Friday, March 25, 2011

York Talk 2011

Never say I don't love you.  Here I am at 11.15 at night.  Others are still in the bar, drinking.  Many have already staggered off to bed.  And me?  Here I am, sitting in my room at my laptop, because I promised you a live Festival blog and a Debi never breaks her promises.

Soooo - the trip up wasn't as much fun as last year when I met Whisks on the train, but that one was hard to beat.  It was enough that I arrived safely.  There's little time for taking stock while at York (or breathing, but I do try to do that whenever I remember).  So it was straight into the Developing Your Voice mini course with Emma Darwin.

Once again, I was reminded why the Emma/Debi partnership works so well.  Emma comes from a far more literary perspective and is qualified at MA level, whereas I, as was pointed out to me last year, am a 'street writer', a monicker I'm happy to accept.  The course went well, unless the participants were being very kind and generous and didn't like to hurt us; they certainly all said it had been very useful.  Voice is such a slippery thing to nail down and very hard to teach, but I hope people were telling the truth when they said the course had enabled them to see where their own narrative voices were slipping and had given them the tools for repairing any slippages.

The less said about the literary speed dating the better.  You try sitting at a table for 10 and trying to engage with everyone in a meaningful way before your 5 mins are up and they're all replaced by new people, all looking equally shell-shocked.  Now try doing it while wearing hearing aids and finding ambient noise is as loud as the voice of the person sitting next to you.

After a classy meal (yum - and best thing was I hadn't cooked it) we sat back and prepared to admire the brave souls who had entered Authonomy LIve.  Last year, you may remember the outright winner was Shelley Harris, who went on to not only get an agent, but also a two book deal with Weidenfeld & Nicolson following a bidding war.

Once again, there was little doubt about the winner, although there was a fabulous and very strong field.  Cicely Haverly won with a sparkling and very funny excerpt of her book, chronicling the sexual awakening on a young girl, set in 1953.  I have photos, but you'll have to wait.  I'm tired and working out how to get them from mobile to laptop is too much for my brain right now.
So sue me.

Right - that's all you get for tonight.  Night night, all.  See you tomorrow.

(Note to self: do NOT sleep through alarm.)


Sandie said...

Oh, I'm jealous now - was there last year but couldn't justify it again this year.

Would have loved to see Authonomy Live - I took part last year and it was pretty nerve-wracking... it'd be good to watch it from a safer position (i.e. large drink in hand).

Remember to be up early for breakfast - it's bedlam if you turn up too late!

Whisks said...

Debi, you are such a trooper - fancy blogging when you could be horizontal on the bar, sorting out the world! Sorry I wasn't on the train - I've felt wistful all day. Have a fabby time and please tickle a duck for me - the one in the plant pot by the door. Great that the workshop went well. Nice to live it vicariously through you.

Liane Spicer said...

Sounds like you're having a fabulous time, Debi. Thanks for sharing. I too feel wistful just hearing about it all.

Whisks said...

OK Debs, I'm up early on Saturday, washed, brushed and ready to go, even if I'm hundreds of miles away from York. Kind of you to share, so what are we doing today? My clipboard is ready and my pencil is sharpened. This is fun!

MarkR said...

I was at the Finding Your Voice mini and can vouch for how useful it was and how effective a team you and Emma are. Great to have such a breadth of examples and experience and lots to think about.

T'was brill - HONEST!

Debi said...

Sandie and Whisks - the only downside was the absence of certain friends from last year who couldn't make this one.

Liane - it was one of the few things worth leaving the Caribbean for, if only for a w/e.

Mark - thanks for that. So pleased it was useful.