At the end of March, I will be reading as part of "Brexit: And Now What?" at the Literaturhaus in Berlin:
Brexit »And Now What?«
7.30 pm – midnight
Tickets: 7 € / 4 €
An event in English
Who, if not contemporary writers, are better qualified to reflect on the absurd, the utopian and the dystopian implications of Brexit? Who better to riff on the intentionally and unintentionally amusing, the realer than real and the weirdly surreal? In the run-up to midnight, when Britain is set to officially leave the EU, join us at the Literaturhaus Berlin to grieve, commiserate and attempt — with a pinch of black British humour cut with courage and cynicism — to find comfort and new beginnings in literature, music and art. Throughout the night, an exciting lineup of writers will respond to Brexit and tackle the question “And Now What?”, with featured authors including Priya Basil, Patricia Duncker, Ben Fergusson, Alec Finlay, Jo Frank, Lucy Jones, Scott Martingell, Kate McNaughton, Jacinta Nandi, Alistair Noon, Musa Okwonga and Paul Scraton. Take part in a fully immersive evening that celebrates the imperviousness of British literature and culture to borders and customs administration. Anglophiles of all nationalities are in for a night of readings, music from the band BBXO and discussion, as well as typewritten, specially commissioned texts from Yael Inokai, Daniela Dröscher, Christian Dittloff und Paula Fürstenberg, members of the writers’ collective Literatur für das, was passiert, and work from the Berlin-based artist and filmmaker Clemens Wilhelm. Fueled by British refreshments, there’s no reason not to keep calm and carry on till midnight.
Write Your Book: Planning, Starting and Sustaining Your First Manuscript
In May I will be running a day-long workshop for The Reader Berlin on novel writing:
This day-long seminar is aimed at anyone who is writing – or has ever thought about writing – a novel. What are the shortcuts, tips and tricks to get you started and keep you going?
Whether you’re struggling to generate ideas, unsure of where to begin or confused about whether your expanding short story may actually be a book, this seminar will offer clarity, inspiration and practical insights into starting, sustaining and structuring your first novel.
In this seminar, we will talk about how great novels start and what the first line, page and chapter of a good novel need to contain. We will then look at strategies for dealing with the difficulties of turning a first chapter into a sustainable narrative. We will begin by looking at how successful second chapters work, and go on to explore different ways of developing character profiles and plots. We will also look closely at the opportunities and limits that different narrative voices offer us, trying our hand at writing different approaches and exploring what effect this has on our stories.
Throughout the seminar, there will be plenty of opportunities to draft, develop and discuss your own ideas, using practical tools to help think through characterisation, structure, plot and style. Ideal for anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel, this workshop is an essential guide to completing your first (or second) manuscript, all in a friendly and supportive environment.
The seminar will end with a Q&A, during which you can ask all about the process of writing and publishing a novel. Ben will also take a look at the publication process, and discuss what agents and publishers will be looking for once you have a finished draft and are ready to pitch.
To sign up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben will be reading and chatting with writer Kate McNaughton and translator Lucy Jones at Ausland in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, on 21 June.
Lychenerstraße 60, 10437 Berlin
21. June 2018 – 8:30 pm
Open from 8:00 pm
(Start 8:30 pm)
Admission: 5 EUR
Kate McNaughton was born and raised in Paris and now lives in Berlin. She read English and European Literature at Cambridge and filmmaking at the European Film College in Denmark. As well as a writer, she is also a documentary filmmaker and translator.
Lucy Jones was born in England and has lived in Berlin since 1998 where she co-runs Transfiction, a translators’ collective. She has translated novels by Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Ronald Schernikau and Brigitte Reimann, among others. She also writes book reviews for German literature in English at CULTurMAG and Word Without Borders and presents The Fiction Canteen reading series for Berlin writers, poets and translators. https://fictioncanteen.blog/
The event will be simultaneously translated.
On 7 November 2017, Beth Underwood was announced as the winner of the HWA Debut Crown. I was delighted to be one of the judges, alongside chair Emma Darwin and fellow judges Ayo Onatade, Susan Heads and Sunny Singh. Underwood's "terrifying and utterly convincing" The Witch Finder's Sister was selected as the best historical fiction debut of the previous year. The rest of the incredibly strong shortlist was made up of Emily Bitto's, The Strays, Sarah Day's, Mussolini's Island, Martin Holmén's, Clinch, Abir Mukherjee's, A Rising Man, and finally James Terry's, The Solitary Woman of Shakespeare.
You can read more about the debut crown here hwacrowns.co.uk/hwa-debut-crown/
is an award-winning novelist, editor and translator, living between London and Berlin. He currently teaches at the University of Potsdam.