Durham Town Hall
Review by Gabriel Brown
An incredibly honest discussion of what the life of a writer is really like.
Andy Miller, Viv Groskop and Louise Welsh delivered a great, fun talk on the truths of being an author. I should say, however, that unfortunately I had to leave about five minutes before the end, but I would have loved to have stayed for the whole thing!
One of the main points was how being an author can genuinely be a lonely life. They sit at home a lot of the time and don’t seem to get out of the house much. Louise even said she went to the shop one day to buy envelopes and an employee asked her if she was applying for jobs!
They also talked of their typical writing day and structure, which was very interesting to hear as it varied so much: one of them tries to hit so many words, whereas another just writes as much as possible while in the flow.
Andy spoke about how he had a problem with this third paragraph. His general goal is to type three paragraphs a day. While he ends up liking the first two and getting them done quickly, it takes him considerably longer for the third as that’s when he starts editing and changing it all.
On the whole, the event was humorous and a particularly stand-out moment, which I think got the most laughs, was when Andy spoke of his son going to school and having to tell people what his Dad did. The result was his son asking him – “would I call you a moderately successful author?”
While it’s true I did leave 5 minutes early, it did feel like there could have been tiny bit more information about things like: how to get a book published and how to get well known as an author. The one-hour time constraint does leave you wanting more, and this is what I felt as I left this great event.
Cuckoo Review is an arts journalism programme for young writers aged 15-23. Through the Cuckoo Reviewers in Residence programme at Durham Book Festival, young people have reviewed festival events and books, and have interviewed featured authors. For more information about Cuckoo Review visit review.cuckoowriters.com.