West Port Book Festival: David Gaffney and Hannah McGill

17 10 2011

WPBF Event: Hannah McGillPeter Bell’s Books was the venue for Sunday’s Short Story Hour. Reading first was Review Show regular, critic and writer, Hannah McGill. Her fiction is a delicately balanced mix of poetic phrases and story telling; you find yourself drawn into her reading.

Coming across as more nervous in front of the closely-packed twenty people as when I’ve seen on television, she nevertheless delivered her reading expertly and without question.

Also reading was David Gaffney, the superb author of flash and longer fiction books such as Sawn-Off Tales and Aromabingo, and the author of the newly available, The Half-Life of Songs.

WPBF Event: David GaffneyGaffney’s fiction is engaging and striking from the start—it has to be as most of the stories he deals with are around 150 words long—but it’s his ability to capture the nuances of human nature in every day situations, to tell a fully plotted story or deliver a funny tale with such an acute turn of phrase, that makes his brand of fiction stand out.

Immediately engaging with his audience as he read from Sawn-Off Tales, he showed why he is an expert at delivering great live readings to back up the excellent books he writes.

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James Tait Black Memorial Prize

19 08 2011

The James Tait Black prize is the oldest prize of its kind in the world. It is also the only one given by a University for works of biography and fiction.

This year’s ceremony was chaired by Sally Magnusson and filmed before a large audience inside the RBS Main Tent.

Hilary Spurling took the biography prize for her work, Burying the Bones, taking to the stage very emotional and admitting it was the achievement that had sparked the tears, but also that, “I became a grandmother earlier today so that might have something to do with too.”

In fiction, the winner was Tatjani Soli for her work, The Lotus Eaters. Promising not to cry, she said: “The lineage of the James Tait Black Prizes speaks for itself, and I am humbled and so proud to be part of it.”