Academician Jean Davison’s Festival preview


I’ve ringed the dates on my calendar with a fancy purple marker pen (not that I could forget!). The leaves are already bristling with the promise of exciting events at the forthcoming NoShoSto Festival. Here are just three which I’m particularly looking forward to.

On Saturday 1st June, 2pm, the award winning short story writer C G Menon will be running a workshop called ‘Credible and Compelling Writing’. Through a series of exercises, she will guide us into creating realistic characters and settings. We will explore techniques to help us answer that all-important question of how to bring a fictional character to life, looking at how ‘real life people and places can be successfully mined for short fiction.’ I’m keen to learn more about how our observations can be used as a springboard to help us create believable characters and places, while letting our imaginations soar.

My next chosen event (Saturday 1st June, 4.30pm), though different in focus and format, also continues with the idea of truth in fiction. This event is called ‘Resist! Stories of Uprising’ with Uschi Gatward, S J Bradley and other award winning writers. It builds upon the success of a previous project of Comma Press which resulted in the anthology ‘Protest: Stories of Resistance’ in which acclaimed authors write about real events of British protest but through the eyes of fictional characters involved. I’m currently reading this anthology and it is utterly gripping. History comes alive and accuracy is maintained by the authors working closely with historians, crowd scientists and activists so that factual and fictional truth can be presented at its best. I’m very much looking forward to the follow-up, on which this event is based.

What a brilliant idea to take the reader inside the heads of fictional characters to give us a real sense of seeing the resistance events through the eyes of people actively participating in them. How different from dry lessons at school (long ago) where my teacher (sorry, Mr B) sprinkled dullness over even the most fascinating historical events. I love fiction that both educates and entertains, so this event is definitely a must for me.

The third event I want to mention is the ‘Northern Short Story Festival Academy Showcase Featuring Naomi Booth’, which takes place on Sunday 2nd June at 1.30pm. Prizewinning writers, including new Academicians, will be participating. Earlier this year I was proud to become one of the twelve chosen to form the first intake of the NoShoSto Academy students. A strong supporter of the Academy scheme is the featured guest reader at this event, Naomi Booth, whose recent novel, ‘Sealed’, is published by Dead Ink Books.

The Festival dates ringed in purple on my calendar are coming closer. Ooh, I can’t wait.