Tag Archives: form

Ali Smith, The Baileys, and what lies beneath…

Congratulations to Ali Smith on winning The Baileys with How To Be Both. I recommend the interview with her in The Guardian, illuminating on many fronts. As someone who has just written an essay on form for a forthcoming on-line ‘special’ for New Welsh Review, and whose mind has been deliciously engaged for weeks on storytelling across  genres, I read her thoughts on narrative avidly.

I was particularly struck with a passage about what she coined ‘the not-said’ – the undertow, the subtext, what lies beneath:

‘This seems to me to be what narrative does all the time, beautifully. As we are reading, what really gets us is the undertow: what is not being said. The not-said is so ferocious. lt is important. Which is why Henry James is such a master, because the not-said is always pressing against the surface of the prose, and we can feel it in our skin, we can feel it in our bodies; it is physical, a physical pressure in narrative.’

I love this, her insistence on the corporeality of storytelling, the tangible impact good writing can have on our bodies…. Something we can all aspire to.

Playing with form – Birmingham Literature Festival October 5th 2013


I’m delighted to be presenting a workshop at Birmingham Literature Festival this October, in association with the Capital Theatre Festival. I’m Birmingham-Irish, so it’s an added pleasure to be back in the old concrete city, working. Details of the workshop follow:

Workshop: Playing with Form with Kaite O’Reilly October 5th 2013 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

An exploration of some approaches and techniques that can be applied to creating plays and performance texts. From different starting points such as Classic Greek texts to Japanese aesthetics, from solo writing to co-creating – a lecture-demonstration with practical elements considering different forms, processes, and dramaturgies to create theatre. The workshop will draw on practical examples from Kaite O’Reilly’s version of Aeschylus’s ‘Persians’ and the collaborative ‘Told by the Wind’ (The Llanarth Group), amongst other productions.

Start: October 5, 2013 2:00 pm

End: October 5, 2013 4:30 pm

Venue: Room 103, Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND United Kingdom


Full details of the festival, including readings by Carol Ann Duffy, go to: http://www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org/