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Or should that be, Reading as Writers? While not the opposite ends of a telescope there’s little doubt that writing can help you to become a better reader and reading, to be a better writer.

Mike Smith is running a six week course, starting on September 11th (7.00pm-9.00pm) at Darren Harper’s Carlisle Philosophical and Literary Society (Room 8, Fisher Street Galleries, Carlisle, UK), called Reading As A Writer. Using extracts from published texts, we’ll look at ‘close reading’ and what we mean by it, and examine how single words, sentences, paragraph breaks and chapters in longer works do their jobs, and what those jobs might be. We’ll also consider how the passage of time in fiction tries to re-create in words the experience of time passing in real life – and how different storytelling forms differ in their handling of time.

Course Fees:

£54 full

£43 over 60

£27 students/benefits

Booking via



And largely because it’s been such a busy week…Not least because I’ve been putting together two collections for publication (one poetry, one essays), and beginning the process of drafting out three more course for Carlisle’s Phil & Lit Society – which you will have heard of by now, I expect.


Two of the courses won’t be entirely new. Starting on Monday, April 9th (7.00pm-9.00pm) will be a ‘Continuation’ Creative Writing course, for those already writing who are looking for in depth feedback on work in progress, along with a sideway glance each week at one of those ‘Facets of Fiction’ that we find in almost every example of story writing that we encounter.


On Tuesday 10th (1.00pm-3.00pm) I’ll be running another Beginners course in Short Story writing, focussing on those ‘Facets’ – Locations, Beginnings, Middle and Endings, Narrators and Characters, the grist to the mill of every short story writer. By the end of ten weeks my aim is to have all course members regularly writing, and thinking about what it is they have to tell us!


Thursday mornings, from April 12th (10.00am-12.00 noon) will see a new course, Reading As A Writer – that should knock the fun out of it! This will focus on what we can learn from reading published and other writing and will draw on writers from a variety of literary cultures, and times. It should also help practising writers to read their own work more attentively.


All three course run for 10 weeks, and are based at the Carlisle Phil & Lit Society, Room 8 Fisher Street Galleries, in Carlisle, England! Details and booking from Darren Harper at or by e-mail to:


Those two collections, by the way, are the poetry sequence Martin? Extinct? And the collection of essays, Take Two, on the way that adaptations often seem to change the agendas of their originating stories.  Watch this space, as they say, for further details.