The first Story Forum at Lancaster’s Novel Cafe on New Street took place last night. The do kicked off with a reading by Steve Longstaffe of BHD’s Scottish fantasy ‘The Sweetest Sound’. It’s always exciting to hear someone read your work – to find out what it is, or might be!

There followed a Penny Forum of the subject of the Present Tense (isn’t it), with Eliza Mood, Simon Baker and Hendryck Korzeniowski, who each gave a five minute response to the theme. The Present Tense won by a short head, being favoured by a small but misguided majority!

I had to leave at that point in time to collect my daughter from Carlisle station (and to witness a bunch of police officers struggling to subdue a suspect – all the grist to the writer’s mill!), but my guess is that the flash fictions that rounded off the evening went down well!

The venue is just right for this sort of event, and the place was packed. I think Mollie Baxter will have a winner on her hands there, and wish her lots of luck with it. I plan to attend future events if possible. The whole shebang was in support of Back & Beyond, a new publication for the arts in Lancaster (, and beyond – which is, I guess, my part of the world! The first issue is bursting with poetry, prose and comment from local writers. Let’s hope there are more!

Congratulations Mollie!