This was my road in Lewes, UK, at three o’clock this morning. No much going on but that was OK because I was on my way to bed after a highly entertaining evening in London where I’d been to a reading by two Irish writers, a poet and a novelist, both published by the publisher of my soon-to-be-published novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love.
I love to go to these writer events because, as I wrote yesterday, the business of writing is a solitary and often intense experience only undertaken by a particular type of person and not always understood by people who don’t get a kick out of spending hours absorbed in mental puzzles alone at a computer keyboard for hours at a time.
I am lucky to have Ward Wood Publishing http://www.wardwoodpublishing.co.uk/ as my publisher because not only does it do a great job but it is also small enough to be personal. Over the last year, I have meet a number of the other Ward Wood writers but last night was the largest gathering so far when six of us sat around a table with some wine talking and telling stories in the way that writers do. It was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t feel that I was that odd after-all. When the readings, highly enjoyable, were done, we retired downstairs to the bar and a fine old writers’ conversation began which was fueled with wine but not drowned in it. I did however end up on the last night train feeling that the journey has been more than worthwhile, it marked the beginning of a feeling of belonging to what really does feel like a family of Ward Wood writers. It is strange how well we all seem to get on – I think that is due to the personality of Adele Ward, herself, who chooses everyone on her list and who seems to have gathered together a group of writers who don’t go in for competitive one-up-manship but who enjoy talking about the crazy thing called writing.
I’m pleased to confirm, by the way, that I may feel a bit tired today but I have no hang-over apart from the pleasant glow of a night well spent.
So these were my companions from last night:
The event was in honour of Ward Wood’s two Irish writers.
Noel Duffy, the poet and author of an award-winning poetry collection, In The Library Of Lost Objects, who manages to communicate vividly intelligible thoughts with imagery inspired by insects, myths and physics without losing a scientific ignoramus like me.
and novelist, Shauna Gilligan whose novel, Happiness Comes From Nowhere has received, as they say, glowing reviews. I’m not surprised. Her book is an ingenious collection of short stories around a few central characters that builds into something substantial, full of insight and humour.
It was great to hear them reading from their own work in the elegant environment of the London Irish Club and it was doubly enjoyable sitting in a row with other Ward Wood writers too.
Joe Stein, author of Ward Wood’s Garron crime series, an ex-boxer who shares my interest in things martial
and poet Peter Phillips whose collection No School Tie is full of his characteristic wit and phlegmatic humour and who has become a friend now that we both read at the monthly Camden/Lumen Poetry meetings.
and of course, Adele Ward, herself, publisher, yes, but who is also a poet and novelist and, I feel, a friend.