Jane Rusbridge Author of The Devils Music and Rook
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Let’s Get Digital: Social Networking and Digital Marketing for Writers

London Writing Workshops

20th October workshop: LET’S GET DIGITAL: SOCIAL NETWORKING AND DIGITAL MARKETING FOR WRITERS

Novelist Jane Rusbridge – The Devil’s Music  (Bloomsbury 2009) and ROOK  (Bloomsbury Circus 2012)and PR expert Lucy Middleton on how to negotiate the highways and byways of new media to connect with new readers. More details to follow.

 

 

OTHER LONDON WRITING WORKSHOPS FOR  2012.

 

 

Saturday, 25 February 2012, 10.30am – 4pm.

CAPTURE NEW CHARACTERS. HEAR THEM SPEAK: Characterization and Dialogue

with Vicky Grut.

Novels and short stories that linger in the reader’s memory almost always have intriguing and complex characters at their heart. This enjoyable and highly practical one-day workshop explores different ways of creating compelling fictional characters, as well as ways of writing sharp, lively dialogue that will bring their voices alive on the page. Suitable for all levels of experience. Cost: £85 includes tea, coffee and a sandwich lunch. Group limit: 12

Saturday, 17 March, 10.30am – 4pm.

THE WRITERS’ WORKOUT: Inspiration for new fiction

with Vicky Grut

Another intensive day of writing exercises and prompts designed to recharge your creative batteries in a supportive environment. Come along and rustle up some new inspiration for the Spring. Suitable for all levels of experience. Cost: £85 includes tea, coffee and a sandwich lunch. Group limit: 12

Saturday, 21 April 2012, 10.30am – 4pm.

SHAPING YOUR STORY: Narrative Structure

with Vicky Grut

A practical day of writing exercises and focused discussion for novelists and short story writers who want to explore story structure. Come along and experiment with different kinds of story shapes or bring an existing story outline and get feedback on work-in-progress in a supportive environment. Cost: £85 includes tea, coffee and a sandwich lunch. Group limit: 12.

ALSO…

Saturday, 26 May 2012, 10.30am – 4pm.

WRITING FROM LIFE – with ALEXEI SAYLE

and Vicky Grut

An opportunity to spend a day exploring the pleasures and pitfalls of drawing on real experiences with writer and comedian Alexei Sayle. Using a mix of discussion and practical writing exercises, we’ll look at ways of shaping characters from real people – including yourself; drawing inspiration from real places; creating story-lines; and the evocative power of sensory memories. This workshop will appeal to people interested in life writing, memoir or creative non-fiction, as well as those writing fiction based on real events.

Praise for Alexei Sayle’s recent memoir Stalin Ate My Homework: [This] ‘touching, elegantly written memoir stands out’ (Independent on Sunday); ‘Fascinating and hugely entertaining’(Daily Telegraph); ‘brilliant satires on modern life’ (Tim Lott, Independent); a book of ‘charm and substance, both as memoir and history’ (Times Literary Supplement).

Workshop leader Vicky Grut is the recipient of a number of short fiction awards, including the 2009 Asham Award (finalist) and the 2006 Chapter One International Short Story Prize (winner). Her stories have appeared in magazines and collections including Random Factor (Pulp Books, 1997), Reshape Whilst Damp (Serpent’s Tail, 2000), Valentine’s Day: Stories of Revenge (Duckworth, 2000), two volumes of the British Council anthology New Writing 13 (Picador, 2005) and NW14 (Granta, 2006), and Waving at the Gardener (Bloomsbury, 2009). She is a reader for the Literary Consultancy and has taught for Birkbeck College, the Open University and the Arvon Foundation. She teaches on the BA in Creative Writing at London’s South Bank University.

More Details can be found here

 

 

 

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Reading Group Meet-the-Author Evening

Do you belong to a Reading Group in or around Bognor? Why not get reading novels written by three award-winning authors, all of whom have strong local connections with West Sussex, then come along  to Bognor Library in March to join us for an fun and friendly evening of readings, conversation, and a chance to discuss your questions about the books.

