I made a rare sojourn into Margate on Sunday afternoon, which isn’t something you’ll often hear me say. I had a couple of commitments to keep – of which, more later – and so spent a rather pleasant couple of hours in and around the Turner.
Margate is starting to develop a reputation for its cultural / creative quarter, which is positive, as knowing that it has a large rate of heroin and morphine deaths rather predisposes me to wanting to know that there’s a positive side to the area.
I gladly saw the positive side when I dipped a toe into the Margate Bookie this afternoon. I’m a member of Thanet Writers, and a clever member had managed to liaise with the Bookie and secure an interview today with one of the nationally-known authors who was attending.
I had a wander round the Turner, where the main day-time activities were being held – although other venues are playing a part – and in half-an-hour, I spoke to more people than I can adequately recall now (I even forgot my introduction during the first take of the interview, and I’d written the damn thing). The worrying thing was that I was even recognised by someone by my photograph, and confused for someone else who had previously met the other person; I delicately corrected them.
The Bookie is a lovely event – Andreas Loizou and his team are amazingly dedicated, and I’m rather in awe of that level of organisational ability, which isn’t something I think I have on that scale – and continues through Monday as well.
In fact, I’ve been recruited to spend a second afternoon in Margate on Monday as well; two days in the town? Isn’t that just a little excessive? Well, no, actually, because should we believe that an entire town is blighted and awful because of some – admittedly terrible and depressing – statistics? I like the Old Town and the central heart of Margate because it is the heart, and I felt so welcomed there today, and know I will again tomorrow.
The main reason I’ll be back at the Bookie on Monday is because I’ll be attending the launch of Shoal, an anthology compiled by Thanet Writers. Compiled by TWs’ Fiction Editor, it features 23 local authors, such as David Stone and Catherine Law, as well as un-deservingly less well known writers such as my fellow columnist Seb Reilly, Sam Kaye, David Chitty … the list goes on, and I could easily talk about these writers for a long time. I’m also in there as well, and my mum is my chief publicist, so I’m getting a small following (thanks, mum).
I’m proud of being in a fiction anthology with a range of authors, and it’s going to be rather fun spending the afternoon with an audience who want to share in the launching of a new piece of fiction. It reassures me that there is still a passion for fiction out there, and for short stories as well. I’m intrigued to know what readers think about shorter fiction – is it something you enjoy? What do you look for in short stories? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.