Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Caroline Rance at Grit Lit Brighton

Previously featured in Exclusively Independent, was Caroline Rance's fantastic novel Kill Grief (Picnic Publishing). Here in Caroline's own words you can read all about the event, the experience as a whole and how successful she was.

I read from my historical novel, Kill-Grief, at Grit Lit in Brighton on 13 May. It was great fun but little did I expect that we'd win the Latest 7 Award for Best Literature Event of the festival – seeing off some brilliant competition including Hanover Poetry Society and Martin Amis.

I don’t get that nervous about events these days (jaded old author!) so when I arrived in Brighton at lunchtime, I could look forward to a whole afternoon of pretending to be on holiday. I had an omelette and chips at Buddies then sat on the beach working on revision notes for my next book, For the Love of Freaks. A stroll up and down the pier, and then I went back to my freezing B&B room to have a quick practice of my reading and make myself look as presentable as can be expected.

The other writers on the bill were Jake Kennedy, Tim Lay, Dave Swann, Amy Riley, Neil Ansell and Ross Sutherland, so it was an ecletic mixture of flash fiction, short stories, novel extracts, memoir and poetry. I was lucky enough to be second to read, which meant I’d be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Disconcertingly, I got on stage to discover there was a huge mirror opposite, but I ignored it and concentrated on the text and the audience.

Although the theme of the evening was unromantic realism, the packed Red Roaster Coffee House had a warm and happy ambiance. I read Kill-Grief‘s most gruesome scene and while it’s rather disturbing, I was delighted to get a good response to the dark humour offered by my surgeon-apprentice character. Humour, in fact, was in abundance throughout the evening – despite the premise, this was far from being a bleak, depressing event.

A couple of weeks later, we found out that we were up for the award, and were just thrilled to be nominated, never expecting to win. It's so exciting that Grit Lit won the award in only its second year as part of the Festival Fringe, and a credit to the organisers, Tim Lay and Amy Riley, that we were able to compete with high-profile events.

There’s a great review of the evening by Mathilde Madden at Fringe Guru, and Grit Lit has a Facebook page. On there are a couple of videos of me reading – I haven’t dared watch them though!


Latest 7 Awards

Fringe Guru review

Grit Lit Facebook page

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