As with any profession, one must continue to grow and to help others to do the same with their writing.
In addition to attending courses, workshops and fascinating readings online (Gresham College, Arvon, Word Factory, Ada Lovelace Institute, Lancashire LitFest), I gave an in-person weekend workshop and a live reading in Gran Canaria. As you can see from the picture, the evening reading on the terrace was a little chilly, but it was a great evening of readings from poets, actors and authors from Europe and America.
Students and new writers with whom I work often express surprise that I still learn in order to develop my writing. “But you have a book. You are a writer.” Well, as I always say to them, if you write, you are a writer. And that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to be a good writer.
We all sometimes fall into the trap of seeing published writers as the finished article, fully formed professionals. The greatest sport stars still have coaches and powerful business people keep on top of every new development in their field. Continuing to learn is good for us.
The workshop took place in San Mateo, a beautiful mountain town in Gran Canaria. The location was an artist’s house, which was filled with painters, sculptors, travelling actors and on this particular weekend, writers.
The weekend was a mixture of writing and improvisation acting workshops. Sessions included Writing from Prompts, Creating Great Characters and How to Edit and Improve Work. It was fascinating to pair writing sessions with the basics of story and creating something out of nothing. Being a good improviser is more than ‘yes, and’, it is understanding character and story, too. Needless to say, I learned a lot about acting that weekend.
Participants came from Czechia, Croatia, USA, France, Hungary, Belgium, India, Germany, Sweden and more countries I’ve probably forgotten. Despite the difference in levels of English, I was so heartened that attendees were willing to share their work with each other. This is something that usually takes a lot more time. Perhaps it helped that we had a real camp fire to share stories around.
Some of the writers from the workshop, joined me in giving a reading of work at a hostel in Las Palmas. I’ve attached some pictures of ‘An Evening of Words’, too. Gran Canaria has a great mix of young entrepreneurs and travellers who are open to the arts and most importantly willing to listen, share and learn. Although I am heading back to the UK soon, I plan to come back to artistic Las Palmas.
I am delighted to announce that 2021 has brought competition success for me. In January, I won the Loft Books Short Story Prize, and in March, my story was the runner up in the Janus Lit Story Prize. I plan to include the stories with other published work in my forthcoming second collection (due Autumn 2021).
Most of all, I hope to keep reading, teaching and learning.