On Saturday, while sitting Last Supper style at The Society Club in Soho, I talked to Tania Hershman about a book she had read on the power of the introvert. It was a fine night – in a pockety, vibe-laden corner of Soho. There were dogs – tiny little ones and a happy-gloomy bulldog, who were taken away before the literary performances by a tall boy-man in a black suit, with otter hair. One was left – Foxy – who barked only sometimes but was zen mostly.
But it’s a interesting thought – that we all fall into various levels of extrovert/introvert comfort zones. A writer, by their very nature – has to live in the mind for some considerable period of time. But then hermit land will not sell books – so the writer has to emerge, blinking – to pump hands, flash teeth and look interested when dull people ask ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ Is there any smart answer? Perhaps to elaborately mime pulling them down from trees, or something equally sarcastic.
Saturday was immense. Tania of course but also James Meek, Jane Rogers and Alex Preston. Alex read an unpublished story about a literate, angst-infested dog. James Meek – who had apparently only just finished writing his story but it sounded slick, cleverly-shaped. Tania read the title story from her collection, which she said ‘got more laughs than usual’ – plus treated us to three other stories. Tania is a natural performer and shines when reading her work. Jane Rogers really showed us an unreliable narrator – but unreliable because the narrator was losing her power to remember as she slipped into dementia.
Four writers and much to learn from all of them – as they stepped out into the world to be extroverts – or at least to share things created in a quiet place.
The Society Club is a marvel and there is more to come as they further champion the short story.
Paul McVeigh’s blog is here too, plus some pictures. I am in one of them…but it might be like ‘spot the ball’:
- Julia Bohanna
- Shortlisted Bath Short Story Award 2013 Runner-up Cinnamon Press Competition 2013 WNNER: Don Louth Writer of the Year (run by Reading Writers) WINNER: Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition 2012. SHORTLISTED: Scott Prize (Salt Publishing) 2012 for a short story collection. Writer/ Journalist - assistant editor and writer for the art and books pages of Wolfprint. Most recently published in Independent on Sunday and short story anthologies: Sentinel Champions No 9, 100 Stories for Queensland, 50 Stories for Pakistan, 100 Stories for Haiti and From Hell to Eternity. In a recent writing competition, Joanne Harris described my writing as '...compelling (but quite creepy)'
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Prizes and Writing Awards
- Winner Bradt/Independent on Sunday Travel Writing Competition 2012
- Shortlisted for Salt Publishing's Scott Prize for short story collections 2012
- Finalist in Brit Writers' Award 2011
- 2nd in Sentinel Literary Competition 2011
- Whitechapel Society Anthology to be published 2010
- Shortlisted for the Mslexia Short Story Competition 2009
- Shortlisted for The Asham Award 2009
- Joint winner of the Penguin/Decibel Prize 2008 - Asian Invisible. Published as The Map of Me
- Highly Commended in The National Galleries of Scotland Short Story Competition 2008
- Runner-up in Segora Short Story Prize 2008
- Joint Winner of The Lancet Short Story Competition 2007: The Resurrection Girl.
- Runner-up in Virgin Trains/The Guardian Short Story Competition 2007: A Small Revolution
- Winner of the Woman and Home Short Story Competition 2006: Ghosts of Jamaica.
- Shortlisted for The Asham Award 2005
- Runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Short Story Competition 2003
- Winner of The Sunday Telegraph Tourism for Tomorrow Travel Writing Competition 2002: Wolves of Rumania. Winner
- Winner and also Winner of Most Original Short Story in the Competition in Trowell and District Writers' Competition 2006