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Books Talk Back are literary events which support and
showcase new writing. Founder, Isabelle King, talks about the process of
setting up Books Talk Back and the forthcoming event at Norwich Arts Centre,
March 7th, 6-7pm with Guest Author Eliza Robertson.
idea for Books Talk Back was sparked when I became interested in creative writing
but realised that, whilst I enjoyed the creativity, I didn’t have any idea
about how one would go about pursuing writing as a career. I didn’t have a
background in creative writing or the ability to fund myself on a creative
I thought it would be helpful
for aspiring authors to hear from published writers first-hand about their
experiences of literary agents, publishing and the writing process. It also
struck me that another helpful aspect for writers in a similar position to me
would be to gain constructive feedback on their writing. From this I developed
the idea of a small pre-selected panel of aspiring authors reading an extract
of their unpublished work to the published author and audience of guests, and then
receive feedback from both.
Books Talk Back was only going to be a one-off evening! I had never run an
event before but I often find the best way to do things is to throw yourself
in! I decided to host an event in my local pub in South Ealing where I lived at
the time as I had both worked in and frequented the pub, so was familiar with the
surroundings. The Rose and Crown provided a lovely, warm atmosphere for the
event. Naomi Wood was the perfect guest author, having recently released her
debut novel ‘The Godless Boys’ from which she shared insight and ideas and
inspiration for aspiring authors. In addition to hosting, I read as one of the
aspiring authors on the panel which I found genuinely very helpful and the
experience helped me to pick out a time period for my novel based on some
feedback I received.
was lovely to gain positive feedback about the event from the participants and
audience. In particular, people enjoyed the intimate, interactive aspect of the
event and the fact that they could ask questions throughout.
Since my first event, Books
Talk Back has gained support and sponsorship from The British Library where I
have hosted two non-profit events. In total, I have run five non-profit Books
Talk Back events in London and Norwich in which guest authors have included Tracy
Chevalier, Hayley Long and Jamie Rhodes.
I really enjoy the pub events
– I believe a pub atmosphere helps keep everything relaxed, informal and fun.
The March 7th
event at Norwich Arts Centre is set to be a fun one! I’m truly delighted that
Eliza Roberston will be guest author. Eliza’s debut book ‘Wallflowers’ is a
remarkable short story collection of beautiful, haunting, edgy tales. I’m very
excited to hear what she has to say about her creative writing process. Philippa
Found’s work will be critiqued on the evening. She recently studied on the UEA MA creative writing course and her short
story ‘Ice-Cream’ was long-listed for the Words And Women prose competition.
I’m particularly thrilled
that this event will be part of Words And Women fifth anniversary celebration.
Words And Women are a fantastic platform for female writers in the region;
their supportive ethos, enthusiasm and passion for new writers has helped me,
not only with hosting Books Talk Back events, but with my own writing which has
been highly commended for their prose competition – a very exciting opportunity
for me to showcase my work! Opportunities such as this remind me why I love
Books Talk Back – the events keep me on my toes, keep me learning, keep me
reading and of course, writing. Most of all, I have enjoyed meeting new writers
and making friends along the way.
I look forward to meeting
lots of new writers, readers and literary enthusiasts on March 7th!
Attending Books Talk Back is like sitting down with a bunch of close
literary-loving friends you didn't even know you had.
– guest and participant at various Books Talk Back events
Back was a unique experience, public and intimate at the same time, warmly held
together by Isabelle and a generous feedback forum for the writer. It was a valuable help to me in
writing my novel
Greenwood – Participant at Books Talk Back
Isabelle King is an
actress, writer and producer. She’s the founder of Books Talk Back; literary
events which support and showcase new writing talent. Isabelle's writing has
been short-listed for the Ideas/Writers' Centre Norwich national fiction
competition and she won an arts journalism competition to be the Embedded Writer
at the Family Arts Conference 2015. Isabelle has written a children's book of
short stories and frequently reads them at family events throughout
Robertson was born in Vancouver and grew up on Vancouver
Island. She attended the creative writing programs at the University of
Victoria and the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2011 Man
Booker Scholarship. Her first collection, Wallflowers,
was shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award, the
Danuta Gleed Short Story Prize, the East Anglia Book Award, and selected as a
New York Times Editor's Choice. In 2015, she was named by Joseph Boyden as one
of five emerging writers for the Writers' Trust Five x Five program. She lives
Philippa Found studied
History of Art at the University of Warwick and graduated with a Masters in
Creative Writing (Prose) from the University of East Anglia in 2015. Previously
she worked as a curator and director of a London art gallery where she curated
the likes of Tracey Emin and Cecily Brown, and wrote a non-fiction collection,
which was nominated for the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Prize,
