Tom Hubbard, Ten Slavonic Dances, Scottish Writers’ Centre
Ten Feet Tall: Celebrating 10 Years of Contributions to Arts & Culture
Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 7 p.m.
CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD
Tom Hubbard will be performing short extracts from his book of three short stories / novellas Slavonic Dances, (2017) together with a selection of poems / translations relating to east-central European countries. Hubbard will explore how we as writers can use a blend of cultures – even better, a clash of cultures (for all art thrives on conflict and contrast) – to unblock our imaginations and set us on our way.
His stories concern Scottish characters encountering east-central Europe, with results that are variously comic and tragic, ludicrous and lyrical – i.e. ambiguous: A Scotswoman marries a Polish soldier with a dark past; a Scottish-Czech couple are separated by the traumatic events of August 1968 in Prague; a Glaswegian poet and singer are enthused by Russian music. Each poem is a Polish take on Romeo and Juliet; wee Czech frogs being taught astronomy by their grotesquely inept teacher; a Hungarian dad soothes his baby daughter; a Russian mermaid is confronted by a prince who assumes a certain sexual entitlement. In using conflict and contrast, Hubbard exposes how two characters opposing each other creates a scenario that can generate and animate a story.
The ‘dances’ in Hubbard’s title – nicked from music by Dvořák – is partly ironic and nearer to a witches’ sabbath than to innocent small-town frolics or yer auntie’s 60th birthday bash. Hubbard is a champion of irony and its equally weird and wicked sibling, ambiguity, to say one thing and also mean its opposite, and packing the maximum of meaning into the minimum of words. Performance Techniques: Hubbard will discuss how readings can be enhanced with the use of simple props. He experiments with papier-mâché heads, partly inspired by east European theatrical traditions involving marionettes and mannequins.
Tom Hubbard is a novelist, poet and former itinerant academic whose second novel, The Lucky Charm of Major Bessop, (2014); readers are still working out the teasing clues in this ‘grotesque mystery of Fife’. His other works of fiction are the novel Marie B. (2008), based on the life of the late-nineteenth century painter Marie Bashkirtseff, and, more recently, Slavonic Dances (2017), a set of three linked novellas based on the comic and tragic encounters of the Scottish characters with eastern and east-central Europe. His book-length collections of poetry are The Chagall Winnocks (2011) and Parapets and Labyrinths (2013), both Scottish and European in their scope and also published by Grace Note. Tom was the first Librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library and went on to become a visiting university professor in France, Hungary and the USA. He lives in his native Kirkcaldy.
Admission £6/£3 (Concession). FREE to SWC Members
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