To be brief, we had 12 present this week, and Jeff had to commence the session as the chair was late. Feeble excuses later, the session continued.
First to read was Angela with the second (and final) part of her short story of which I didn’t catch the title. It involved a re-enactment of a battle at a castle and the ghosts of the actual event also appearing. This was very enjoyable and inventive. A great listen.
Next up was Kim, who this time gave us his entry for the article/review competition, which had to be postponed. Quentin Crisp – Beyond the Clichés, was very well researched and also well written. We learned much of this man fighting against multiple bigotries and heard an enjoyable read at the same time. Well done sir.
Bruce then gave us his non-poetry piece number 142 (second batch) called Caritas Consort. This is a choral group which is part of Llandaff Cathedral choir, and they sing to raise money for charities, either unaccompanied or with an organ. We learned much of their organisation, its work, and also about the Cathedral itself, including when it was hit by a world war two bomb. Almost everyone agreed that the modern centre-piece, which consists predominantly of a large piece of anonymous concrete, is really ugly. Very good tale and well written.
Matt was next up with another piece of Pebs’s Friends, in which we have a meeting between a goblin and the central character who might be a gnome-girl. I loved how the girl told that she had cleaned herself with a dead badger she found, and said not to try it with a live one. Matt is pondering whether to change parts of this book to make it fit into a style/genre/format, but it is certainly hilarious and truly inventive. We need to hear more please.
Sharif then read us another section of his tale about Edmund and Nafa, which has moved on to 1956 now. Very well researched, even into the styles of roofs on cottages near the sea in Pembroke, and the characters are really well written. This is the second in a book series, and volume one (set in 1945) is shortly to be published by the Abergavenny Small Press and is entitled The Dispersed (by Sharif Gemie). It can be ordered from Waterstones and other good booksellers.
We then spoke with first-timer Anna, who is from Cardiff, went away to university but is now back in the city of the dragon. Anna likes to write fantasy and historical fiction, and her first novel has been accepted for publication in 2025. She is represented by Lydia Silver of the Darley Anderson agency – no small feat. (I don’t mean she has big feet of course.) Anna read us the opening of her second novel in the series. Anna’s book is set in a magical fantastical world. The piece we heard reads very well and features a great overlay of magic/fantasy/realism onto the real world. We should love to hear more please.
Gill then read what she called a Limerick but it was far more than five lines. The Lament of the Jazz Trumpeter’s Landlady was based in old Cardiff, when Tiger Bay and Bute Street were pulsating hubs of be-bop. (That’s a form/style/time of jazz.) Great to hear Gill’s reviving of old Cardiff and I especially loved how the central narrator of the work (Gill) cries out ‘I’m blonde again’ to mean that she feels very young once more. A lovely piece.
Jeff closed the session but there was only time for him to read one poem – Photosynthesis. This was a nice poem about whether plants know of or understand their existence, and what do they think of it. A great postulation from a man who can combine actual science with great poetry. Thank you Jeff.
Next week is at the YMCA with Emily Garside adjudicating our flash fiction competition, then giving a Q&A session and imparting her knowledge and experience of the literary world to us. Be there or be less well-informed. A great evening coming.
After that our last session – 11th – will be our 500-word humorous Xmas-themed competition and party. Bring your work and some food and drink please. (YMCA not too keen on heavy-duty alcohol remember.)
Please see exciting opportunity, attached.
Bye for now, P.