Mad, Bad & Sad

It’s rare that you get the chance to do a gig within walking distance of your home, so I’m looking forward to an easy stroll down to Ilkley Playhouse for “Mad, Bad and Sad” – an event which will explore the dark side of life (and fiction).

I’ll be sharing a stage with two other writers – my good friend, Mandy Sutter, and acclaimed debut novelist Clare Fisher – to give readings from our work and to discuss why so many writers, and readers, are drawn to stories which explore the sordid and the seedy, the grim and the gruesome, the traumatic and the tragic.

Mandy, winner of the 2016 New Welsh Writing Awards, is the author of two novels – Stretching It (2013) and Bush Meat (2017), three poetry pamphlets, most recently Old Blue Car (2015), and co-author of two non-fiction books about the lives of Somali women. Bush Meat was described by Booker-shortlisted Alison Moore as “atmospheric…wonderfully unexpected…disquieting, touching and darkly humorous.”

Clare’s first novel, All the Good Things, was published by Penguin last year – described as “a sparkly and unsettling debut” by The Guardian – and her collection of short fiction, How the Light Gets In, is out this month.

I’ll be reading excerpts from my own story collection, Letters Home (Comma Press, 2017), in which themes of loss, absence and isolation recur (not to mention death, violence, racism and depression). A cheery evening in prospect, then. The event will be chaired by local journalist and author Yvette Huddleston, the books editor of the Yorkshire Post, and there will be time for questions from the audience.

“Mad, Bad and Sad” is at 7.30pm on Wednesday June 13th, in the Wildman Theatre at Ilkley Playhouse. Tickets are £6 from the Playhouse box office and the venue advises advance booking, either online at www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or on 01943 609539. Here’s a direct link to the event page on the Playhouse website.

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