a spoooooky (not really) Halloween post

This week, I've finished a job in one bookshop and gained a (part-time) job in another one; written copious notes for NaNoWriMo (tell me I'm not insane for doing this again, and also, tell me I'll finish it this time); raced through a few of the books that have been stacking up on the bedroom floor; been to Elizabeth Baines' book launch (top night!); ate fried chicken with a couple of lunatics, and got stuck outside my flat for half an hour yesterday because some daft bastard stubbed a fag out in a smoke detector in the hall and the fire brigade had to come out.  Nice.  I did make friends with some neighbour-children who were already in their pyjamas at this stage, and probably quite cold, and I kept thinking, damn, I wish I was in my pyjamas now.  And then soon enough I was able to go back inside and make that dream a reality!  Sadly (though, financially, fortunately) I'll re-enter the working world on Monday and there'll be no more pyjama days.  I could swing pyjama mornings, though, given the shift pattern, so that's a goal to work towards.  That, and getting this draft down on paper by the end of November.  If anyone else is doing NaNo, do add me as a 'buddy'; my name there is ValerieO.

Last Sunday I did my last shift for the Manchester Literature Festival, helping out at the Rainy City Stories panel discussion on writing about place.  Jenn Ashworth, Nicholas Royle and Clare Dudman each read from their work, and then Nick chaired a discussion between the three of them about place and what it means to them as writers.  That was another Top Event, and it's made me think about the way I'm using place in my WIP.  I even have some notes jotted down on a card slotted into my poor, battered notebook.  

I had a flu jab today, and I believe it's a legal requirement to eat Ben + Jerry's after you have an injection.  So I'm going to do that now.  Happy (early) Halloween, internets! And happy (two days early) birthday to my Dublin homie who's soon heading off to live in far away places and who'll be a disenfranchised homie if she doesn't stop threatening to buy me all the seriously sick-making thingummies she finds on Etsy.  Dude, you know who you are. 

look here

While I run out to watch Benjamin Judge (who the fudge...?) pitch his novel to a crowd of critical strangers, you guys pop over here and read my review of John Siddique's poetry workshop last Sunday.

more litterachewer

My review of Lionel Shriver's reading at the Manchester Literature Festival last week is up on the official blog.

On Monday, I volunteered at the Heidi Thomas event which was jointly run by the Lit Fest and BBC's Writer's Room.  Heidi's a scriptwriter who started off writing for the theatre; the event was a Q&A and very interesting altogether, and though the programmes she's worked on aren't entirely to my taste - Cranford is one - I did find myself leaving with my appetite whetted. Maybe I'll watch me some costume drama soon.

Yesterday was the Manchester Blog Awards - my friends Fat Roland and Holly Ringland were up for Best Writing On A Blog and Best Personal Blog respectively - not to mention the dynamo that is Benjamin Judge, up for a million awards and also performing again this coming Saturday at Is There A Novelist In The House?  Anyway, it all kicked off with Ben, Dave Hartley and Sarah-Clare Conlon reading pieces that they'd had published on 330 Words, one of the other nominated blogs, and then Chris Killen read a Choose Your Own Adventure short story about a blind date, and it was creepy and hilarious. Then the winners were announced. The full list is on the website, but at our table we were all very excited to see Fat Roland carry away the gong for Best Writing AND he was joint winner of Blog of the Year! There was much celebration, I can tell you that, and I'm very tired today to prove it.  Yay, Fat Roland!  And a big hurray for all the other winners and runners-up; the event was excellent and the venue was perfect and fine fun was had by all.

Tomorrow I'm off to see John Siddique read and then (after work) to the pub to celebrate my last day at work. Anyone want to give me a job? I'm good at reading and writing and associated tasks. Go on.

a week full of litterachewer

So, the 2010 Manchester Literature Festival is all in our faces and happening and hiding behind every corner so there's no escape.  I've been doing my bit to help it along, and I feel nice and arty as a result.  Last Thursday we had the launch of the Bugged anthology, and I read my little story in front of a packed room, which was very cool. Lots of very talented people were there too, and there's a write-up on the Festival blog so head on over there for a more in-depth run-down.  Aside from the fun of taking part, I was especially pleased to meet Jo Bell and Emma Lannie and Jenn Ashworth's very own McTiny who was very professional when it was his turn on stage.  Nice work, kid.

