I took time out of Charlotte Square yesterday to go and visit the Appletree Writers in one of their ‘Spoken Word Sundays’ events, which are running on three consecutive weekends during the Fringe Festival.
Formed in 2012, the Appletree Writers are a community group who support other writers through workshops, events, and publishing etc. They’re a lively bunch, as their website would suggest, and yesterday they invited writers from the Scottish Writers’ Centre to their venue set in a close (alley) just off The Royal Mile – ideally suited to all things bookish – to present a showcase of Scottish writing.
Introduced by writer and one of the directors of The Scottish Writers’ Centre, Douglas Thompson, the hour long event was thoroughly enjoyable, with the billed writers offering a delicious insight into the quality and diversity of contemporary Scottish writing.
Mary Wilson kicked things off with a selection of poetry, which was very Scottish in flavour and yet so very different in terms of its seriousness. Next, Edinburgh novelist and short story writer Vicki Jarrett read one of her stories featured in Salt Publishing’s latest Best British Short Stories anthology, giving something of an ‘East Coast’ writer’s flavour to the event.
Poet and writer Catriona Lexy Campbell followed. Originating from the Isle of Lewis, Catriona presented some of her Gaelic poems, which she delivered in both the original native tongue and in English translation (which was handy for unilingual dummies like me sitting in the audience :)). Novelist, poet and short story writer Leela Soma was next to take to the stage. Originally from Madras, Leela has lived in Glasgow for many years, and her writing reflects this, offering something of a taste of the Glaswegian/Indian multicultural experience.
Frances Corr closed the event, reading the short story that had greatly impressed the Scottish Writers’ Centre when she submitted it to their ‘Spring Speakeasy’ competition. It greatly impressed this audience too, and perhaps more so the grandfather clock that’s so omnipresent in the photos below. As Frances’ story headed towards its climax the clock seemed to tick in unison, reflecting the story’s ominous and melancholic conclusion.
I know I’ve skimmed a little here, but it’s difficult to say too much about an event that consists solely of readings. I do hope however that I’ve given you some idea of just how wide-ranging the nature of these readings were, and how polished the work of these gifted writers is.
And remember, I’m only speaking about one event here, in a series of eight that ran yesterday. I can only begin to imagine the quality of writing on show.
Furthermore, there are another two Sundays full of similar Appletree Writers readings, which all take place at the same cosy venue, while covering as equally diverse a range of subjects. Best thing you can do is go check out the programme yourself, and ticket up for an event or two. You have it from me that it’s well worth the time and effort. I’ll leave you with a few photo highlights from yesterday’s Spoken Word Sundays Scottish Writers’ Showcase event: