6th October 2015 Report

Tuesday 6th saw another good turn-out with a mix of members and visitors enjoying an informative and engaging talk by Charles Christian.

Charles’ central focus were on suspension of disbelief, both within one’s fictional world and with characterisation. Fantasy worlds possess rules that should not be ignored. More than mere syphors, good characters have warts as well as likable sides.Charles Christian1

In terms of plot devices, he advised against “jumping the shark” – no cheating the reader with sudden means of escape. Consistency should be maintained. People should not behave in ways that simply serve the plot. The bottom line: Neither destroy the magic nor make people unbelievable.

Questions & answers followed, including one or two relating to Charles’ expectations for the Cooper Prize. Entrants need to come up with a well rounded male protagonist with an emerging hidden skill or surprise element to their personality. Stories can take the form of flash fiction pieces or be up to 2000 words in length. For full guidelines please visit the Competitions page.

Anne Funnell kindly thanked Charles on behalf of the Circle.

This term, for £3 we are allowing non-members to enter our in-house competitions. Remember also that all competition entries recieve a critique by the adudicator.


Nature Writing and Other Passions

15th September: We welcome Patrick Barkham,  Guardian journalist and author of the best-seller, Badgerlands.

Born in 1975 in Norfolk and educated at Cambridge University, Patrick is a Natural History Writer. He has manned his post at The Guardian for ten years, reporting on everything from the Iraq War to climate change.

His first book, The Butterfly Isles, was shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize. His second, Badgerlands, was hailed by Chris Packham as “a must read for all Britain’s naturalists” and was shortliPBCoastlinessted for both the 2014 RSL Ondaatje Prize and the inaugural Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing.

Badgerlands won the best general non-fiction prize at the East Anglian Book Awards 2014. His latest book, Coastlines, was published this spring by Granta Books and explores our changing relationship with the seaside in what is the 50th anniversary of the National Trust’s Neptune campaign to save the British coast.

We look forward to Patrick’s talk: “Nature Writing and Other Passions”.