It’s coming up to the end of the first week of the second online ebook festival. I’ve been marginally involved in it by offering what are called ‘workshops’ in comedy. In fact, we haven’t yet achieved the level of interactivity that constitutes what I’d describe as a workshop. Nonetheless, I’ve had suggestions from visitors about the sort of scenarios which are ripe with comic potential and, next Monday (19th August) I’ll be writing a summary of what we’ve done as well as quoting examples of sketches sent in by visitors. At the moment, I’ve only received one such sketch (thanks Angus) so I may have to supplement my examples with recordings of sketches and songs which I wrote and performed with my wife at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe many years ago.
But my bit is just a minor part of what’s been happening this week and if you haven’t yet visited, please do yourself a favour and dip into the programmes and events. I’d be very surprised if you didn’t find something there that really captured your imagination or stimulated your curiosity. Kathleen Jones has been hosting a real workshop on Life Writing, with volunteers sending in exercises for her comments and the comments, together with Kathleen’s own observations, add up to some great advice for would-be writers of memoirs or autobiographies. Two other hosts have been offering variety every day: Brendan Gisby, who’s in charge of the regular short story slot, which has featured contributions from authors on the theme ‘Being Scots’; and Roz Morris links to some very varied music tracks through her special angle on the ‘Undercover Soundtracks’ of different authors.
Catherine Czerkawska’s been writing about the mid-list and the changes in publishing over the past few years, Chris Longmuir’s in the middle of a comprehensive look at the whole crime genre and Dennis Hamley has been contributing a stunning series on ghost stories and the supernatural in writing. There’s also drama from the festival director, Cally Philips. (How she finds time to write it, plus a series on blogging, plus all the PR work, plus introductions to all the events, plus God knows how many other things, I’ll never know.) Today sees the last of Ingrid Ricks’ Advocacy residency, next week David Wailing will be the Sci-Fi writer in residence and there are two other residencies this weekend: Horror by Mari Biella and Travel Writing by Jo Carroll.
There’s also a very different late-night thread from Jian Qiu Huang in Australia called Conversations with the Universe. They’re thought-provoking and entertaining on the computer but if you’ve got an iPad, have a look at them on that.
And while I’m encouraging you to visit other places, here’s advance warning of an online party. It’s starting at 1am on August 21st and going on until 12pm on the 25th (Pacific Daylight Time, whatever that is), and it’s being organised by Awesome Indies. That’s a website which chooses and lists independently published books which reviewers have recognised as being of high quality. Of course, I would say that wouldn’t I because two of my books feature there? But their selection procedures are very rigorous and the aim is to help readers distinguish between books that are frankly substandard and those which are professionally produced and definitely worth reading. There’ll be quizzes, freebies, special offers and prizes as well as information about various aspects of indie publishing. The fact that it coincides with the final days of the Ebook Festival suggests it’ll be a busy time but it only takes a click to get there.