Having spent yesterday afternoon attending a captivating author talk by Sarah Jasmon at Swindon Central Library, I then spent my evening meeting three more authors in the City of Bath. Organised by the Bath Short Story Award, An Evening of Readings was held in the Gallery Room of the St James Wine Vaults, a friendly pub situated in the streets behind the famous Royal Crescent. The size of the room dictated that this was going to be an intimate event, and great fun it was too.
Opening proceedings was Rachel Heath, who had stepped in at the last minute to replace an unwell Tania Hershman. Rachel read to us from two of her books, and I have now added ‘The Finest Type of Englishwomen’ to my wish list. I loved the pictures painted by the prose which came to life when given the author’s voice. This is what makes these author readings so special.
Next up was Sarah Hilary, a crime fiction author I have been happy to cheer on from the sidelines for some time. I have watched her well deserved, increasing success with pleasure, but had not yet managed to meet her in person. She read from both her books, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ and ‘No Other Darkness’, giving life to the dark themes at which she excels. I noted details in the passages chosen which I had missed in my eagerness to turn the page and find out what happened next. Writers work so hard to craft beautiful sentences. It is a shame that some can be overlooked when a story is as compelling as these.
Last to read was Paul McVeigh whose debut novel, ‘The Good Son’, I recently enjoyed so much. Paul entertained us to great effect, becoming for a time his eleven year old protagonist, Mickey Donnelly. Unfortunately my camera failed to capture a decent image of him reading as he is quite the showman.
Between authors the organisers ensured that the audience were well supplied with a selection of nibbles, while the bar was never far away to quench our thirst.
With readings complete the three authors took seats at the front to answer questions. What ensued was a good deal of amusing banter, feeling more like a friendly conversation amongst friends than a formal Q&A.
At the end of the evening there were books to buy, and a chance for me to introduce myself. Paul is to be commended for working out who I was, despite the chicken avatar I hide behind on Twitter. I was amazed to discover that he is old enough to remember our shared hometown during the period in which his book is set. He claims he uses good moisturiser and I now want to know the brand.
Did I mention that Sarah Jasmon was also in the audience? I couldn’t resist getting all four authors together for a picture.
My thanks to the Bath Short Story Award for organising such an enjoyable evening. Any writers wishing to submit a story for their consideration should check out these details: