A quick end-of-the-month round up of non-fiction comings and goings.
Stranger Than Fiction May 2014
At our May session yesterday we discussed extracts from James McCarthy’s military memoir, rich story-telling about a forgotten African campaign of the fading British Empire. It prompted discussion about the need (or not) for context, both for non-fiction writing in general and for STF submissions. It can be hard to judge an extract without it; and the issue of how to cover background information without interrupting the narrative is a perennial topic at STF. As readers of extracts we sometimes need to be reassured that the author intends to answer our questions elsewhere in his or her book.
Last night we celebrated our 4th anniversary. Stranger Than Fiction was launched on 19th May 2010 when Gillian Jack, Sharon Whyte, Helen Caldwell and Richard Beatty met in the Meadow Bar on Buccleugh Street. Since then we’ve had 40 meetings, and discussed 30 pieces of non-fiction work in progress from 20 authors, many of them still regulars with the group. Last night we raised a glass to Stranger Than Fiction in our 4th home, the Doric Bar on Market Street. Thanks to everyone who has submitted their work to feedback from their peers over the years, and to everyone who has supported them with positive constructive criticism and analysis. We are all here for each other.
Stranger Than Fiction June and July 2014
We go into our fifth year in great form, with an expanding and articulate membership! The universal view last night was that the Doric Bar will suit our purposes very well, so for the foreseeable future we will carry on meeting there. Our next meeting, upstairs in its wine bar, is on Thursday 19th June 2014; and then again on Thursday 24th July 2014. If you would like some feedback on your current non-fiction project, there is still room in both sessions, so get in touch and book a slot.
Edinburgh Literary Salon
If Stranger Than Fiction isn’t enough to satisfy your gregarious literary self, there’s always the Edinbrugh Literary Salon, a larger gathering from all walks of literary life – illustrators, poets, publishers, novelists, literary consultants, booksellers and even non-fiction authors. The next Salon is next Tuesday 27th May 2014. “Salon” makes it sound very grand, but it isn’t – it’s just a networking evening in a pub, 6-11pm in the Wash Bar on the Mound. I’ll be there from around 7pm, and hope to run into some fellow STFers. There are similar monthly events in Glasgow (Weegie Wednesday) and Inverness (the Highland Literary Salon). The Edinburgh Salon starts with short keynote speeches at around 6.30pm, and there is vague talk of a non-fiction themed evening in the future. If anyone has any suggestions of what form that might take, get in touch.
See you next week or next month; and as ever, good luck with all your non-fiction writing.