DATE: 19th March 2012

TIME: 7.30pm

PLACE: Bognor Library

TICKET DETAILS: here

 

 

 

 

Gabrielle Kimm’s debut novel, His Last Duchess, was published by Little, Brown in 2010 and was long-listed for the RNA Novel of the Year. Her second novel, The Courtesan’s Lover, shortlisted for the Impress Prize, was released in November 2011. Gabrielle lives and works in Sussex.  As well as her writing, she is also an English teacher, and has taught in a number of local schools.  The Courtesan’s Loverthis passionate story resounds with historic truth and makes for a vibrant journey around the Naples of the past (Italia! magazine)

 

 

Isabel Ashdown’s debut novel Glasshopper was twice named in the press as one of the best books of 2009. Her second novel, Hurry Up and Wait, was published by Myriad in June 2011. Isabel grew up in East Wittering, and the Sussex Coast continues to be an important influence in much of her writing. Her prize-winning entry to the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition was described by judges Fay Weldon and John Mortimer as ‘magnificent’ (Glasshopper, 2009).

Jane Rusbridge, winner of the Philip Lebrun Prize, is published by Bloomsbury. Her first novel, The Devil’s Music, was nominated for the 2011 International IMPAC Literary Award. Her second, Rook, is set in Bosham and published in August 2012. The Rusbridge family has farmed in the local area for generations and Jane gains much of her inspiration for setting and atmosphere from the Wittering seascapes.  ‘A highly original, fresh, new talent of rare quality’ – The Lady

 

Books will be available to buy at the special event price of £5, signed by the authors.

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Sea Glass: The Story behind a Christmas Giveaway

 

Sea-glass is something we have probably all picked up at one time or another, if we’ve spent any time on a beach. I’ll pick up any pieces I spot on a walk along Wittering beach and, whenever I sit on the shingle, I’ll be raking my fingers through the pebbles, searching. After years of living near the sea with children, the collection of such ‘treasures’ along the shoreline has left me with an assortment of bottles filled sea-glass in various sizes and shapes, misty colours in shades of green, white and brown, as well as my favourite, the cobalt blue.

What is it that we find alluring about the chips of coloured glass? For me it’s the texture and colour, the connection with the sea and the mystery of where and what have they come from, these broken fragments rolled on the ocean’s bed for who knows how many years, smoothed and frosted by the motion of waves against sand and pebbles until they are in some way whole again. Sea glass invites the beachcomber to pause, to hold each piece up to the light and wonder at its origins, the story behind its journey. Sea-glass is rare, but not too rare, and it’s free. I’m sure I’m not alone in preferring sea-glass to diamonds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Harriet McAlonan and I came across each other on twitter – I can’t remember how, but I’m guessing it was through our shared passion for the sea. Browsing the  Sea Sparkle website, filled with beautiful bracelets, necklaces and earrings fashioned in silver with sea glass collected from Devon and Cornwall’s beaches, I bought some of Harriet’s delicate jewellery for myself and my daughters.

 

 

When Harriet read The Devil’s Music, she was inspired to make her own version of a bracelet the mother, Helen, receives at the end of the novel. The bracelet arrives in an envelope from Crete in a padded Jiffy envelope, and is in the form of a Celtic shield knot, which Helen takes as a clue it is a gift made by the son she has not seen since he was nine years old. I was delighted when Harriet sent me a picture of a similar bracelet she’d made, inspired by the knot work described in the novel. So, although Harriet’s bracelet is not yet available for sale, she and I have teamed together to offer a special Christmas Giveaway: Harriet’s Get Knotted necklace comes with a FREE signed copy of The Devil’s Music – for all those who, like us, love the sea.

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Meet the Chichester Book Club Authors:

Come and meet  Chichester Book Club authors Jane Rusbridge, Gabrielle Kimm and Isabel Ashdown at Bognor Library on March 19th, at  7.30pm.

