I read at Keele University on Monday night, to a small but packed (no spare seats!) room of creative writers. I enjoyed it a lot – a keen, relaxed, clever, normal bunch of people, so an ideal audience. I read two chunks of 15 minutes, and they laughed in all the right places. Then on to the bar for drinks, and discussions of writing, creative writing as a discipline, football, Sebald (fisticuffs over Austerlitz), and the aquarium-cum-hologram gallery in Matlock Bath
. And now they'll never have me back, because like a later and less aristocratic Edward de Goncourt, I've blabbed all our secrets.
Jim Sheard put me up for the night, and in the morning sent me on my way with a 24-hour lend of Jean Sprackland's Hard Water
. Jim's praised Sprackland's work to me before, but I've never got round to reading her in earnest. I zipped through Hard Water
on the train from Stoke to Sheffield. It's fantastic - here's a link
to the title poem, read by Sprackland.