Belle Amatt, Belle Nutrition, boys and literature, Charleston, Cherry Radford, children's competitions, children's literature, Chris Bradford, creative writing, flash fiction, Hurst Festival, hurtpierpoint, Jill Hucklesby, Lonny Pop, prizes, Rattle Tales, short stories, slams, Small Wonder Festival, spoken word events, The Mint House, writing
What an inspirational few days. On Thursday I went to Hurstpierpoint to attend Loud Literature, a children’s creative writing event staged as part of Hurst Festival. It’s organisers, Belle Amatt and bookseller, Deb Hollywood did a great job getting entries from local children. They were kind enought to ask me to help with the judging. The stories and poems I read in the 12-15 category were amazing, far beyond anthing I imagined the children would produce and it was extremely hard to decide on which ones were the best. In the end they were all winners because at the event pretty much everybody who wanted to read their work (and that was nearly everyone) got a chance to and many of the stories were displayed in Hurst Library. The atmosphere was very light and supportive I and my fellow judge, Jill Hucklesby, Chris Bradford and Cherry Radford read our own work and commented on the stories read by the children, all of whom read brilliantly and very confidently. In my category I particularly liked the story from the point of view of a hunted guinea pig and a heart-wrenching long poem about a man fallen on hard times which was wise beyond the writer’s years. One of the girls, Philippa Crondwell, submitted two pieces, a poem and a short story, both of which were so good they would have done well in any adult national competition. That girl is definitely one to watch. I was also struck by how many boys entered stories and read beautifully to the audience. Boys get a bad press about writing and creativity and on Thursday that assumption was shown to be very wrong indeed. Thanks to Belle and Deb and I really hope the event happens again next year though if it does, I think you’ll need a bigger venue!
On Friday night Rattle Tales helped out at the Small Wonder Festival Slam in Charleston. Our own Lonny Pop was the host of the shovel themed competition and the rest of us were reading, judging, assisting, adding up (Countdown stylee) or just there to shake our rattles and put leaflets on every available surface! It was such a great event. For those of you who don’t know a slam involves names being pulled from a hat to decide who gets to read and we had a rather fetching red topper borrowed from my cabaret singer neighbour! Lonny couldn’t have done a better job and everyone who wanted to read did (including this very lovely 92 yr old lady) as it over ran just long enough to make sure there were no more names in the hat! I read at the Slam last year and it was a terrifying experience, but a lot can happen in a year and this time when I took to the stage (as one of the Rattle Tales scene setters) I didn’t feel nervous at all and Lonny (whose name wasn’t pulled from the hat last year) smashed it as host. Can you dig it? Yes you can!