Friday, 15 January 2010

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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Cathy Forde: Virtual Writing In Residence

As you all know, Cathy Forde is our current Virtual Writer In Residence. Here is her blog offering this month. Don't forget to check out her creative writing tasks on our Virtual Writer in Residence pages!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the holidays left you refreshed and not frazzled and I really, really hope you haven’t spent hours queuing up in M&S or H&M to take back gifts you didn’t want in the first place.

Just the thought of post-Christmas sales is enough to make me shudder, although I did brave Frasers’ in Glasgow yesterday….For about five minutes. One glimpse at the feeding frenzy in the shoe department was enough to send me fleeing back down into the Underground like an acrophobic mole.
I’ve actually had a really lovely – and musical - Christmas with my family. On Christmas Eve I went with my mum and my husband to a packed-out Christmas Mass in St Peter’s (Partick in Glasgow, not Rome) which was conducted almost entirely by the light of candles set around the church and held by the congregation. It was magical, and at the end of the service all the children in the church played along to carols on instruments they’d brought. That wasn’t magical but it worked! My elder son was playing jazz in Brel, a pub nearby, so I saw out Christmas Eve listening to both my sons and their friends in the company of my mum and my husband. I think it’s been one of the best Christmases I’ve had for ages. I even got good presents, including an amazing live Sam Cooke album from my elder son, and a tambourine from my younger.

A recommendation from Marion at Scottish Book Trust felt like another present. I read through all the books the Scottish Book Trust team suggested for famous people on their website and fancied the novel Marion would give Bono so much, I bought it.

What a brilliant book The Other Hand by Chris Cleave is. So thank you for your unexpected gift, Marion! I love books that feel real and that you can’t stop thinking about and that you want to tell your friends to read.

By the time this blog is posted, I will be in the middle of development for my play EMPTY which debuts in the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on 16th March and then tours Scotland. I am really excited at the prospect of seeing my script transformed into flesh and bone in front of my eyes, although I know I am going to be on the steepest learning curve of my life. I had a little taster of what’s ahead when my second play, The Sunday Lesson was unexpectedly given a development day with professional actors at The Playwright’s Studio in Glasgow just before Christmas. After nine hours of reworking, rewriting and rehearsal the actors read the play to the producers of A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, and as a result it’s going to be included in their Spring programme. I think that’s the best surprise Christmas present I have ever had!

You can see a video of Cathy presenting her latest creative writing task, and previous ones, one our website.

Other news:

If you missed the wonderful adaptation of Julia Donaldson's and Axel Scheffler's The Gruffalo over Christmas don't panic - you can watch it on the BBC iPlayer this week. We loved it!

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness has just won the Costa Children's Book Award.

Louis Sachar, author of the children's classic Holes, will have a new book out in May this year. The Cardturner is his first new book in four years.

If you spent Christmas snuggled up with lots of books and are now wondering what to read, why not take a look at our latest Teen Hit List - Books That Rock!