picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

A short video about the Creative Future Literary Awards evening at the Free Word Centre last September. I appear right at the start, talking about marginalised writers.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

Image by Stella Wisdom

With the theatre’s lights back on, I spotted my boyfriend at the back with a brasilian friend: they had arrived just in time to hear me read.

I said goodbye to the poet Fergus Evans – the Awards’ project manager – and decamped to a pub next door.

Five pints in hand, conversation bloomed over literary nights – long gone and in our future – and the impossibility of owning a home in London (that inescapable topic.) I promised them I’d wear contact lenses if I ever did a reading again; I promised myself I’d read all of my work aloud from now on.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
Reading from "Walkmen" at Creative Future Literary Awards last night.

The first two rows were reserved for the finalists and judges.

One by one we were called on stage by Lemn Sissay, our names projected behind us. Every writer was so comfortable on stage, as if they’d done it many times before.

Finally, it was my turn. I walked up and gingerly thanked the audience. I read Walkmen. When I lifted my head for the first time, glasses slipping down my nose, I was surprised by the attentive faces. I even intentionally drew a laugh towards the end.

“Well done,” fellow finalists said amidst the applause when I re-joined them.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
Impossible Things, the anthology with my short "Walkmen", plus some other goodies from last night (a postcard from writer Maggie Gee, a card from @neenaw59 and a free course with Creative Future.)

We returned to the Free Word Centre’s reception area for a short champagne-flavoured intermission.

Maggie Gee carried envelopes with all finalists names on them, mine on top. Inside, a postcard of a black cat and two men on a canoe carried her impressions of my story.

Friends soon arrived: [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos and [livejournal.com profile] neenaw – two published authors who had thanked me in their books – and an acquaintance who I jokingly requested represent her workplace, the British Library, at my reading.

The third lucky charm, my boyfriend, wasn’t there by the time we were ushered back inside the theatre for the finalists’ readings.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

Image by Emma Logie

Origami birds covered one of the walls of the Free Word Centre’s lecture theatre.

The judges stood on stage, calling us one by one to receive a copy of the anthology Impossible Things and a congratulatory plaque. We smiled at hired photographers.

The poet Lemn Sissay hosted the evening with support from writer Maggie Gee. We were disarmed. One finalist, Brummie Tina Freeth, had studied in university with an old friend of mine from Hong Kong. One poet confided to me that they had been drinking since 11am.

Tall ones like myself stood at the back for the group photo.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
Reception for Creative Future's Literary Awards 2015, one week ago today. #cflitawards

A week ago I stood alone outside the Free Word Centre in Farringdon. Creative Future’s Literary Awards ceremony was about to take place inside and I was one of 12 finalists.

“Impossible Things” was this year’s theme. Impossible was what I used to think whenever someone asked my feelings on reading my fiction in public.

Glass of champagne in hand, I travelled the reception room reading the winning pieces up on white boards. One finalist, a writer from Northern Ireland, gave me a life-saving tip: “read slowly”.

When they ushered us into the small theatre, I sat beside him.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
I’m one of 12 finalists attending tomorrow’s Creative Future Literary Awards ceremony in London.

Last night, I asked my boyfriend what it was like to perform on stage to an audience. I’ve never done it myself; the impending reading makes slightly nervous.

Over a year ago, he self-published a graphic novel with the help of Kickstarter (and tons of supportive friends and family.) He held the launch in a music venue in London, read on stage and even performed with a masked band and backing singers.

“Remember that they are all on your side,” he reassured me in the dark.


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