Gabrielle Kimm, His Last Duchess, was published by Little, Brown in 2010 and long-listed for the RNA Novel of the Year. Her second novel, The Courtesan’s Lover , shortlisted for the Impress Prize, was released in November 2011. Gabrielle lives and works in Sussex.  As well as her writing, she is also an English teacher, and has taught in a number of local schools.

His Last Duchess (Sphere) is ‘ full of fascinating period detail and simmering with tension’ – Lancashire Evening Post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isabel Ashdown’s debut novel Glasshopper was twice named in the press as one of the best books of 2009. Her second novel, Hurry Up and Wait, was published by Myriad in June 2011. Isabel grew up in East Wittering, and the Sussex Coast continues to be an important influence in much of her writing.

 

Her prize-winning entry to the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition was described by judges Fay Weldon and John Mortimer as ‘magnificent’ (Glasshopper, 2009).

 

Jane Rusbridge’s first novel, The Devil’s Music (Bloomsbury, 2009) was nominated for the 2011 International IMPAC Literary Award. Her second, Rook (2012) is set in Bosham and explores the mystery surrounding Harold II burial place. The Rusbridge family has farmed in the local area for generations and Jane gains much of her inspiration for setting and atmosphere from the Wittering seascapes.

 

‘a highly original, fresh, new talent of rare quality’ – The Lady

 

 

 

 

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ROOK: coming 2012


Coming August 2012 . . .

A novel of such calibre whets the appetite for more’ – The Irish Examiner

Nora has come home to the Sussex coast where, every dawn, she runs along the creek path to the sea. In the half light, fragments of cello music crash through her mind, but she casts them out – it’s more than a year since she performed in public. There are memories she must banish in order to survive: a charismatic teacher with gold-flecked eyes, a mistake she cannot unmake. At home her mother Ada is waiting: a fragile, bitter woman who distils for herself a glamorous past as she smokes French cigarettes in her unkempt garden.

In the village of Bosham the future is invading. A charming young documentary maker has arrived to shoot a film about King Cnut and his cherished but illegitimate daughter, whose body is buried under the flagstones of the local church. As Jonny disturbs the fabric of the village, digging up tales of ancient battles and burials, the threads lead back to home and Ada and Nora find themselves face to face with the shameful secrets they had so carefully buried.

One day, Nora finds a half-dead baby bird in a ditch. She brings him home and, over the hot summer months, cradles Rook back to life.

Set in the ancient Sussex village of Bosham, Rusbridge’s mesmerising story of family, legacy and turning back the tides explores the mystery surrounding Harold II’s burial place, the hidden histories of the Bayeux Tapestry and connections forged through three women’s secrets and their stories, past and present.

‘A brilliant new voice’ Alison Macleod

 

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How Reading Modern Poetry Can Change Your Life: A Writing Exercise

If you’re looking for a starting point for writing, why not look again at a story which already exists? Take a family story, perhaps, or a myth, a fairytale or story from the bible, or maybe a well-known novel, and then retell it from another perspective, or a different character’s viewpoint. Choose a story which fascinates you, which draws you back to it, for whatever reason.

Jo Shapcott has done this with her poem, ‘Mrs Noah: Taken After the Flood’. She builds on a story we already know, giving Mrs Noah a voice and a previously untold story of her own. Though ‘The ocean/is only a memory’, Mrs Noah is haunted by sensual thoughts which surface, thoughts of ‘big paws which idly turn to bat the air’, of a ‘rough tongue, the claws, the little bites / the crude taste of his mane.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the whole poem, taken from 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem or How Reading Modern Poetry Can Change Your Life by Ruth Padel:  :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Wright, in his introduction to ‘The Best American Poetry 2008′, says poetry is ‘the fox under our shirts that gnaws away at our hearts’, a description which aptly captures the fierce intensity of poetic language. I often find that a poem will provide me with the inital spark for a story, with that image or idea which ‘gnaws away’.  Another poet whose work has struck a chord with me recently is Esther Morgan . I keep going back to her poem ‘Bone China’, from the collection, The Silence Living In Houses You can read the poem here.

