Albany Readings, Centre for Open Studies Creative Writing Students, Wednesdays 19 March – 9th April, 2014.
Albany Learning and Conference Centre, Woodlands
Wednesdays: 26th March, 2nd and 9th April.
University of Glassgow Centre for Open Studies Creative Writing Students will be showing off some of their work on four consecutive Wednesday evenings from March 19th.
I went along last night to the first event. I knew that Frankie Gault was going to be reading and I wouldn’t want to miss him but the rest of the programme was a surprise.
In all there were seven performers, starting with Frankie, who read one of his stories ‘The Phonebox’. I’ve heard a number of his short stories and this one had his usual mix of loveable rogues, vibrant characters and sharp dialogue. It was full of Glaswegian humour but this gripping wee tale with its slice of street life wasn’t all laughs.
Next up was Samina and she read two of her short stories. One of them, Getting a Medal, I had heard a few weeks back in class. I was only too happy to listen to it again. Samina transports you to another land with her strong imagery and the voice of the child in the story rings very true. It’s a great tale, full of dreams and sorrow.
Maria read to us in Romanian. Perhaps no-one in the audience understood but the sound of her voice and the language was pleasant. Inexplicably even more engrossing than the English translation that followed.
Joe Murphy followed Maria and read an extract from a story he is writing. I didn’t catch the name but the story of a young man stranded in a blizzard and meeting rejection at every request for shelter was all the more engaging because of the matter of fact delivery and realistic dialogue. Joe ended leaving us wanting to hear more.
We had a very enjoyable intermission with a chance to have a look at Anna’s art work, which was amazing. No surprise that one of her large paintings was snapped up. We also mingled and met up with students from previous courses and we had a blether with peers, no matter we’d just seen them in class the night before.
In the second half there were three readers. Megan, who had travelled all the way from the Lake District for the event, had been helping with introductions and sound and now she read one of her stories. A strange, confusing and thought- provoking tale.
Brian Hamill thoroughly entertained us with three short stories. My favourite was ‘Hauns’ about a couple of would-be hard men bullying a man in the public toilets about washing his hands. Yes, even among the lowlifes there is much anxiety about germs. Full of verve and vernacular – the audience loved it.
Gill finished the night off reading a Kelman short story ‘Vacuum’. She read very well and drew us into the unhappy home and the antagonistic thoughts of Kelman’s keenly depicted miserable characters.
It could all have ended on a low note but that wasn’t the case.
Three more nights to go: I can’t tell you who to expect but it will be wonderful – with new works by the crème de la crème of Alan McMunnigall’s Creative Writing Classes plus readings of the work of their favourite writers.
In conjunction with thi wurd new fiction magazine
See you there:
Wednesdays: 26th March, 2nd and 9th April.
Doors: 6.30 p.m.
The Albany Learning and Conference Centre,
44 Ashley Street, Woodlands, Glasgow G3 6DS
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