When Altrincham resident Anne Earley, an events manager and marketeer, met printmaker and artist Yoko Isami while helping out at a local art festival, the pair discovered a shared compulsive disorder – an inability to stop reading. So when they started thinking about putting on a literature festival in their home town, they agreed that they fancied inviting along authors to encourage attendees to read, but they also decided that their event would have its own USP – to invite along authors to encourage attendees to also write.
So as well as listening to some of the most talented writing experts in the North West, the first-ever Altrincham Word Fest (supported by Altrincham Unlimited, Altrincham’s Business Improvement District) is inviting you to learn from them, and there and then put pen to paper. With various workshops to choose from, by the end of the two-hour hands-on session, you should have your own mini masterpiece to show for it – something to share, perhaps, something to take home and hone, maybe, but definitely something that’s yours.
Any piece of writing, from a haiku to an Eleanor Catton doorstopper of a novel, needs at least one character, and playwright Sarah Cassidy, who creates scripts for stage, screen and radio, should know! In her workshop she’ll give you a series of exercises to help create an emotionally engaging character that you can develop for whatever format or genre you fancy. Also on Sunday 13 May, poet Seamus Kelly is leading a workshop for for young people aged 14 to 18, The Stories We Could Tell (£5.83 inc booking fee; Open Studios), plus an open mic night on Thursday 24 May. His workshop for adults, The Power Of Poetry, takes place on Saturday 26 May at 2pm at Coco’s, when he’ll be sharing some of his favourite poems and you’ll have the chance to pen your own. Next day, prolific writer (four short story collections with Salt Publishing, two novels and one graphic novel, The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head, just out) and ‘Godfather of Flash Fiction’ David Gaffney will be providing plenty of inspiration for you to come up with a short-short story – his own ‘Sawn-off Tales’ are no longer than 150 words.
If you’d prefer to try your hand at non-fiction, you could do worse than sign up to Kate Feld’s masterclass on Saturday 12 May. Kicking off the festival, she’ll be revealing all about life writing and personal narrative (she’s one-half of the team behind The Real Story), and getting you to bring your own life story to the page. Meanwhile, women’s life coach and content creator Kat Horrocks (pictured) and lifestyle blogger Pamela Higgins (aka SpamellaB), will be at Altrincham Word Fest from the #WeBlogNorth social media influencers network and the Northern Blog Awards, and you’re invited to An Evening With Paul Carroll: Self-publisher Extraordinaire at Pi Bar, to hear more about another way to get those precious words out into the world.
Unless specified, all workshops take place at altspace and start at 1.30pm, and cost £11.07 including a booking fee. See the Altrincham Word Fest link for full details of all events and venues.