’s surprising how often I find myself traveling to Manchester to see big names though, I wish there were more regular events here.

    • Absolutely. I think there’s lots of stuff out there if you’re prepared to travel and have the opportunities like you and I do with uni connections etc. What impresses me about Untitled’s events are that they’re fairly cheap, in relaxed venues like pubs and this makes them accessible to folk in Falkirk (not known for its culture!) which has boosted the scene considerably. Thanks for the RT – much appreciated. 🙂

  2. Nomenclature sounds like a very entertaining show. And how lovely not to have to travel far. We get the occasional writer visiting Skye, but it’s rare. If they do – and as long as the talk is in English and not Gaelic, then I make every effort to attend. But usually, going to an event such as the one you describe involves travelling at least as far as Inverness.

    • It’s not easy living in a remote area to access events but even in the central belt folk from Falkirk have always had to travel (not as far as you though!) so it’s great to see exciting stuff on the doorstep. It was a great night. 🙂

  3. I was gutted to miss this because of insurmountable logistics so fantastic to get this feedback – thanks for sharing Helen. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for further Nomenclature events 🙂

  4. I also loved her memoirs! I wish I’d realised this was on, would’ve definitely come along if possible. Next time: in fact, maybe next time you’ll be reading from your debut 😉 x

  5. It was s great night, and it’s fabulously inspiring to see an all female line up. I’ve been reading Janet Paisleys’ work for years, to chat to her was brilliant .

    • It was indeed a great night Janet. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to speak to you on the night. I’ve not read any of Janet P’s work but will seek it out – she was a star turn!

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