Being a Creative Writing MA student opens a lot of doors that weren’t otherwise available, and one of those many doors takes the form of fascinating local displays and events for emerging writers.
One of such events was enjoyed by myself, two peers and our tutor as we ventured out to Leicester. After having previously been to the BBC Writer’s Room event at the same place, we were excited to return and hopefully make some fascinating discoveries about the road to publication and all sorts of avenues open to us as new writers in an otherwise tricky market.
Needless to say, the event did not disappoint.
It was any book lover’s dream; upon walking into the designated building on Leicester’s DeMontfort campus, we were greeted by stall after stall of books. Not only fiction, either. There was a lot of poetry and short stories and novellas to accompany the typical fiction novel on offer.
Not only were there books, but there were talks to attend on various engaging aspects of publication and genre.
We first attended Mantle Lane Press’s reading, in which three of their latest authors read excerpts from their work in a dynamic and engaging show of craftsmanship (Night Swimming, Kaleidoscope, A Fry Cry). Finding out that there was a small publisher which tended to deal in more diverse forms was exciting, and everybody present were very eager to answer our various questions, alongside taking contact details for any future opportunities.
Next came a talk from Josephine Fletcher, a children’s author who talked about her bizarre publishing experience with her latest work, ‘Gambledad’. She gave some very fascinating insight into working in children’s fiction, and the sorts of obstacles that writers have to traverse lately with a large change in the schooling system.
And to wrap it all up, we attended the talk given by a budding new publisher, Grimalkin. The way they described it, Grimalkin is ‘a publisher for otherwise unwanted forms of fiction’. Anything ‘weird’ and ‘strange’, as well as anything that a writer isn’t typically identified with after getting published in something else, and they hope to be able to get it out into the world. We exchanged ghost stories and discussed that bookshops were, in many ways, liminal spaces.
Before all of this, I made some wonderful acquaintances by way of the Inspired Quill company; a small independent organisation that worked to locate and promote brand new writers as their main objective. Through them, I proceeded to meet Rod Duncan, a wonderful fellow who will be soon coming to Loughborough University to talk to us about fiction writing and his own work.
After spending a large chunk of my money on emerging writers’ books, I truly came to realise something after bidding everybody a cheerful farewell. Perhaps more so than in any industry that I can think of, we all look out for one another and cheer each other on. At least, that’s what the good writers do. Promoting each other’s work and doing our utmost to have our fellow writers succeed is all part of the process, and the community is honestly marvellous to behold.
All in all, a truly magnificent day, and yet another stone laid on my path to becoming a writer myself.