Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Roshi Fernando at Writers in the Brewery 25 November 2010
This evening celebrated National Short Story Week.
Roshi's first book, Homesick, a composite novel featuring inter-linked short stories about Sri Lankan immigrants in the UK, was published in September this year. She is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Swansea and writing a novel. She won the Impress prize for new writers in 2009.
Roshi gave the brave few who ventured out on a bitterly cold evening a fascinating insight into her work. She said that she had been trying to work on a metafiction (fiction about the nature of literature) novel, which wasn't working well, so she tried her hand at short stories. Some of these worked really well. She was influenced by the way immigrants cling to aspects of their own culture, often observing traditions that are neglected in their country of origin. After one of her stories won the Impress prize, an agent wanted to see her work and after much hard work she was published.
At first she was pleased but then found it awkward when stories that had been private were in the public domain, getting attention. This was especially embarrassing with stories that had sex in them. Her editor found the book was sad and Roshi realised that it was because of the issues she raised in it. She does not intend writing another 'issues' book in the immediate future. Now she has been recognised as a writer, she finds it something of a mixed blessing, although it does offer her opportunities. For instance, she has been invited to speak at a literary festival in Galle Literary Festival(Sri Lanka) about Freedom of Speech in Sri Lanka.
She produced some hints for aspiring writers.
- Winning a literary prize is a good way of getting noticed!
- Use disparate elements to make a good story (e.g. she wrote one about a mute Muslim boy who was a fan of Charlie Chaplin).
- When a story gets stuck, put some movement into it.
- Make sure you do enough research.
After Roshi, some local writers read some of their work - unusually (possibly as a reflection of National Short Story Week) there was only one poem. I read, No Bed of Roses, a short ghost/horror story that seemed to horrify the audience. Well, someone had to lower the tone.
Roshi on Amazon
Some previous Writers in the Brewery evenings
Mac McFadden at Writers in the Brewery 28 October 2010
Skip Walker at #WritersintheBrewery
#WritersintheBrewery 27 May 2010 Nigel McLoughlin
Writers at the Brewery April 2010
Jenny Jones at #WritersintheBrewery 25 March 2010
Cherry Gilchrist at #WritesInTheBrewery
Sue Chad at Writers in the Brewery 28 Jan 2010
Writers in the Brewery Nov and Dec 2009 review
Writers in the Brewery Writer's workshop
About Writers in the Brewery
27 Jan 2011 - John Richardson
24 Feb 2011 - Anna Saunders
31 Mar 2011 - Arthur Cunyngham
28 Apr 2011 - Simone Mansell Broome