We in the collective (Flash Mob, not Borg) are pretty darn excited about Not Part Of (and also, obviously, MIF). We're so excited, in fact, that, not only are we co-hosting the Flash Language Literary Quiz (see previous post), we've also gone and signed ourselves up for the craziest writing project, like, ever (OK, well, maybe not quite ever). Running in conjunction with the Re-Covering exhibition - for which 40 local and international artists (from my Chorlton mate's hubby Nick Jordan to the likes of David Shrigley) have redesigned famous book covers - is The Reading.
The Reading is a multiple writers’ residency with the aim of creating a ‘textured text’. Since Friday 17 June, 72 writers have been collaborating on a narrative (story, play, poem, script, diary, commentary, essay, even lyrics) that will reach its conclusion on Sunday 31 July. Each contributor has two-and-a-half to three hours in which to write a text for inclusion in a publication, along with two contextual essays, to be edited by Matthew Frost from Manchester University Press (and Manchester Literature Festival). Writers work on a laptop in the Untitled Gallery where the creative process is projected live. It's also streamed online* and displayed in real-time in various venues, including Cornerhouse, CUBE, Chinese Arts Centre, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, The Reading Room Collection and MMU Library. The start point for each contributor is the final paragraph of the previous writer’s entry, and the work can be influenced by the gallery environment, the show’s artworks, the flow of visitors and 'your own fevered imagination'.
Some of our friends and acquaintances are taking part: Bad Language regulars Shirley Kernan, Guy Garrud and Nija Dalal, short story writer Claire Massey, poet Adrian Slatcher and For Books' Sake chum Alex Herod, for starters. Then there's horror writer Conrad Williams (Thursday 7 July, 12-3pm) immediately followed by flash fiction fiend David Gaffney (3-6pm), crime novelist Nicholas Royle (Saturday 9 July, 12-3pm) and Salt author Robert Graham (Saturday 23 July, 12-3pm).
Out of the Flash gang, on Thursday 14 July, David Hartley (12-3pm) picks up a paragraph from poet Anna Percy then passes one straight on to me (3-6pm); then on Thursday 21 July it’s Benjamin Judge (12-3pm) and on Friday 22 July Fat Roland (12-3pm), with experimental poet James Davies sandwiched between (Thursday 21 July, 3-6pm).
There are seven** slots currently still available towards the end of July. Get signed up!
*Actually, that's not true. Katie at Untitled said: "Unfortunately we weren't able to produce a live stream for the website due to technical problems, although there is a recording of the first day of the residency at http://www.artdes.mmu.ac.uk/recovering/"
**Actually, four on Thursday 30 June.