You might like to choose a particular poem which you draws you back again and again. Or, you could try the following steps with ‘Bone China’, and see where they take you.

With the poem in front of you:

(1) Find sections of 1-3 lines which leap out at you.Write them down, or underline them.

(2) Break the 1-3 lines down into key words/phrases/images. Now, one by one, do a mind map of ideas, associations, memories, images, questions for EACH.

Give each mind map its own page and give yourself plenty of time. Let your mind roam. Keep going. Keep musing.

(3) Now… whose point of view or experience interests you most? Perhaps there is even someone on the edge of the text, connected in some way but not mentioned…

(4) Are you interested in creating a new version of the same ‘story’? (set in a different period, a different place?) Or perhaps a new ‘branch’ of the original story?

(5) Whose voice or which pov?

(6) Now write, quickly, for 10 minutes. See what unfolds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover Story: The Devil’s Music

 

 

At the Man Booker Prize ceremony, winner Julian Barnes thanked, among other people, the book’s designer, Suzanne Dean, saying: ‘Those of you who’ve seen my book – whatever you may think of its contents – will probably agree that it is a beautiful object.’  Across the cover of The Sense of an Ending float the seed heads of a dandelion, an evocative image which connects to a scene in the novel as well as to wider associations all of us have with time and its passing.  An image rich with suggestion – many of us have as children, or for children, blown a dandelion clock.

Many of us also, though we may own an ereader for practical reasons, still love to hold a Real Book in our hands. And, if we are writers as well as readers, nothing is quite like the moment when you see your own novel as a fully ‘dressed’ book for the very first time.

I find the hard back version of The Devil’s Music, designed by Sarah Morris at Bloomsbury using photographs taken by my daughter Natalie Miller, particularly beautiful. The photos were taken on West Wittering beach, just across the road from the green-roofed house where we lived for 18 years, until just  recently. It was a house filled with sand from children’s shoes, collections of pebbles and driftwood, wetsuits, surfboards and the sound of waves’ crash and suck, its windows encrusted with salt from the constant westerly wind – altogether a great place to bring up our five children, and an inspirational place in which to write. The setting for The Devil’s Music is the Sussex seaside, and a railway carriage house, like those we have along our stretch of coastline.

It varies from publisher to publisher how much say an author has in the design of their book, but when Bloomsbury talked of a photographic cover for The Devil’s Music, they were quite happy for us to send in some photos for the design team to have a look at. Natalie already had many shots of local seascapes in all moods and seasons, so we selected one or two of those. Then we went on the hunt for a railway carriage house with an owner who would allow us to take some pictures, and found one in suitable condition (not heavily restored or altered) just around the corner in someone’s back garden. Natalie also read the pivotal scene in the novel, which takes place on the beach, and then took my friend’s two boys for a photo shoot on the sand at low tide, along with an old bucket from the garden and some rope found as flotsam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for us, the design team loved Natalie’s photographs, and picked out several in their designs for each of the two covers. Above are some others she also sent along for consideration. If you look carefully at the hardback and paperback covers, you will notice the boys are different: the design team happened to choose two differents shots, one of each boy.

 

 

‘…immediately engaging for three main reasons: the subject matter (… a tragedy that blows a family apart) the coastal setting, which is strikingly evoked in all its weather-beaten savagery, and the language, which is consistently assured and precise.’

Review of The Devil’s Music by Susan Elliott Wright

You can read more reviews on Amazon and buy The Devil’s Music here

All photographs on this page by Natalie Miller

 

 

 

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Afternoon Tea at The Beach House

 

Join Chichester Book Club authors Isabel Ashdown, Gabrielle Kimm  and Jane Rusbridge for readings and conversation over afternoon tea at The Beach House in West Wittering.

