Celebrating Local is an ongoing event, held each month at Woodies, with a performers evening on the last Saturday of the month and an art’s evening on the first Thursday of each month. It’s a chance for talented performers and artists to work together, raising awareness and helping to empower homeless people to make positive changes in their lives. All proceeds from Celebrating Local are donated to Stonepillow, Chichester’s local homeless charity.
May’s art evening saw three award-winning Chichester writers, Isabel Ashdown, Gabrielle Kimm and Jane Rusbridge, give readings from their debut novels. Isabel was up first, reading from Glasshopper (Myriad Editions, 2009) and the soon-to-be-released Hurry Up and Wait (Myriad Editions, 2011). A natural humour was evident through Isabel’s writing, which made listening to words focussing on familial relationships as well as struggles throughout the teenage years, which are not always easy to communicate lightly, easier to digest and wholly enjoyable.
Next, gabrielle Kimm stepped up to the mic and read from her first book His Last Duchess, (Sphere, 2010). This snippet of beautifully descriptive historical fiction painted an intriguing picture of life and love for the elite in 16th Century Tuscany Italy. She then went on to read from her upcoming novel The Courtesan’s Lover, (Sphere, 2011). This is based on Francesca Felizzi, who was introduced in her debut novel as mistress to the duke, Alfonso d’Este, and Gabrielle’s reading, with its hints at more debauched shenanigans, certainly intrigued the audience further.
Jane Rusbridge then read from her debut novel, The Devil’s Music (Bloomsbury, 2010). Reading from the point of view of main character Andy as both child and adult, revealed the inner-workings of a child’s minds and just how much traumatic events in our childhoods go on to shape our adult lives. This poignancy, along with powerful descriptions of life by the seaside, makes for great reading.
It was really interesting to hear them read from their contrasting novels one after the other, side by side. These three talented local ladies showed just how diverse creative writing can be from genre to genre and book to book.
All books were available to buy on the evening at the specially discounted price of £5.00, even special advance copies of Hurry Up and Wait. Chichester Copywriter took full advantage, purchasing signed copies of Glasshopper and His Last Duchess from Isabel and Gabrielle, who will both appear at the Writers’ Retreat in August. Jane wasn’t left out though, Katy already had a copy of The Devil’s Music, and Jane will appear at Chichester Copywriter’s next Writers’ Retreat, all being well.
To get hold of tickets for other Celebrating Local events, please contact Stonepillow on 01243 537934 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.