I haven't been going out much at all lately - for the first time in my life I don't particularly want to: when I finish actually writing for the day all I want to do is sit around tinkering with it in my mind and thinking about next day's episode: just waiting for bed, really, so I can wake up and start again...
But I couldn't miss the launch last night of a new book by Jane Rogers and a debate on the value of teaching creative writing with her ex MA student Rachel Genn, whose debut, The Cure, will come from Constable and Robinson in May.
Jane is a wonderful writer, and her new book, The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press), looks fantastic. It' s set in a near future when pregnant women are mysteriously dying, and concerns a 16-year-old girl who, against the will of her parents, sets out to make a stand. You can read the rave Sunday Independent review on Jane's website here.
It was a Central Library event, and took place in Eliot House on Deansgate (where the library has relocated during the refurbishments) with its elaborate ceilings and stained-glass windows. The debate that followed the readings was interesting, Jane (who is Professor of Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam) expressing the view, which I share, that you can teach grammar and structure and plot and character-building, but you can't teach a basic, and essential, feel for language.