Make Hay while the Sun Shines
I’m not one to normally write in clichés or proverbs but I felt this title to the blog apt as it works on many levels. To explain: I have recently come back to earth after a wonderful 11 days at the Hay Festival. I was fortunate to be selected as one of the Hay Writers At Work cohort for 2018 – 20 writers who write in English and Welsh, across a range of genres, who came together to learn from each other and the wealth of talent that was made available to us. Writers such as Roddy Doyle, Ian McEwan, Cathy Rentzenbrink and Tashina Doshi came to our very own ‘tent’ and were generous with their knowledge and insights into all things writing. So too were the numerous Agents and Publishers who informed and enthused us with trends and publishing models, traditional and modern, print and online. And then there were the performances by established artists and us ‘emerging’ writers. It was such a privilege to be part of it all.
This programme is unique in the world and I would like to applaud the organisers and funders for recognising that ‘young’ writing has nothing to do with age. The programme is designed to give opportunity to writers at a particular stage in their writing journey who would benefit from the cross-fertilisation of ideas and insights into the publishing industry.
For me this was perfect timing. Having finished the academic journey and gained my PhD, I now have 2 short story collections completed and ready to go as well as a novel in progress. Now all I have to do is capitalise on the doors that have been opened to me and try to win both an agent and a publishing contract. No easy task, I know, but I feel better equipped and for the first time think of myself as a real writer.
I was left with the wise words of the multi-faceted Welsh writer, Owen Sheers, who said: “None of us knows how much more time we have on this earth. We need to decide what we want to write and how we want to write it.” Hence the title to this blog!
So thank you Hay Writers At Work 2018. I’m on the case, fired-up and raring to go. I know this is just the beginning of the next stage of my writerly journey. And I know you’ll be with me all the way!
(Image by Joseph Albert Hainey)