By Betty Mayhew
The award-winning author, Tom Vowler, starts his workshop by introducing himself as both a lecturer at Plymouth University and the editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. He presents the highs and lows of pitching for journals, different story definitions he collected ‘like a magpie’, and emphasises the core base of what it is to be a short story writer. Vowler has an incredible ability to both put at ease and teach; his style a balance of miniature seminars and lectures.
A main aim of the workshop is the ‘generosity and spirit of feedback’, something which simply would not be possible without the amiable and informal environment Vowler seems to effortlessly create around him. The workshop not only aims to make you a better short story writer, but a better and more critical reader– aware and centred within the writing itself.
During the break, I caught up with a few of the participants to see the experience through their eyes:
‘I’m enjoying the opportunity to be forced to think about short stories again. There are some really good ideas from different perspectives’ – Tracy
‘I’m really enjoying the workshop so far. It’s a really nice environment’ – Nick
I also had the opportunity to catch Tom and ask him what he loves about running workshops:
‘It’s seeing when participants make a connection with something you’re saying. You just know they’re going to take it away with them and keep it’ – Tom Vowler.
His second collection of stories, Dazzling the Gods, is being crowdfunded. All this and more at the North Cornwall Book Festival 2016, 21st-23rd October at St Endellion.
Photo credit: Plymouth Herald