Me reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the 27th May 2010

Last night I gave a talk about Turner at the Aberystwyth University Book Festival. It went well; the talk had the audience smiling, and I'll upload a video of it in the near future. However, giving talks on the topic of my creative work is strange. I am used to speaking to large groups in my role as a librarian, both to students and at conferences - last month one of the talks I gave (Plagiarism and Good Academic Practice) was to 265 first year undergraduate business students, the largest group I've ever spoken to. And I wasn't in the least bit nervous; in fact, I enjoyed it immensely. However, when I give talks about my fiction I do tend to get slightly nervous, since it feels much more like I myself am being judged, and my creative competency is bared, leaving no protection for the ego. What will friends, colleagues and family think of my work? It is so much more personal. Still, I am sure that, too, will become easier over time.

Different Worlds

I did a reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the 27th May 2010: one of my short stories, Switchback Delegates was published in the Different Worlds collection and the reading was part of its launch. On that night I was incredibly nervous, even though I told myself that we should always try to conquer our fears. When I got to the venue (the bookshop) it was full to capacity, with a number of people I knew in the audience.I was the third reader. I think I felt more nervous because I had chosen to read out a seduction scene (since I never make things too easy for myself!); and extra embarrassment might have come from the fact that it was a story about an English department university academic seducing a student, and there were some English department university academics in the room! However, the talk went well and people said very nice things afterwards. (I'll embed a video of part of my reading at the end of this post.)

It shows that you should always push yourself, and not miss any opportunity. I'll end with a quote from Turner where Megan is facing the prospect of her imminent death:
“You’re a brave girl, Megan Norris. Are you ready to go?”
“No! But I once read a book called Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. I can feel the fear.”
Rain ran down her face and hid her tears.
The Different Worlds writers who gave readings that night.
I'm peeping from the back.