Saturday, 26 September 2015

Scottish Pen

What? Two blogs in two consecutive days?

Well, I had to share this.

Driving along to attend the Scottish Pen AGM, my first as a new member, I was listening to the wireless.  While watching the road and driving carefully, I learn this amazing fact from BBC Radio 3. Maybe my ignorance, but did you know that that sequence of numbers is in all of nature, a pattern to every structure? That even the  number of petals in a flower invariably is in Fibonacci numbers sequence. 'Fibonacci the 13th C Italian mathematician, his 1202 book Liber Abaci introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics,'( Wiki) but even more surprising was this fact. It was not mathematicians who discovered the sequence of numbers but  it was musicians in India. They discovered that these numbers count the different combination of rhythms that one can make. So they solved the problem of how many rhythms one can make with long and short beats. Flowers, nature, maths, Mozart and the Masons, the Pentagram, the Golden Ratio, I got so much more from this wonderful programme. Here is a link to the programme:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06b8c23

Here's a Fibonacci flower pattern:
I drove over to the Mitchell Library, a beautiful building so accessible to all and with such helpful staff. I got the two books on the Man Booker long list and then made my way to the Glasgow Room where the AGM was held. The room transported me mediately to my grandpa's and my dad's study filled with bookshelves heaving with old leather bound books. It evoked memories. The smell of turning the pages of old, precious books, yellowed with time and carefully maintained in India by chasing away the the tiny critters that used to devour the pages if one was not careful.

It was good to see some familiar faces, Anne Clarke, Moira Mc Partlin, Sue Reid Sexton, Fiona Rintoul, Jean Rafferty( I had met her only on Tuesday!). But the highlight for me was to meet Robin Lloyd-Jones, the first adjudicator of my work whose words 'Everyone can start a novel, make sure you complete it' spurred me on to become a writer. Winning that trophy at Strathkelvin Writer's Group, that Robin gave me, was the first step that encouraged me to believe in myself. His words today made it even better when this great writer said, 'I see your progress and it warms my heart.' Made me feel so humble.

As for the writing fraternity in Scotland? They are all so warm, welcoming and so inclusive. I feel blessed to be in a country that not only fights for freedom of expression, but makes even the most hesitant, new writer feel worthy. The work of the Scottish Pen is admirable and the volunteers so passionate about freedom of expression, that they work tirelessly to achieve this goal all over the world. I feel so honoured to be accepted as one of the new members of this illustrious organisation.

After all the AGM work, chaired ably by Drew Campbell, we were witness to Moira McPartlin's hard work as we listened to readings from the International Women's Group, Maryhill.


The final item was a fascinating talk on Translation by Allan Cameron of Vagabond Voices.

All in all a Saturday that was enjoyable, informative and inspiring.


Friday, 25 September 2015

September/October

I've had a busy and good time the whole of August and September. Apart from the ones that I have mentioned in the last update, I attended a few more author events and a book launch at the Project Cafe. Glasgow is brimming with Literary events that one has the luxury of picking and choosing the ones that you wish to attend.

My birthday went off in a quiet fashion just as I wanted, a year older, so need to work harder to get projects completed. We saw the film '45 Years' both Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay were superb but the story was rather bleak.

I was thrilled to win a book token at the new Waterstone's Byres Road on its opening night draw. It is a lovely new store and I hope it is busy and sells all the books that people want to read. I bought three books with my gift card and enjoyed reading two of them.

 The shop has a wonderful cafe and it will be a success as it is close to the University and right in the heart of the West End. As you can see in the photo, local writers are feted and it will be used to launch a lot of local writers and be supportive of their work.

I was invited to write a wee short story for a charity about WW1 and WW11. I thought that it was a great opportunity to highlight the tremendous sacrifice by the Indian army, which lost nearly 70, 000 sepoys/soldiers in the Great War. I was surprised that even learned friends of mine, writers too, were unaware of the scale of the participation and loss of lives in the Indian Army. I am yet to hear when the anthology will be published. Soon I hope.

I visited my local Lillie Art Gallery with a fellow writer friend for a local exhibition mid September and we followed it up with a nice coffee and chat. One learns so much more about what is happening around the writing fraternity during these informal chats.

The Bloody Scotland Weekend reminded me how I have lagged behind in my writing the next novel. I must get settled into writing it in the disciplined way as I did with novel 1 and 2. Maybe the fact that it is a different genre makes me a bit hesitant. I need to get the first draft down and not get distracted by writing short stories and poems.

The Scottish Writer's Centre had a wonderful event with Sally Evans and it was a pleasure to hear her prolific work,  the way she organises the Callander Week and publishing the Poetry Scotland magazine. Here is a link to the blog by Scott .C.Morrison on that evening.  :

On 22nd September there was the Inaugural Lecture on Creative Writing by Professor Louise Welsh. It was such an informative and memorable evening. Meeting some of the writers and connecting with people is so good as writing is a lonely profession.

The Scottish Pen AGM is on 26th at the beautiful Mitchell Library.



October sees a host of Book and Art Festivals. East Dumbartonshire is having its own Book and Arts Festival( 10th - 23 rd October) mainly in the libraries, with authors like Chris Brookmyre, Jess Smith and Nicola Morgan at various events. I look forward to attending a few, though I must say almost every friend asks for the old Milngavie Book Festival which was superbly run by Susan Frize from the Bookshop and ably assisted by a host of volunteers including the hard working project manager Alison Hughes.  Here is a link to her work as a translator: www.alisonhughes-translations.co.uk

Well, October is the start of the Indian festival season that culminates in Diwali in November, so it will be a busy month dispelling the dark nights that will soon be upon us. Halloween and Guy Fawkes will also brighten up the days. Enjoy them all. 


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