Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Writers Café

They say London's a city where everybody comes from somewhere else. Not so surprising then, that the Writers Café I attended on Monday had international flavour.

As regular readers of this blog will know - those kind enough to heed my reminders - for some time I've been trying to write fiction. I've been on courses, read books and joined a couple of local group for feedback and advice. I've written quite a few stories, the first draft of one novel and an outline for another.

It made a change to attend a group where I didn't know anybody, and the pub had a calm atmosphere, in contrast to The Counting House on Cornhill. The Shooting Star is a fairly modest Fuller's pub off Bishopsgate, in the quaintly named Catherine Wheel Alley.

I met a friendly Russian woman ordering a drink at the bar. The upstairs room was a bit forbidding at first, with its long boardroom-style table, but the dozen or so writers, mainly in their twenties and thirties seemed comfortable and supportive to the people who'd requested twenty-minute reading slots.

It's a great treat to be read to, recalling childhood pleasure. There was a variety of themes and styles: a low-key tale of a man whose son and family move abroad was followed by one about a young woman's fantasies in her overheated apartment;next an engaging portrait of a boy doing his homework while his parents wrangle in the next room; finally two poems: one enigmatic about a seashell and hidden passion, one welcoming a friend's newborn daughter. Readers were English, American and Australian.

I didn't linger for drinks afterwards, but the Russian lady gave me a story about an elderly exile who reminisces about her childhood while walking a troublesome dog. It was excellent entertainment for the journey home.

I think I should follow Fagin's advice: 'Make them your models, my dear!'

The Shooting Star: http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/pubsandbars/the-shooting-star-info-13392.html


Katy said...

The Writers' Cafe sounds like a great idea. You're right about how being 'read to' is such a pleasure, especially a writer reading their own work. Do people give feedback on what they've heard?

And did you read out anything yourself this time?

Sheila Cornelius said...

Katy, thanks for your comment.

Yes, there's a short discussion with constructive feedback at the end of each reading. The people seemed to know each other quite well and I think the group's been goinng for a while. I didn't take anything with me this time as I was new. I've said I'll go to the next session, though, on April 20.

LisasShare said...

Just couldn't resist...

Hi...we're still up and running but I've just taken over. Would be lovely to see you back at the group.

London Writers' Cafe

Sheila Cornelius said...

Thanks for contacting me, Lisa. I'd love to come back to Writers Cafe and will do so in the near future. How did you find this link-I'm curious.