2011. She is currently completing her first collection of short stories.
Philippa’s short stories have been long-listed in the Galley Beggar Press
Short Story Prize 2015/16, the Words & WomenProse
Competition2015, and have been published byGalley
Beggar Press, NewWriting.net,and shortly
will be published by the London Journal of Fiction.
Our fifth anniversary
celebration take place on the 7th March at the Norwich Arts Centre.
There will be music and comedy, the launch of ouranthology Words
And Women:Three all in support of future Words And Women projects and the
charity Women for Refugee Women. Tickets cost £5 and are available from NAC.
There is also a free book event called Books Talk Back in the bar on the same
evening, starting at 6pm. The writers reading on
the night include Sarah Evans, the winner of our prose competition, and five of
the highly commended whose names and biographies can be found below. Their work
is included in our anthology, published by Unthank Books.Emma Healey, the author of the best-selling novel Elisabeth Is Missing, and guest judge of the competition will
introduce the readings.
SarahEvans has had over a hundred stories
published in anthologies, magazines and online, with outlets including: the
Bridport Prize, Unthank Books, Lighthouse, Structo and Best New Writing. She
has won a number of short story prizes, including the Winston Fletcher Prize,
the Stratford Literary Festival Prize, the Glass Woman Prize, the Fylde Writers’ Circle Prize and the Rubery Prize. She has also had work performed in
London, Hong Kong and New York.
Victoria Hattersley lives in Norwich,
works in publishing and has a six year-old daughter. She began writing in 2013
and has had stories published in Unthology
6 by Unthank Books (Norwich) and Before
Passing by Great Weather for MEDIA (New York). In addition to writing short
stories, she is currently working on her first novel, The Lantern Man.
Isabelle King is an actress,
writer and producer. She’s the founder of Books Talk Back; literary events
which support and showcase new writing talent. Isabelle's writing has been
short-listed for the Ideas/Writers' Centre Norwich national fiction competition
and she won an arts journalism competition to be the Embedded Writer at the
Family Arts Conference 2015. Isabelle has written a children's book of short
stories and frequently reads them at family events throughout Norfolk.
Margaret Meyeris a writer,
therapeutic counsellor and bibliotherapist. She has worked in schools, museums,
and is currently a reader-in-residence in the prison service. Before training
in psychology she was a fiction editor with Hodder & Stoughton NZ,
publisher for the Museum of London, and director of literature for the British
Council, promoting UK writers around the world.A former journalist, Margaret’s non-fiction has been widely published.
Her latest, an essay on ‘not knowing’, is included in the forthcoming The Wisdom of Not Knowing, published by
her job as a social worker to study storytelling. She won the internationally
acclaimed Moth True Stories Told Live in 2014 and appeared on Radio 4 in 2015
to talk about storytelling. More recently, Glenys has become involved in
volunteering with refugees as the ever increasing humanitarian crisis spreads
through the lands. Glenys will be touring with a performance of refugee stories
Reddis in her second year of a PhD in creative and critical writing at the
University of East Anglia. She has recently completed a draft of her first
novel, Vore, a darkly comic dystopia, and is currently halfway through a
second, Bodeg, which is set on a fictional island in the Arctic Circle.
join us for what promises to be a great night. We’ll post more info about the
other performers in the next few days, plus details about BooksTalkBack. In the
meantime take a look at our dedicated blog page IWD16 for further details.