Date: November 3rd

Time: 4pm

Place:   The Beach House, Rookwood Road, West Wittering, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 8LT Tel: 01243 514800 email: info@beachhse.co.uk

Cream teas: £4.75 for tea for one, 2 scones, clotted cream and jam Cakes: £2.95.

BUY THE BOOKS from The Beach House in advance and on the day at the special event price of £5.

About the authors:

Isabel Ashdown’s debut novel Glasshopper was twice named in the press as one of the best books of 2009. Her second novel, Hurry Up and Wait, was published by Myriad in June 2011. Isabel grew up in East Wittering, and the Sussex Coast continues to be an important influence in much of her writing. Her prize-winning entry to the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition was described by judges Fay Weldon and John Mortimer as ‘magnificent’ (Glasshopper, 2009).

Gabrielle Kimm’s debut novel, His Last Duchess, was published by Little, Brown in 2010 and long-listed for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year. Her second novel, The Courtesan’s Lover, shortlisted for the Impress Prize, is released in November 2011. Gabrielle lives and works in Sussex.  As well as her writing, she is also an English teacher, and has taught in a number of local schools.

His Last Duchess (Sphere) is ‘ full of fascinating period detail and simmering with tension’ – Lancashire Evening Post.

Jane Rusbridge’s first novel, The Devil’s Music (Bloomsbury, 2009) was nominated for the 2011 International IMPAC Literary Award. Her second, Rook (2012) is set in Bosham and explores the mystery surrounding Harold II’s burial place. The Rusbridge family has farmed in the local area for generations and Jane gains much of her inspiration for setting and atmosphere from the Wittering seascapes.

‘a highly original, fresh, new talent of rare quality’ – The Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the image for more details.


 

 

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The Funtington Literary Society

`A sharp expose of the devastating effects of the taboos that govern motherhood.’ Alison Macleod  (Shortlisted for the National Short Story Competition 2011)

The Funtington Literary Society have chosen The Devil’s Music as their 100th read and I’m delighted to be invited to their monthly meeting on Wednesday 26th October to discuss the novel and answer their questions.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a published author is talking with those who have read The Devil’s Music, listening to readers’ views and disagreements, answering questions when I can and, sometimes, having certain details pointed out to me that I hadn’t noticed or considered myself. One early reader of the hardback version, for example, told me he thought cat flaps were not invented in the 50s. I tried to find out whether or not they were, but as I couldn’t be sure, I had to edit the cat flap out of the paperback version.

Another example is readers’ reactions to Andrew, the main character. Many readers think of him as autistic, and some have congratulated me on my portrayal of an autistic man.  I, however, have never thought of him as autistic but as someone emotionally damaged. When, in one book club meeting, a clinical psychologist suggested Andrew suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, her diagnosis made complete sense – but I hadn’t worked it out for myself.

 

 

 

So, I’m looking forward to discovering which points the Literary Society will raise for discussion on the 26th!

Funtington Literary Society was founded in 2003 and meets monthly in members’ homes. The group is open to all who are interested in literature. Membership is free.

Buy The Devil’s Music direct from Bloomsbury for £4.95 here

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Guest Talk at The Windmill Studio, Littlehampton

‘explores, in finely wrought language, family secrets, impossible choices and the way memory  distorts and knots the truth’ Laura Wilkinson. Amazon 5*

The Devil’s Music is September’s book of the month for readers and book groups around Littlehampton and I’m looking forward to visiting  Inspire Leisure, at The Windmill studio, The Green, Windmill Road, Littlehampton, Sussex BN17 5LH on Tuesday 4th October to talk about the book.

Time: 6pm                            Cost: £2.50

I’ll be reading from The Devil’s Music, chatting about the inspiration behind it (the clue is the ball of string!) and answering readers’ questions.

If you’d like to read The Devil’s Music in advance, Bloomsbury are selling copies online for only £4.95 here

You’re more than welcome to come along and join the discussion.

Afterwards I will be signing copies of The Devil’s Music, which also will be available to buy at the special event price of £5.

Hope to see you there!