Reading out your work in front of people for the purpose of their entertainment is a daunting prospect for any writer. It is probably not advisable to resort to dancing, juggling or doing card tricks to deflect attention from your prose. What you should do is practice. A lot. And secondly, you should know exactly how much alcohol is needed for a smooth delivery.The right amount will get you talking and make you less self-conscious. Too much and you will be slurring into the microphone and including embarrassing jokes.
So, after a lot of study and many years of practice, I have come to the conclusion that the right amount is exactly what the governement health people advise for daily consumption, which is a maximum for 2-3 units, which works out as 1-2 medium glasses. This also depends on the time of day. Two glasses of wine first thing in the morning might be a slippery slope, so it’s best to use your judgement there. But a hip flask of whisky can liven up an instant coffee at a library reading. I am not advocating being drunk at readings. This only leads to regret. You know it. I know it. But sometimes we just never learn…
NEWCASTLE – TUE 12 SEP 7pm
Litmus at the Lit and Phil
Sara Maitland, Zoe Lambert and Christine Poulson
“The Lit & Phil plays host to an evening of science and semi-fiction.. Sara Maitland reads and discusses her story about the often overlooked astronomer, Henrietta Swann Leavitt, a woman who despite being un known at the her death changed the face of astronomy with her discovery of the period-luminosity relation – a yard stick for measuring distances in space. Zoe Lambert talks about Lise Meitner – the first scientist to identify nuclear fission (one caricatured by a US journalist as ‘the woman who left Germany with Bomb in her purse.’ Whilst Christine Poulson discusses the moment when American biologist Kary Mullis, driving home late one night, dreamt up a way of revolutionising DNA research.”
We will be staying in a hotel afterwards so I hope Sara and Christine like to party.
Lit & Phil Library, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 1SE.
Festival Number 6 @ Portmeirion
Notes From the Edge
The Central Piazza
Friday 14th September
“Four writers read from their work and discuss how and where it finds common ground. Maria Roberts’ best-selling memoir Single Mother on the Verge explores the trials of living with an eco-warrior. Award-winning novelist Emma Jane Unsworth’s fiction features characters often drawn to the darker side of themselves. Shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize, Zoe Lambert’s short story collection The War Tour gives voice to women in situations of conflict all over the world, while journalist Alison Taylor’s edgy dating memoir The Still Single Papers “makes Bridget Jones’ Diary read like a Saga holiday brochure” (John Niven).”
This is going to be a great event. I am worried I will be late because I’m still trying to put up my brother’s high tech mountaineering tent. Or I might just be lost somewhere in Wales. But I hope I get there. The line up for the festival is AMAZING.
ALDERLEY EDGE – SUN 16 SEP
Zoe Lambert at the Alderley Edge Community Book Festival
I’ll be reading in a line-up that contains Jackie Kay, Melvin Burgess and Mike Garry.
Organised by Oxfam.
Reading Room, Festival Hall, Talbot Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire SK9 7HR.
More information here.
I will be coming straight from Festival 6 so expect wellies, mud, and messy hair. I hope I will be able to string a sentence together and not lost somewhere in Wales.
CHORLTON – FRI 21 SEP
Kagyu Ling Cultural Programme presents The War Tour by Zoe Lambert.
‘The event starts at 7.30pm with a welcome cocktail. Free but donations are welcome on door.
Kagyu Ling Buddhist Centre, 45 Manor Drive, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, M21 7QG.
More information from Jessica Frye on 0161 850 4450 or culture[at]kagyuling.org.uk.’
Yes, it does say a free cocktail.
SUN 23 SEP
Zoe Lambert at Throckmorton Literary Festival.
Throckmorton Literary Festival at Coughton Court, Warwickshire.
More information about the festival here. 9.45am. Georgina Harding, David Starkey and Rachel Seiffert are also reading over the weekend.
I am not sure where this festival is, but it sounds wonderful. It’s in a very old hall, with a Jacobean staircase and I am staying over in it because my reading is in the morning. I hope there’s a four poster bed.
DIDSBURY ARTS FESTIVAL SAT 29 SEP
BORDER FICTION with Jane Rogers, Zoe Lambert and Michelle Green
‘Comma Press presents three exciting authors, whose short story collections cross personal and political borders. Jane Rogers’ new collection, Hitting Trees with Sticks, ranges from Uganda to Australia to the West Indies, taking in love, death, and Alan Turing along the way. Zoe Lambert’s The War Tour paints a picture of the world’s conflict zones, giving voice to the silenced casualties. Michelle Green’s forthcoming Jebel Marra, explores the complexities of the on-going war in Darfur through the eyes of aid workers and the people involved. Didsbury Baptist Church, Beaver Road. Manchester, M20 6SX.‘
Part of the Didsbury Arts Festival.
I am calling us The Comma Girls.
Friday 12th October: For Books Sake 2nd Birthday Bash!
The Star and Garter
I’ll be reading my zombie and caravanning story from Short Stack and dressed to the nines in red and white poker dots.
Also reading will be Emma Jane Unsworth, Clare Robertson and Les Malheureux, and they all know exactly how much wine to drink.
LANCASTER – SUN 21 OCT Zoe Lambert and Jo Baker: The Right to Imagine
These two North West writers explore elements of war within their story-telling. This event brings you two readings and a short discussion on the act of creating fiction around events that may not be so close to home.
The LICA Building
WED 24 OCTZoe Lambert at Chester Literature Festival
Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HJ .
More info here.
See how serious my photo looks next to Andrew Motion. Very serious indeed.
LONDON – SAT 27 OCTZoe Lambert with Adam Marek, David Vann and Chris Paling
The Story Salon 3, at the society club
12 Ingestre Place, Soho London, W1F OJF
I am really looking forward to this event. I bet the guys are scared about reading with me.
BLACKPOOL – TUE 13 NOV
Zoe Lambert in Conversation with Eleanor Rees at Wordpool
I’ll be reading with Liverpool poet, Eleanor Rees and discussing place and locality in our writing. We tend to talk about vintage dresses a lot, so this may come up too.
more info to follow.
Dylan Thomas Festival (note to self – check date)
reading with Edge Hill Prize shortlisted writers, Rowena Macdonald and AJ Ashworth.
more details to follow.
This is in Wales again. Perhaps I’ll still be lost in Wales finding my way to Festival 6. This is not unlikely.