Amanda's Circus

Flash Slam in Brighton

Great fun! I actually read at a flash slam in Brighton last Thursday. It was held at the Latest Bar and brilliantly organised by Grit Lit and Story Studio, Tara Gould and Richard Hearn as part of the Brighton Digital Festival.


What’s a flash slam? On this occasion, nine writers read two 300 word stories, and three were picked by the judges, Dave Swann and Juliet West, to go into a final read-off. I’ve never read competitively before but everyone was so friendly it didn’t feel like it was a competition at all except that there was a great winner in Marc Nash, who deserves every accolade – a master of the flash form! Runners-up were Wendy-Ann Greenhalgh and Jo Gatford, whose readings were stunning. In fact all the stories were rich and thought-provoking. I particularly enjoyed Brian Bell’s readings – his voices are absolutely brilliant.

Flash SlamI read an old story, ‘Elevator’ – which didn’t go down particularly well, twist in the tail perhaps wasn’t the way to go, and I also read a new story, ‘Value’ which I’d written rather hurriedly  the day before when I thought I had to read only one story. I also thought I’d be applying too late to read but no, I wasn’t. A bit of a shock that! Anyway, ‘Value’ seemed much more popular. I’d written it in third person past tense but a few hours before the event it dawned upon me that a live reading requires a more immediate, dramatic quality. I quickly rewrote it in first person present tense and I’m quite pleased with the result. I hate to say it, but I really loved reading it and I’m as surprised by that as anyone. Writers, on the whole, are not particularly keen on reading in public (and in this case the kind listeners actually paid hard cash to get in). For some unknown reason I wasn’t nervous, the hand holding the paper was trembling, but I felt oddly confident. And no, I hadn’t had a stiff drink beforehand, I’d courageously stuck to Coke. The whole thing was fun. I had a great time. I’m definitely going to take opportunities to read, and it’s wonderful to meet other writers, they were a generous group of people. Huge thanks to the organisers and all those excellent writers who stood up to read so brilliantly.


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About writing, trickery and a little music