Another MMU reading last night, this time from prize-winning novelist and children's writer Livi Michael. Livi is now teaching in the Writing School there, and this was her introduction reading. Appropriate then that she talked about her whole career as a writer, first of adult novels (including Under a Thin Moon and All the Dark Air), then books for younger children, and most recently teenage fiction (The Whispering Road and The Angel Stone). Disarmingly informal and amusing, she told us about the hows and whys of this progression and her various personal influences, and the different experiences of publishing 'literary fiction' and more commercially-directed children's fiction.
I have long been an admirer of Livi's work (and am pleased to say we published one of her stories in Metropolitan). She makes ordinary lives extraordinary, and the writing is spare and direct yet tense with beautifully controlled undercurrents. I was amazed and admiring to find that her children's books retain this tone - a rare feat in a genre where patronisation is all too common.
Next Thursday (15th) novelist Martyn Bedford reads, and the following week finishes off this year's readings with poet Alice Oswald (20th) and on the 22nd a triple bill of Jackie Roy, Linda Chase and Jeffrey Wainwright.