Sunday’s jaunt for me was a drive in the sunshine, up through wonderful Durham and Northumberland countryside to Hexham, to read from Sandie Shaw and the Millionth Marvell Cooker for Rachel Cochrane at the Core Music Studio.
Rachel, a playwright and script writer, is setting up this fascinating new website, to be called ‘Listen Up North’, as a vehicle for her own plays and also as a showcase for other writers and poets in the region. Her enthusiasm for the project is infectious. At present she is just building the website, banking up segments from a whole range of writers for her archive. When it is up, Rachel’s website should interest and reflect insiders and also act as a showcase for outside individuals or institutions which might be looking for people who can write.
At this Sunday afternoon, under the eye of sound engineer Dave, my turn to read came just after poet/playwright, Sue Hedworth, had done her reading. She showed me a copy of her First World War play White Poppies (published by Heinemann) and talked of her poetry and her other play about Ann Frank. And then, after me, came writer John Murray. Rachel seems to be creating a procession of writers.
In reading my fifteen minute extract I learned a great deal.I learned that reading to record is really hard – very different to reading out in public. I learned how clever must be actresses who do this for a living. (I am now even more grateful to Anne Dover who so brilliantly reads my novels in the audio and CD versions.) I also learned how important breathing is to be able to do this task well. I have to say that as a breathe-er I’m a very good writer!
That being said, Dave the engineer and Rachel the director were very kind and supportive. And I survived to write another day…
And Rachel offered grapes and juice. And sandwiches.
Rachel and this Listen Up North will be something to watch out for…
From Hexham Book Festival Programme:
Wednesday 29th April
7 - 8pm – Wendy Robertson
The short story is suddenly in vogue! This month Wendy Robertson’s contemporary short story collection ‘Knives’ is launched at the same time as her historical novel Sandie Shaw and The Millionth Marvell Cooker. Wendy considers the unique charms and challenges of writing short stories in contrast to long project of the novel .
1. £2.50 2.