Issue Five of Beautiful Scruffiness popped into my inbox this morning. There’s a link at the end of this blog post! Editor Katie Metcalfe is I think, one of the good guys, and an enthusiastic contributor to the literary scene in Northern England…… and to the boldy gone to beyond!

Another good guy is Laura, who has been producing the posters for Carlisle’s fiction fiesta (with added poetry), Litcaff, at Merienda bar/cafe in Treasury Court. Hosted by Darren Harper with a little help from BHDandMe, this takes place every third wednesday of the month, or, as some prefer it, on the third wednesday of the month. The posters, by the way, may become I think, collector’s items, being produced in low numbers, and having a very short shelf life! The next LitCaff will be on November 21st, with a pre-Christmas bash on December 19th!

October’s LitCaff was the 6th, so a half-year landmark. Around forty of us enjoyed a blend of prose and poetry, including some poetic prose, and some narrative poetry, from the Annie Foster, Andy Hopkins, Nick Stanley, and Margaret Whyte, all veterans of the old Speakeasy in Denton Holm. LitCaff to a large extent was set up to fill the gap left by Nick Pemberton’s poetry driven event, which I hope, bit by bit, it will do! Local writers Edna Croft and Geoff Smith were among the readers, as were Neil Robinson and John Nevinson of the Carlisle Writers Group. There was also a strong Scottish contingent, with visitors Angus McMillan, Davie Douglas and John Horn from Dumfries and Galloway, and LitCaff regular Peter Grant from Moffat. Members of my own Facets of Fiction workshops read too: Helen Fletcher, and Hazel Stewart, along with a powerful story of the Solway Gods in Roman times from Hugh Thomson, read by Darren Harper. We even had a musician (Wayne!) sneak in under the radar to give us two great acoustic guitar vocals, which went down well!

Not only a performance event, my hope is that Litcaff provides a great centre for writers throughout the region to get together and chat, share ideas, and put their work in front of an audience that knows what they are doing, and what might be done!

Good guys a plenty will be reading (and being read) at Maryport Litfest, which takes place at the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport 2nd to 4th November. BHDand Me will be hosting a poetry lunch on the Saturday – so a rare chance to hear the Me half read a poem or two (probably the former) – an Open Mic session starting at 12.30 and continuing into the afternoon as long as we have readers to read! Come along and enjoy; read, listen, or both!

On the Sunday I’m running a morning workshop for fictioneers: Killing Your Darlings, will look at what I hope are some useful ideas on how to approach the thorny ( or smooth skinned) issue of self-editing and re-drafting. This two hour session (10.00am to 12.00noon) will be expanded to a much more in-depth day workshop out at Curthwaite on Saturday 1st December. (Look on the Workshops page for details).

Sunday evening at Maryport sees an evening of short fiction performed by members of the Facets of Fiction workshops – which have been running at Curthwaite for several years now – and of the Maryport Writers Group. The reading kicks off at 7.00pm and picks up the festival theme of Gods and Ancestors – tricky critturs at the best of times!

The snail-trail-mail inbox remained empty this week, but expected, daily and with ‘bated breath, will soon contain the current issue of Sentinel Literary Quarterly – which does what it says on the tin, or rather the cover, and contains (stand by for trumpet voluntary on own trumpet) an essay by Mike on using detail in short fiction. SLQ, in addition to publishing the quarterly journal and anthologies of poetry, and prose fiction, runs competitions throughout the year for both poetry and prose. Worth checking out on the link below.

Those who have been ear-bent by my enthusiasm for the almost forgotten English short story master A.E.Coppard might like to avoid Thresholds, the International Postgraduate Short Story Forum, which recently featured an article by Me on ‘The Higgler’, arguably Coppard’s most famous story.

To finish this bitty blog, I’ll make reference to Vimeo, which now boasts – if that’s the right word – ten assorted stories and poems by BHDandMe, read by, well, BHDandMe. More to come too…..