We are going to have to do something with the Bear & Billet public house in Chester. It’s a fine black and white tudor-style building, five floors, re-built 300 years ago. Our meetings of the Chester Writers is every third thursday of the month on the third floor. Of course there are mullioned windows, beamed ceilings and an air of historical provenance. What could be more inspiring to discusss our poetry and prose? A problem brought our Chester Literary Festival event there to several halts last night. Other literary events took place in the capacious Town Hall, university lecture theatres, theatres, hotels and the cathedral. We, like Chester poets, were in a room smaller than most classrooms, in an active public house and a very loud party going on the floor beneath! Arrrggh. We had a sound system with two microphones but even that couldn’t overcome the raucous guffaws from below. Then last night were three literary events competing. If I wasn’t reading an excerpt of Exit, Pursued by a Bee, and supporting fellow local writers, I would ran across town to the university to hear Professor Alan Wall’s lecture Creative and Destructive Writing. I dunno why because I could have made a stab at giving that lecture myself!
In spite of the competition our little room filled to bursting even though much of the readings became inaudible. I was second to last, but only George had slunk off home by then. I had a dilemma on whether to read a literary 5-minute moment such as when journalist Tabitha Wish fought her hissing saucepans and dependent family in order to grab a coup scoop on the spheres, or my favourite scene. One of the advantages of writing science fiction is that we can play with time warp concepts such as making a modern youth appear in front of a man and his dog, Kur, 20, 000 years ago. So I read the latter and made sure my words boomed over the party noises. In fact I think the party stopped to listen. Hah, as if. Several of the group came up to me and said how much they enjoyed my five minutes.
You can read the actual words I used in the five minute reading here
The problem was, I’d forgotten to mention my book signing coming up! In case I’ve not mentioned it I am signing Exit, Pursued by a Bee at
34 Coliseum Way, Cheshire Oaks, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
If you or your friends and family live near by please ask them to drop buy on Sunday afternoon, November 16th.