What a weekend!

I love it when days become wholly writerly – and that can be days when I have the house to myself and nothing happens but total immersion in the current novel or short story so that I drift around, leaving cups of tea to get cold in unlikely places as I scribble down dialogue or fit together to events that have to take place for my story to develop.

Or it can be days like Saturday, when I taught a frenetic masterclass on Writing Fiction to get Published in a single hour, to the combined talents of The Hatchery and Comedy of Errors, the two writing groups that meet at Hove Library, and then went on a couple of hours later to meet Shaun Levin, who’d been teaching a more leisurely session on Literary Voice at the Jubilee Library.

Shaun is mate, a fantastic writer, and an editor to die for. He publishes Chroma - a magazine I recommend to anybody who loves good fiction and great pictures. And, although he’s often eaten take-away food from Bill’s over the years, he’s never actually been there, so it was my privilege to introduce him to Brighton’s finest eatery.

We talked without stopping for a couple of hours: Shaun had an insight into South African literature which he’s going away to ponder (and I’m not sharing it with you, even though I think he’s come up with something very interesting about what shapes the writing of South Africans) and I got a glimpse of something about the relative density of landscapes (Europe – porous, Australia – dense) that is something like a metaphor for the novel I’m working on, and is going to be fantastically useful in exploring the two locations in which the novel is set. Shaun had the lemon tart topped with figs and I had the berry pavlova with nuggets of white chocolate in its base, and – as usual – I forget to take any pictures of the food! However, I did prevail on the lady sitting next to us to take this picture, so Shaun and the newly-shorn can be seen together (that’s a play on words that I’m not quite ashamed enough of making to edit out) for the first time!

Friends who write are a gift greater than rubies ...

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