Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Readings at Oxfam Didsbury: me tonight, Tom Fletcher and Nick Royle last night

Tonight it's my turn at the Didsbury shop for the Oxfam Bookfest. We start at seven. 778 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2DR 0161 434 5380.

Last night it was Thomas Fletcher and Nicholas Royle. I went, but for the second time recently I forgot my camera (don't know what's up with me!), so I'll just have to rely on words to report. (The pic of Tom is from Facebook.) Tom read from his forthcoming debut novel, which he has written under Nick's mentorship (a writing prize he won), and which turns out to be written in quite stunning prose. The novel will be published next July by Quercus. Tom also turned out to be a stunningly good reader, po-faced yet ironic, giving the audience a real chance to savour his words which are often blackly funny. He also read from a collection of work by four writers in which his work appears. I'm really sorry but I can't remember the titles of either of these books - the second is something to with rain, I think (and it's a bright-green book: I do remember that). Damn! I'm losing my brains! (And if I'd had my camera I'd have had a pic of it, title and all). I'll look it up when I go back tonight, and edit it in: it's now on sale in the shop.*

*Edited in: Hooray, Sarah Hymas, the editor of Tom's earlier book informs me in the comments that the book is called Before the Rain (see, I remembered the rain). His co-writers are Peter Wild and Mollie Baxter. Thank you, Sarah.

**Edited in Thursday 9th: Tom's forthcoming novel is called The Leaping.

Nick Royle is the author of hundreds of short stories and several novels including The Director's Cut and The Matter of the Heart. His writing has a real signature style. With often dead-pan prose conveying the mundane but vivid details of everyday life and places we know (for the satisfaction of this audience he read a piece which began in the very room in which we were sitting, the Oxfam bookshop, and wended its way across Didsbury to my favourite cafe, The Art of Tea, and the second-hand bookshop at the back of it), Royle makes you thus identify closely, but then edges towards the mysterious and surreal, and in this way his stories are truly spookily affecting. He read us stories and extracts from his novel in progress, which I don't think has a title yet, so it's not just me failing to register that...!

Anyway, better go and prepare my own event for tonight. I'm on my own of course, and it's an awful long time to read on your own, so I guess I'll get some audience participation going at some point...

Do come along if you're around and have a spare evening. Maybe you'll get to see my brains disintegrating!


Sarah Hymas said...

Tom's previous book is called Before the Rain. His co-writers are Peter Wild and Mollie Baxter.

I think it's fab (but then I edited it!), and am glad to hear he's still airing it.

Yes, Tom's a great writer, with a strangely unselfconscious kind of syncopated delivery.

Hope your reading goes well

Elizabeth Baines said...

Hooray, thank you so much for reminding me of the title, Sarah - it all comes back to me now!