When I look back at this year, thinking of things I've enjoyed the most, Ace Stories, at Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, is high on my list. It was a true honour to be invited to read at such a well-organised event, and a good occasion for me to try out UNDER THE LIP on an audience for the very first time.
It felt a bit like introducing a new boyfriend/girlfriend to your friends, anxiously hoping that everyone will like him/her. Luckily my novel extracts went down well. The theme for the evening was sea-faring and I had picked three scenes from UNDER THE LIP where the sea features: main character Natalie arriving in Brighton, then hanging out on the beach with a punk girl, and finally escaping into the sea after an argument with her parents.
Next up was Courttia Newland, writer-in-residence at Kingston Writing School, who read a short story set by the seaside in Africa.
Actor Brendan Wyer read an extract from Jack London's classic The Sea Wolf.
And Dr Sue Currell, Senior Lecturer in American Literature, discussed The Sea Wolf with Ace Stories director Jay Clifton. I haven't read The Sea Wolf, but Sue was very engaging and told us that even though some of London's writing can come across us anti-feminist he was a great supporter of the suffragette moment.
My highlight of the evening was blues singer and musician Sandy Dillon who performed songs from the forthcoming album Shipwreck'd with guitarist Ray Majors. As well as being a good singer and player Sandy is also a fantastic lyricist. The 'shipwrecked' songs are all based on true stories.
I bought one of Sandy's CD and was lucky enough to get a chat with both her and Ray! I'm totally in love with their music. Lovely people too!
I also love the Hotel Pelirocco*, and last night I felt like a real star having "Perfect Storm" - Kraken Rum cocktails, chatting to artists and other random people. A big thank you to everyone involved in Ace Stories for putting such a great night together. As usual I took photos of the night and all pics are by me apart from the first which is taken by Sam Collins, and the last couple of pics are by Solera Russell.
*Dear Santa, please give me a night in the "Pretty Vacant" room ...