This is probably going to be the first of many Event Reviews I post today. I’ve been lucky enough to go to a lot of Literature events in this past month and – as you can see from the date of this one – I am way behind in my reviews of them. It’s also my excuse for not getting that much reading done…
Terroir Book Launch
In June, we at Litfest had the pleasure of helping to organise the launch for Graham Mort’s latest collection of Short Stories – Terroir published by Seren books. We also were very lucky to have Carys Davies – now the winner of the Jerwood Prize and the Frank O’Connor Prize – reading her story from Seren’s much praised collection New Welsh Short Stories.
‘From England to Europe, Africa to South America, these stories from prize-winning short story writer Graham Mort explore relationships: father and child; man and wife; man and his environment.
A rising star of wine making understands his terroir, but oversteps the boundaries; a father taking his son on a day out finds himself in unexpectedly terrifying circumstances; an aid worker in Uganda finds himself treading in his father’s footsteps…
All these stories are sensitively told and beautifully written, bringing fresh perspectives to our place in the world around us.
Graham Mort has won the Edgehill and Bridport and Short Fiction short story prizes.’
‘The best of contemporary Welsh short-story writing, New Welsh Short Stories offers a wide-ranging view of a country from new and established writers including Stevie Davies, Trezza Azzopardi, Joe Dunthorne, Cynan Jones, Deborah Kay Davies and Rachel Trezise. Stories range from the personal to the universal; from the streets of urban south Wales to the wilder reaches of small town and countryside; from film sets to the limits of time and space.
Other authors include Joao Morais, Zillah Bethell, Sarah Coles, Tyler Keevil, Jo Mazelis, Kate Hamer, Mary-Ann Constantine, Tom Morris, Maria Donovan, Robert Minhinnick, Carys Davies and Holly Múller.’
It was a very hot day but Ros – our marketing lady – managed to get some of the windows open up in the Sanctuary at Lancaster Library and we settled down for a balmy evening of stories. We had a good, enthusiastic audience of about thirty or so and the wine and other refreshments were flowing freely. Carys read first and entranced and amused the audience in equal measure with a peculiar final expedition by a son and his ailing father – before making us groan by breaking off mid-story as her time ran out.
Graham followed, reading sections from a selection of stories in order to give us a good overview of the collection as a whole. Over the following half hour or so we were treated to wide-ranging themes and characters: winemakers in France, information specialists deep in the jungle, complicated relationships, double lives, terror and terroir. After the reading Graham gave a Q&A and did a book signing before the evening concluded.
It was a doubly great evening for because I got to see my friend Jess – now Seren’s Marketing Assistant – as she came up for the launch. The evening for us concluded in a hilarious meal at Bella Italia with our friend Beth. It was quite late, their delivery had never arrived so there was very little food left and our poor waiter was exhausted after working an incredibly long shift. Despite all this the staff were in good spirits and went out of their way to make sure we got fed.
The evening was hugely enjoyable and – leading on from June FF with Jacqueline Harris – continued a wonderful month of Literature.