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New Writing from Twickenham

by on 14 November 2019

Buzzy Itchy Reality?

New Writing from Twickenham

Richmond Literary Festival at The Conservatory at The Exchange, Twickenham until 13th November.

Review by Eliza Hall

On a wet, cold evening over fifty young people, mostly undergraduates from the Creative Writing programme at St Mary’s University, along with an assortment of others, ranging from two graduates about to be published in 2020, to short course attendees and members of the public, gathered to listen and read.

It was noisy, buzzy, itchy. Some nervous about standing in public to read their private thoughts, others ready and keen to get started. It was an evening of prose, poetry and flash fiction. The lights in the Conservatory were perpetually altering in colour throughout the readings, just as the continuum of human emotions and experiences were constantly changing.


It seemed that everyone had something to say. Some writers expressed the real and the mundane whilst others conjured with the listeners’ sympathies and appreciation as they were plunged into the obscure, the magical, the humorous, the surreal. A myriad of meanings set in words, with cutting statements, some nightmarish moments, some crude and explicit, others read more delicately woven pictures of events and feelings.

Sometimes one could almost catch a glimpse of Proust through the kaleidoscope, or was it ‘Fleabag’? As the lights continued to change their colour, so there were expressions of loss, of love, reminiscences, of searching and of freedom. Cruel reality was mixed with pathos, charm and romanticism and reminiscences. The evening was a challenging mix of created images, imagined pictures, accepting loneliness, pain and life’s realities.

The evening drew to a close with two readings by two graduates whose books will be published in 2020. These were Molly Gartland’s The Girl from the Hermitage and Louise Fein’s People Like Us.

Such is the human condition and such is the power of the word. It was an evening of vibrant ideas being expressed by those who certainly had something to tell. It offered a secure platform on which to say in public what was important to the individual, as well as to showcase their course work and developing writing skills. There are promises of more evenings like this, if you want to sample, wonder or contribute!

Eliza Hall
November 2019

Photography by Agnieszka Studzinska

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