Town and Gown Creative Writers Event

Inky-fingers-1.jpgA chance meeting at library reception led to today’s event.  I was able to put Joyce, from Portsmouth’s Inky Fingers creative writing group, in touch with Alison Habens, undergraduate course leader for creative writing.  6 students (gown) met with 8 members of Inky Fingers (town) to enjoy a morning of fun and creative writing games.  The aim of the gathering is to extend the relationship and to publish a collection of short stories, A Tale of Two Cities, capturing the character of Portsmouth through different eyes.

It was interesting for me to observe the process of ideas generation.  Alison led a series of exercises.  The first, If you were a local landmark what would you be? helped the group get to know more about each other.  Members embodied Southsea rose gardens, the Still and West pub – observing the comings and goings of the city, Southsea Castle, the dog kennels and the Spinnaker Tower – ‘you can see more broadly from up there.’ The following exercise took the guise of an old-fashioned parlour game.  The answer to the first question What do you most love about the city of Portsmouth? was written down and passed along to another person to explain what they hated about the thing the other person loved.  The next round was what do you most loath about the city?  So what was the point of this? Well, it was an exercise in writing on a subject from different perspectives.  The audience’s reaction to listening to the dialogue created from the loathsome things such as buses and Guildhall Square, demonstrated that you don’t have to believe in something yourself to engage your readers.

Joyce brought the morning to a close by sharing some tips on writing a short story and inviting ‘gown’ members to their meeting in a couple of weeks time to share progress.  Both town and gown seemed to enjoy the event and I’m pleased to have done a little bit to facilitate.  I look forward to hearing how the short stories develop and putting a copy of the finished book into the University Library!

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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