We support women writers living and working in the East of England * Winner of Outstanding Contribution to The Arts Award 2018; Shortlisted for the Women In Publishing New Venture Award 2015 & 2016, for Saboteur Best One-Off Event 2015 and Best Anthology 2014 *
We had a fantastic time
last night at Hot Numbers Café in Cambridge, celebrating the launch of Words And Women: Two. Many thanks to Melody
Causton for her wonderful singing and to our writers Patricia Debney, Louise Ells, Melissa Fu, Guinevere
Glasfurd-Brown, Anthea Morrison, and Lora Stimson who read their work so
brilliantly. Leigh Chambers compered and organised the event along with Anthea.
They put on a similar event for us last year and below is a blog post from that
time where Anthea describes the whole process. It’s worth a repeat because it’s
full of useful tips on how to run a reading event:
“Several months ago
Words and Women put out a call for volunteers to organize an event in Cambridge
to celebrate the launch of the Words and
Women Anthology: One. Being a strong supporter of the W&W principles of
giving women writers a voice, and always on the lookout for opportunities to
meet other writers, I put my name forward. Lynne Bryan put me in touch with
Leigh Chambers, another Cambridge W&W volunteer, and together we set the
wheels in motion.
The event, held on 3rd
June, was surprisingly easy to organise. Leigh and I are both big fans of Hot
Numbers Café here in Cambridge, and with its laid-back vibe and enthusiastic
support for the arts, it seemed the ideal venue to hold a reading.
contributors to the Anthology who live in the Cambridge area, and they were
very keen to come and read. Some of them had not read in public before, so I
sent them a link to some excellent advice I found on the Thresholds Short Story
Forum website - here is the link if you’re interested: http://blogs.chi.ac.uk/shortstoryforum/are-you-sitting-comfortably/
Once we had our readers
lined up, the next step was to publicise the event. Leigh has many contacts in
the writing world in Cambridge; she studied for her MA in Creative Writing at
Anglia Ruskin University, and she presents Bookmark, a fortnightly radio show
on Cambridge 105 featuring Cambridge-based writers. I created a flyer and we
emailed it to everyone we could think of. We put posters up around town, and
spread the word on Twitter and the W&W website.
I had a last-minute
jitters worrying that either no one would turn up or that we would be turning
people away. We had absolutely no idea how many to expect, but on the night we
had around fifty people, just the right amount for the venue. It really was a
wonderful evening. It was immensely satisfying to bring people together who
have a shared passion for writing and literature, and to see the audience
having such a good time. Of course the stars of the show were the readers, and
they all told us they enjoyed performing their work, in spite of some
Having a live musician
to play in between readings provided a perfect contrast. Polly Paulusma is an
extremely talented local folk singer, and had everyone entranced during her
songs. The Independent described her
as ‘the most literate songwriter of her generation’ and we were really lucky
that she wanted to come and support our event. I urge you to go to one of her
gigs if you ever get the chance.
Volunteering to help
organise the event turned out to be a fortuitous step for me in other ways too.
When I told Leigh that I had only recently moved to Cambridge and was looking
for a writing group, she invited me to join hers.It is exactly the kind of group I have been
looking for, and has already helped me progress with my writing.
So, thank you Words and
Women for the opportunity to get involved. And to any W&W members thinking
of organising a similar event, I would say go for it, it’s such a worthwhile
and enjoyable thing to do. I will leave you with my top tips for organising a
live music; it makes the event
venue carefully, avoiding harsh lights and echoing spaces.
intimate atmosphere with candles and low lighting
your readers know how to prepare for reading aloud
the venue has a PA system or take your own – don’t rely on readers having loud
readings to five minutes – any more and you risk losing the audience
to provide a biog in advance and introduce each one personally “