Moniack Mhor Tea Break – Online talks about writing

Although it saddens us not to be able to currently offer residential courses, we are excited that during this time we are able to reflect on past courses and broader work by bringing you a series of pre-recorded online sessions. We are extremely lucky to have worked with some of the finest writers in the UK and are delighted to have their support in delivering these events.

We hope they will provide some insight and learning that you can apply to your own work. Each session will focus on a different aspect of the writing process and provide ideas to try in your own time.

They can be accessed free of charge but if you are able to, please consider making a small donation below. Every donation supports our ongoing work whilst the centre is closed due to the coronavirus situation, and also contributes to our aim of making opportunities for everyone to participate in creative writing.

Tea Break Contents:

‘On Short Stories’ with A.L. Kennedy
‘Building Plot and Managing Tension’ with Joanne Harris
‘The Last Draft?’ with James Robertson
‘Talking about Character’ with Val McDermid and Mary Paulson-Ellis

The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist series:

‘Ideas for Approaching Point of View and the Pleasure of Experimentation’ with Elizabeth Reeder.
Reading of Grimoire: New Scottish Folk Tales by Robin Robertson
Robert Alan Jamieson in conversation with Jen Hadfield
Jim Crumley in conversation with Linda Cracknell
Joseph Elliott in conversation with Jenny Valentine
‘Local Storytelling and the Gothic’ with Francine Toon
‘How to Find a Story in History’ with Elisabeth Gifford
‘Ideas for Approaching Point of View and the Pleasure of Experimentation’ with Elizabeth Reeder.

The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist Series: Grimoire – Online Reading with poet Robin Robertson 

Listen to poet Robin Robertson read from his collection Grimoire: New Scottish Folk Tales. Robin Robertson – a Scot exiled in London for most of his life – will explain how this Grimoire came to be, and why it’s subtitled New Scottish Folk Tales.

 


2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist Series: Robert Alan Jamieson in Conversation with Jen Hadfield.

An ‘in conversation’ event with Scottish poet and novelist, Robert Alan Jamieson, talking to fellow poet, Jen Hadfield, about his latest collection Plague Clothes which is longlisted for the 2020 Highland Book Prize.

Written during the recovery from Covid-19 symptoms, Plague Clothes is an immediate and intimate account of one person’s battle with the virus that emphasises our collective struggle throughout the pandemic.


2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist Series: Jim Crumley in conversation with Linda Cracknell

An ‘in conversation’ event with Scottish nature writer Jim Crumley talking to author Linda Cracknell about his book The Nature of Summer, which is the final book in a quartet based around the seasons. The Nature of Summer is longlisted for the 2020 Highland Book Prize.

 


The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist series: Joseph Elliott in conversation with Jenny Valentine.
 

An ‘in conversation’ event with Joseph Elliott and Jenny Valentine, both fiction writers for Young Adults. Their discussion focuses on Joseph’s debut novel The Good Hawk, which is longlisted for the 2020 Highland Book Prize.

 

 

The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist series: Online Talk with Francine Toon, author of novel, Pine 

‘Local Storytelling and the Gothic’ 

Some local stories can capture the imagination, especially when we are young. These can be tales told round a campfire, overheard at school or read about in the local newspaper. When thinking of gothic or suspenseful writing in particular, remembering local legends or strange incidents can be a useful jumping off point.

Watch the introductory section of Francine’s workshop exploring how local tales and the act of storytelling itself can be an entry point into your own creative writing.


The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist series: How to Find a Story in History with Elisabeth Gifford

How to Find a Story in History’

Elisabeth talks about finding story structure in past true events, and in doing so, how to stay true to history. Within this she will explore how many liberties can a historical novelist take or not take. Elisabeth will also discuss evoking place and setting.


The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist series: ‘Ideas for Approaching Point of View and the Pleasure of Experimentation’ with Elizabeth Reeder.

Elizabeth Reeder, author of novel An Archive of Happiness, shortlisted for the 2020 Highland Book Prize, talks about the pleasure and importance of experimentation and play when trying to figure out how to tell your stories. 


‘The Changing Outer Hebrides: Galson and the Meaning of Place’. 

Jim Hunter in discussion with Frank Rennie, author of The Changing Outer Hebrides: Galson and the Meaning of Place, hosted by Lews Castle College UHI. 


 
 
‘On Short Stories’ with A.L. Kennedy
 
Writer A.L. Kennedy holds forth on short stories, including why she thinks of them as ‘like bullets’. Listen as A.L. Kennedy recounts the process of conceiving and writing ‘Treated For Starlings’, a short story commissioned by Esquire Magazine and featured in their 2020 Summer Fiction series, in aid of Unicef UK.
 

You can read ‘Treated For Starlings’, or listen to a reading by Dafne Keen, by visiting Esquire.com. Please consider making a donation to Unicef’s Generation Covid campaign.
 

Talking about ‘Building Plot and Managing Tension’ with Joanne Harris

A chance to catch up with author Joanne Harris in her shed as she discusses the fundamentals of plot structure and tension in building a novel. Joanne’s talk was originally delivered as a Moniack Mhor Online event on 12th August 2020.
Special thanks to Joanne for allowing us to further share her insights here.


Talking about ‘The Last Draft?’ with James Robertson

Author and Moniack Mhor patron James Robertson discusses the process of redrafting a long piece of fiction. For James, the first draft is always the hardest part of writing a book: after that the real fun begins. But what are you aiming to achieve when you work through several drafts of your work? Is it about fine-tuning or major reconstruction? James gives advice on the essential elements of redrafting, and a list of tips to make your finished work as good as it can be.

James’s talk was originally delivered as a Moniack Mhor Online event on 6th August 2020. Special thanks to James for allowing us to further share his insights here.


Talking about Character with Val McDermid and Mary Paulson-Ellis

Join author and Moniack Mhor patron, Val McDermid, and Mary Paulson-Ellis as they discuss their writing, eat cake and dispense advice on creating character. We greatly appreciate the time that Val and Mary have given to make this opportunity possible to share with you here.

A Jo Sharp Production

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