To my great delight this came through the door on Saturday. It is an invitation to the programme launch of the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the RSA.
‘Can you take a guest?’ asks my elder son.
‘Don’t think so.’
‘What would you want to go to that for anyway,’ snorts Dudman younger, ‘It’ll be full of people like her.’
Maybe so, but I can never resist an opportunity to visit London because I love the place so much.
I shall be taking a three hour workshop at the festival in October called ‘Writing Convincing Dialogue’ so very soon I shall be starting to think up exercises. I shall also be looking through my bookshelves for suitable passages to illustrate different styles: there are a couple that immediately spring to mind - one of the last chapters in Carol Shield's work LARRY'S PARTY - her characters are so well established by the end of the book that she doesn't have to attribute the speech at all, you know exactly who is talking by what they say and how they say it; and then there is a wonderfully affected character in LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE by Nancy Mitford who talks in a way that I love, but I shall be looking through my stash of less well-known writers too because there is plenty of mastery in the books at the back of the shop that never make it to the review sections of newspapers or the little piles on offer at the front. I shall also be dipping into publications from the independent publishing houses like the Tindal Street Press which give some good examples of regional accents, for example Grace Jolliffe's PIGGY MONK SQUARE in which the Liverpuddlian child narrator uses a convincing type of scouse.