Tag Archives: Tickling the Dragon

Segora Celebrates with Maggie Butt

‘No,’ I said to myself. ‘No, no, no, no, no!’

(Why do we repeat the word ‘no’ when we suspect we’re going to say ‘yes’?)

I didn’t actually say anything to Gordon & Jocelyn Simms. Not immediately.

An offer of a new experience always has this effect on me. I don’t know about you, but my kneejerk reaction is to refuse.

‘No, no, no, no, no,’ said my mind.

The thing is, since starting my new writing career at the age of forty-*coughs*, I’ve been faced with so many new experiences. And it’s scary. It’s much scarier than the first time I noticed this kneejerk reaction: then, aged 20 and shocked by my discovery, I vowed to say ‘yes’ to every offer I received that year.

It was the year of my nocturnal climb up the outside wall of a campus building. The year I went out dressed in a dustbin bag (and stilettos); the year I agreed to sell screwed-up paper for people to throw at performers on stage.

But I’m not 20 anymore. I’m wise now. So I said ‘yes’ to Gordon and Jocelyn. I agreed to interview their Segora poetry competition judge in front of an audience. It can’t be worse than that campus building – or the dustbin bag – can it?

I said ‘yes’ because, actually, I have loads of questions I’d like to ask poet-novelist-journalist-creative writing teacher-TV documentary director-royal literary fund fellow Maggie Butt.

(Adjectives in front of your name are just as impressive as letters after it, I find, with the added advantage of conveying immediate understanding).

Maggie Butt sounds like a fascinating person, and if you have loads of questions you’d like to ask her too, then read on.

*flashy lights* Maggie Butt is coming to France! *more flashy lights*

Maggie Butt is leading a writing workshop!

I’m going to her workshop!

You can come to her workshop!

We can all learn how to be poet-novelist-journalist-creative writing teacher-TV documentary director-royal literary fund fellows!

I know, I know – but occasions like this are rare in our part of France, so of course I’m excited about it. Of course I’m overworking those exclamation marks.

I suppose I’d better calm down and give you the details. Let’s do it in table format, because that always looks official and efficient (ooh, those two words sound nice together).

Event Segora Celebration Weekend (celebrating the competition winners)
Date Saturday 14th and Sunday 15thSeptember 2019
Venue Salle de Cloître, St.André-sur-Sèvre, 79380 France
Organisers the lovely (oops, that’s not very official) Gordon & Jocelyn Simms
Writing Workshop Sat 14th, 10-12, cost 40€ including lunch. Reservation necessary.
Writer Interview Sun 15th, 10-11, free: Q&A and readings with Maggie Butt (I’ll do my best)
Other stuff Book launch, readings, rehearsed reading of winning play, bookshop

OK, I’m fed up with table talk. You’ll find the details on the Events page of the Segora website, even though they’re not in efficial and officient table format.

In Maggie’s writing workshop, entitled ‘The View from Here’, we’ll use memory, pictures and imagination to explore the relationship between character and location. It’s suitable for new and professional writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and drama.

That’s you, isn’t it?

And if you’re intrigued by the book launch (as you should be), it’s Jocelyn’s new poetry collection, Tickling the Dragon, from which she’ll be reading extracts. You can find out more on the publisher’s website here.

Finally, because you’re as enthusiastic about the Segora Celebration Weekend as I am, I’ll let you come to the restaurant with Maggie & me. Ask Jocelyn about booking a place at Le Cheval Blanc, La Forêt-sur-Sèvre on the Saturday evening at 7:30pm.

(I must try to be serious and studious, unlike at last year’s meal).

By the way, the winners of the Segora International writing competitions – those writers we’ll be celebrating along with Maggie Butt’s presence – will be announced on the Segora website in August. Hopefully we’ll get to meet some of them too.

Now all I’ve got to do is remember those burning questions I had for Maggie. Oh, and buy a new frock. If I don’t find one, I suppose there’s always the roll of dustbin liners.

See you soon at Segora on Saturday 14thSeptember.

(just practising alliteration, ready for the workshop… Shame the date wasn’t the seventh.)

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