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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Home Game

Being born in Falkirk, I qualify for the official status of a “Fawkurt bairn” and I’m always keen to support any arts event in the area.

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I’m also behind any fundraising efforts for Foodbanks, the existence of which seems appalling in 2014, especially in a week when shops promote ‘Black Friday’ to encourage consumer greed.

So when I heard about Untitled’s latest event as part of the wonderful Book Week Scotland (in partnership with The Grind) I was keen to go (even although the poster showed a scene from a football match and I panicked for a nanosecond that I’d be forced to suffer anything remotely related to sport).

 

for-websiteUsually, I have my bestie by my side but she was busy (my fall back of dragging hubby was a no-no as a full night among “arty farty folk”, his words, not mine, would be a step too far) and it was a case of me feeling like Billy Nae Mates or missing out on a great line up showcasing some of Scotland’s best new talent. I’m a big girl (sadly in width more than in height) so I braved dreich weather and took myself along to Behind the Wall to enjoy the spoken word acts which included the launch of Dickson Telfer’s new short story collection, Refrigerator Cake.

I’ve heard Dickson perform his work before and he really is an engaging speaker who thoroughly entertains with his offbeat take on everyday life.  As before, Dickson won the audience over with his unique style of performance. After this taster, I can’t wait to read my copy of his new book.

 

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Stephen Watt wowed the audience with his performance poetry.

Other highlights of the night were local writers Samuel Best reading from his WIP, Bethany Anderson reading from her novel Swings and Roundabouts and Stephen Watt who knocked it out the park (surely the Home Game theme merits at least one or two cheesy football puns?) with his performance poetry.

And even better, I needn’t have worried about being there on my lonesome, I met writers I follow on Twitter and could’ve spent hours talking to the lovely Suzanne Egerton, Vicki Jarret and Mairi Campbell-Jack. A win on home ground!

Do you have a local spoken word scene? Is feeling part of a community important for you as a writer?