Lemonade & Writing Confessions

By Inés Gregory Labarta

8August_all_2This 7th of August Northwest Literary Salon was filled with surprising revelations. Naomi Kruger and Yvonne Battle-Felton, along with First Friday, Lit Fest and funds from Lancaster University contributed to create an unforgettable evening in the company of two accomplished writers, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Carol Birch.

The first guests arrived before 7pm and were welcomed with fresh lemonade by our kind volunteersmuch appreciated in such a warm day of August. More people gathered inside this gleaming space in Lancaster Central Library where Joe Gardiners guitar began to create a magic atmosphere. This talented musician performed his own songs I am sure we will hearing them on the radio soon.

Jennifer_speaking 1Jennifer read an extract of Kintu, her first novel, which as Naomi pointed out left us breathless due to its intensity and tension. Guests were lucky to get a signed copy of this unique novel which for the moment is not available in the UK.

Carol speaking_1Carol read an extract of her acclaimed novel Jamrach’s Menagerie followed by the first few pages of her next unpublished project Jo Baker offered another literary preview in the 3rd of July NWLS. Carols story has quite unusual protagonistsobjects. She explained that after losing her fathers book collection she realised how important objects are to us as they are linked to memories of moments and people.

Yvonne and Naomi led a lively discussion in which we discovered what I am sure relaxed all the writers in the audience. Both Jennifer and Carol confessed never being completely satisfied with the editing of their novels including the published ones. Carol even showed her own copy of Jamrach’s Menagerie where she had notes added on pencil for her readings. Jennifer also gave advice on how to balance research and writing in a creative project.
The Northwest Literary Salons are much more than a fun Friday evening. You could meet here the new members of your book club, a writing pal or perhaps who knows your own muse

Get a flavour of the evening by checking out a short video here and dont miss the next NWLS on the 4th of September!


Gothic Tales & Twitter Stories

By Inés Gregory Labarta

September is around the corner but the Summer is not over yet there is still fun to be had! The next Northwest Literary Salon is going to take place in Lancaster on the 4th of September, thanks to First Friday initiative, Lit Fest and funds from Lancaster University. Come at 7pm to Waterstones where our lovely hostesses Naomi and Yvonne will introduce to you two intrepid writers, Kate Horsley and Paul McVeigh.


Kate Horsley was born in England but crossed the oceans to move to Boston, where she studied at Harvard University and lived for almost a decade before her childhood dreams of being a writer began to haunt her and she ‘abandoned truth for fiction.She did her MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University where she wrote her first novel The Monster’s Wifewhich was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year. If Frankenstein is one of your favourite books and you like dark stories set in the Highlands, you probably want to come and meet Kate

image by Roelof Bakker
image by Roelof Bakker

Paul McVeighs first novel, The Good Son, is set in his home city Belfast during the Troubles and has been recently shortlisted for The Guardian ‘Not the Booker prize’. He has written plays, comedy shows and he is a master in the art of short stories. Feeling curious? You can find them in his famous blog and even listen to one Tickleshere. Paul is involved in several literary projects such as the London Short Story Festival and Word Factory. Above all he confesses to feel a passion for writing Realismto make the page come alive, to be as believable as possible.  

Kate and Paul are enthusiastic authors who will bring fascinating stories and useful advice for writers. You can ask Kate about creating tortured characters or a believable historical atmosphere, and Paul can give you tips for writing short stories on twitter or creating a successful blog. Come this 4th of September to the Northwest Literary Salon to meet other fellow artists and avid readers from across all age groups and all over the world while enjoying the live music and locally catered food.

Feed your creative needs and keep celebrating Summer!

The Call of the Wild

By Inés Gregory Labarta

August is here. Long days, ice-cream, and chasing the sun… Dont you feel in need of a little escapade? You could visit Jamrach’s Menagerie – but remember to be careful with the majestic tigers and komodo dragons. You could also time travel to 1754 to drop by the Kingdom of Buganda, where the Kintu family lives under the threat of a mysterious curse. And all without leaving Lancaster, because LitFest, the First Friday initiative and funds from Lancaster University will make all these adventures possible. Yvonne Battle-Felton and Naomi Kruger bring you exciting stories and the opportunity to listen to Joe Gardiners music, eat delicious locally catered food and share the evening with book lovers from Lancaster and all over the world. Jennifer Makumbi ‘Writing makes me feel like a god of sorts,’ Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi commented in an interview, ‘I can create such lovely characters and kill them when I feel like.’ She left her home country – Uganda – to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Her PhD at Lancaster University resulted in the highly praised novel Kintu – winner of the Kwani Manuscript prize. Critics have said that it ‘immaculately stitches the past and the present’, blending Ugandan mythology with the current reality of the country.

Carol Birch
Carol Birch

Carol Birch has already published eleven novels – the last one, Jamrach’s Menagerie, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the London Book Awards. She is a versatile author who has tried several genres – social realism and historical fiction  among others. Carol embraces opportunities to explore and experiment in her fiction. She asserts, ‘I can write about things I don’t know anything about, I can write as a man, in a different place, in a different time.’ Want an exotic holiday this summer? Why not get your tickets and join us at Lancaster Library on August 7th for this month’s North West Literary Salon? Whatever the weather we can promise you a warm atmosphere and the opportunity to escape into intriguing and incredible stories.