After our reading at the Art Workersâ€™ Guild, Alison was very forthright in her collective praise of the class and she seems to be expecting some big things from us as a year group, although she might perhaps have been surprised at the progress of at least one of our number over the six weeks or so after the event.
I looked at Facebook page a couple of weeks ago to see a picture of Michael Braga, one of my coursemates from the City Novel Writing course holding a sheaf of papers with a very satisfied expression on his face. In an incredible burst of productivity, heâ€™s finished his novel already â€“ achieving an incredibly impressive 93,000 words â€“ and all this while doing a demanding, full-time job. Amazing.
I always found his readings to be tremendously entertaining, humorous and colourful and the excerpt he read at the Art Workersâ€™ Guild showcased these qualities very well. I look forward to following the progress of the novel and wish him the best of luck with it. Heâ€™s set up a blog recently, which is another testament to his productivity â€“ it can be accessed from the sidebar.
Alison sent out a news update to all course alumni a couple of weeks ago mentioning that Simon Holmes from the course had been taken on my Simon Trewin, an agent at United Artists, whom Alison previously described as â€˜a big cheeseâ€™. Â (His photo is now on the agencyâ€™s web page.) Simonâ€™s writing is very intelligent; in passages it can be quite beautiful, creating a highly imaginative surreal world with a most intriguing central character. I wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see his novel in the running for a literary prize in the near future.
A few students from the course have taken interesting initiatives. A couple of people have been on an Arvon foundation retreat up in the Black Isle near Inverness â€“ something Iâ€™d like to do but for various reasons probably wonâ€™t get the opportunity for a few years. Iâ€™ll be looking forward to hearing how that went.
Another route is one-on-one mentoring, something that Bren Gosling, has taken up. Heâ€™s talked positively in his blog (linked to from the sidebar) about his sessions with Emma Sweeney â€“ who stepped in as a very capable substitute for Emily at the end of the course and helped us with our readings.
Emma marked our last assignments for the course â€“ our reflective commentary and blurb â€“ and made some nice comments on mine. She also gave some very helpful feedback on material for my tutorial in the last term â€“ which was the bulk of chapter five.
Iâ€™m mulling over another course of action that I might undertake this autumn in relation to keeping the writing momentum going â€“ if I make a decision to then watch this space and all may be revealed.