7 Dec 2011

Bridport Open Book Festival Part 2

Continued from the last post: http://storyslingers.blogspot.com/2011/11/bridport-open-book-festival-part-1.html where Simon and I went to Bridport Open Book festival, heard Joe Dunthorne read from Submarine, Wild Abandon and some poems, sat behind PJ Harvey in the audience and appreciated Gretta Stoddart's excellent poetry. 

We returned to Bridport on Friday afternoon, had a little wander around the town, ate some amazing cake at the wonderful Beach and Barnicott, and bought some cheap shoelaces at This ‘n’ That.

This time we were in for a more informal reading from past Bridport Prize winners. The name that drew us to this event was Adam Marek, writer of Instruction Manual for Swallowing (Comma Press). After our knife and fork themed prompt at Storyslinger HQ, I handed around Marek’s story, The Thorn, in which a splinter in a boy’s foot turns out to be a silver dining fork. And now we’re raving Marek fans. Marek’s writing style is hugely original, marked by the clashing together of the impossibly bizarre and the mundane routine of reality. He takes magical realism one step further than the typical canon.

The evening went very smoothly, with multi-award winning Vanessa Gebbie acting as compere for the evening. Also present was Judith Allnatt, who has two books published by Black Swan. The three writers chatted about their work, routines, inspiration-points and career-to-date, as well as how important being placed in the Bridport Prize was to their careers (very important). Allnatt and Gebbie read out extracts from their novels, and Marek read a complete short story, as yet unpublished.

Afterwards I chatted to Adam Marek about the process of writing. It’s nice to know that one of my all time favourite short story writers was once in the same position that I am in; in possession of a stack of rejection letters, wondering why I spend so much time and energy on writing, and feeling that wherever the end of the tunnel is, it’s sure not shedding any light yet. Marek’s advice: keep on going, you’ll get there someday, maybe pretty soon.

Here’s a really interesting interview with Marek at this year’s Kikinda Short story festival in Serbia wherein Marek talks about how he fuses fantasy and reality. 

And here he reads from Fewer Things, shortlisted for Sunday Times short story award:

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