18 May 2010

A moment of fiction #2

Just over a month ago, I collated various information that had been gathering in my dusty brain and treated you to a round-up of all the writing groups, creative zines and general literary wotnot going on in the Rainy City. Since then, I've found out about even more and also have a few wee updates.

Firstly, tonight sees writing group Bad Language gather for their monthly meeting at Nexus from 6pm. Dan and the gang were mentioned in the aforementioned April post, but apart from drawing your attention to their shiny new website, I also need to amend a slight error in the information about submissions: as well as accepting poetry of 40 lines max, BL take short stories, but they should be 2,000 words max, not 200. That would just be silly.

However, not silly at all is a short story of 330 words. See that makes sense. Just ask the lovely Tom Mason, who is behind new venture 330 Words (previous collaborative exploits set up by Tom have included November In Manchester). Everything you need to know about how to contribute is explained here, but, in a nutshell, you take a snap of something that grabs your fancy, use it to inspire a 330-word work of flash fiction then send both words and picture to 330words@gmail.com. Not surprisingly, Words & Fixtures was instantly attracted by the concept of words and pictures, and rustled up a contribution. ("Humour" and "romance" wouldn't have been my choice for tags for the piece, but this has intrigued me, so I'd be pleased to hear other people's thoughts.)

Back to AMOF#1 a minute, and you may remember we were wondering why the Unsung peeps had been so quiet and, er, unsung. Turns out they've been really busy squirrelling away at making a festival! The big day is Saturday 29 May and is hosted by the Contact Theatre. Just like the free bi-monthly magazine it takes its name from, the Unsung Festival celebrates the best local artistic talent in unprejudiced poetry, prose and non-fiction, and includes spoken word, exhibitions and live music. Tickets are £12 (£10 concs).

Also at the Contact Theatre, but this weekend (22 May) not next, is a free workshop for theatremakers called Pen-ultimate, from 2pm to 4pm. Meanwhile, every Monday (except bank hols), the Contact holds free Scriptworks workshops from 5.45pm-8pm with actors helping potential playwrights see how their work would translate to the stage. Email scriptworks@heaven.co.uk for more.

Not to be outdone, the Royal Exchange Theatre holds Writers Exchange, a free monthly group for local scriptwriters to discuss their work, hear from guest speakers and provide each other with support, encouragement, advice and maybe sherry (I don't know - I just made that bit up). All writers are welcome, experienced or otherwise, and you won't be turned away if you haven't quite got around to writing that play yet. If you’d like to join Writers Exchange, email jo.combes@royalexchange.co.uk to find out the date and time of the next get-together.

Now, if you're more of a prose writer, but you're feeling a bit left out as you're coming in somewhat from the leftfield, maybe the Speculative Fiction Writing Group is for you. After a successful inaugural discussion, a regular event has been fixed in the Madlab diary, and the next meeting is chalked up for 2 June between 7pm and 9pm. Between them, the group will be working along the lines of science fiction, weird fiction, slipstream, horror and fantasy.

Finally, If P Then Q are looking for experimental poetry submissions for upcoming books and projects. They are also prolific at arranging readings, mainly at the Old Abbey Inn (which, upon further investigation, appears not to be the Kro in the Computer Centre building as originally thought but this one), but also occasionally elsewhere. The next elsewhere date is Wednesday 23 June from 6.30pm at Odder on Oxford Road, and it's free to get in.

Just so you know, A Moment Of Fiction may well become a regular feature and will be back soon with an edition on zines and another with details of a few writing groups I've heard about outside Manchester. If you have anything you'd like mentioned, just drop me a line at sarahclareconlon@gmail.com

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