That evening, I went to the Lionel Shriver reading in the Town Hall in my capacity as volunteer festival blogger - my review of the event should be online soon, so I'll link when it's up.  Likewise, on Sunday, I went down to the Manchester Art Gallery to document John Siddique's poetry workshop based upon the Pilkington pottery exhibition that's showing in the gallery at the moment.  I'll link to my review as and when - I also wrote some poems while I was there, despite my claims at the Bugged event not to be able to manage poetry, but I'll keep the results to myself for now, I think.  No point scaring you all or making you laugh at me.

Yesterday afternoon was the Bewilderbliss reading, an event run with Corridor8 magazine to showcase local zines and talent.  I read a newish story, and, amongst others, so did Holly Ringland, whose blog is up for Best Personal Blog at the Manchester Blog Awards tomorrow night.  Vote for her (by 5pm today) - she's brilliant - and come along to the Deaf Institute for the prize-giving. I expect it shall be ace.

In the meantime, this evening I'm volunteering at the Heidi Thomas event at the Cornerhouse - she's a screenwriter, so for this ex-film-student, it should be interesting - and later in the week there's another few things, and I'll report back when I remember what's going on, what I'm doing, where I'm at and what day it is.  Bye for now.

Bugged Manchester launch

I'll keep plugging this one, as it makes me feel rather fancy and famous.  And plus, of course, it's bound to be bloody brilliant!



The official Manchester launch of the Bugged anthology takes place this Thursday lunchtime in the new City Library on Deansgate in Manchester city centre.  There'll be books on sale and readings from Jenn Ashworth, Cathy Bryant, Ruskin Brown, Dorothy Burgess, Emma Morgan, Susannah Hart, Emma Lannie, Liz Loxley, Ian Marchant, Lynsey May, Angi Holden, Alicia Ogg, Calum Kerr, Valerie O’Riordan (that's me!) and Phil Williams.  So I'll probably be on at about quarter to two.  Come and listen to all our overhearings! 

come to my readings!

People Of The Internet.  The Manchester Literary Festival is upon us once again, and this time it features me!  Well, it also features some fly-by-night scribblers like Seamus Heaney and Jeanette Winterson, but I know you guys are all about the grass-roots activitists of the home-grown writing scene.  Ahem.  Anyway, I'll be there, mumbling my stories into a microphone not once, but twice.  Come!  Listen!  Don't throw things at me!  Unless it's money! Please throw money at me!


First up is the launch of the Bugged anthology at 1pm on the 14th of October (next Thursday) in the new City Library on Deansgate.  I'll be reading my teeny contribution to the book, and you'll also get to hear from Cathy Bryant, Emma Lannie, Liz Loxley and Susie Wild.  Tickets to the event are free, but booking is advised - check out the website for details. 


Second is the Bewilderbliss event - a bit of publicity for the local magazine that I helped edit during my MA and that our lead editors are now handing over to the new team.  This one will be at the Cornerhouse at 1pm on Monday 18th, and we're sharing the bill with Corridor8, a visual arts and writing journal.  Again, free, but you might want to book - see the festival website for more.


Hope to see you there (throwing money at me)!

Bridport and more!

Two good newses!

I got an email on Sunday telling me that a short little flash fiction piece I wrote last spring has been shortlisted for the new flash fiction section of the Bridport Prize.  This is massively exciting - I won't get any cash and the story won't get published in the anthology (I already know it hasn't gone on to win), but it's a very fancy prize and getting on the shortlist is a really excellent pat on the back for me.  So, yay for that!  And congratulations to all the other shortlistees in the flash, poetry and short story categories, some of whom I know via twitter and my writing group.  Big up everyone!

Second, a story that PANK were lovely enough to publish online last year, The Girl In The Glass, is having a second outing in a new e-book anthology, Chamber Four.  This is a new venture designed to highlight good writing on the web, and my story was recommended to the editors by Roxane Gay, of PANK fame, so thanks a million, Roxane!  The new anthology's available for free download and check out the website for details of specific formats for the Kindle and whatnot.  It'll also be available as a print-on-demand paperback in the future (printing costs will apply) - again, more details on the website.  It's a pretty cool venture, though; Sarah Salway's in there too.

That's it for now - otherwise, I'm rocking life as a bookseller, though I'm missing my student lie-ins.