London Writer’s Club member, Sadie Nott, was shortlisted in the York Festival of Writing’s Friday Night Live Competition. This meant she was one of seven writers selected to read 500 words of their work to an audience of around 200 writers, agents and editors and an expert panel.
Public readings are a core part of a writing life, however Sadie had previously only read her work aloud to members of her writing group. Fortunately Arachne Press held a workshop on ‘Performance for Writers’, led by Liars’ League’s Katy Darby , just two days before Sadie spoke at the conference. ‘Whist I already had experience of presenting at academic conferences, the workshop taught me several strategies specific to reading fiction out loud,’ says Sadie, ‘For example how to mark up your text to indicate emphasis and emotion and moving your head slightly as if you’re watching Wimbledon during dialogue to help the audience follow who is speaking.’
Sadie read the opening of her recently completed novel, A Ton of Feathers, the coming-of-age story of Zoe who lives in her head where she feels safe, and her bereft, hippy mum who tries to pull her out.
The winner is decided by the loudness of the audience’s claps and the two joint-winners had both written darkly comic novels about murdered spouses. In 2014 the winner of this event wasJoanna Cannon , a writer who went on to publish the bestselling novel The Problem with Goats and Sheep
Sadie says ‘The panel gave constructive comments, the conference itself was a very friendly affair, and, like London Writer’s Club, it provides a great opportunity to meet agents, to find out what they are like in person, and which types of book they are looking for.’