Pot Luck: Flash Interview with Nick Fisher

Depravity, desperation – and crab fishing. Pot Luck is a Rime of the Modern Mariner, and Nick Fisher holds nothing back in his crime novel about the underbelly of Weymouth’s fishing scene. Preceding his highly-popular event, I caught him for the delectation of you readers.

Opening up about his writing process, Nick answers five questions…

I: I know that your writing accolades so far have been earned through scriptwriting. How has writing this novel differed from writing for television?

NF: It’s really a sort of antidote to scriptwriting; there’s a huge machine of people employed around you, and so many real factors that have to be addressed in the script. Writing feels like only 20% of the actual task. Writing a book is different – no one sitting over you, no deadline, no budget, no policies – you can enjoy yourself. The most joyful thing for me was no planning. I would think “what do I write now? I wonder what’s going to happen now.”

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I: Many of your characters are “untrustworthy”. What attracts you to turbulence? Do you believe that it is necessary in a story?

NF: You look for the colour in a character, and colour is often deviousness. Contradictions and surprises are really what dramatic literature is about. Even [Pot Luck’s character] Helen, she was golden in my eyes. She was honey – I couldn’t work with it. It’s about being flawed. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people, just look at where Donald Trump is right now! I think turbulence has to drive things.

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I: This brother dynamic between the main characters, Adrian and Matty, is entirely fraught. Do you know it personally?Where did you draw from to portray this?

NF: Oh, I always wanted a brother. I’m surrounded by bad realities of it, however. My neighbour hasn’t spoken to his brother for decades. The differences I see in my three sons, magnified, could be an Adrian and Matty relationship. Older and younger sibling relationships I can really see. The younger one is fun and negligent, and the older one is responsible and less amused. Closeness of two people with a shared history, I think, is a very good purchase point for a story.

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I: Do you subscribe to the idea that you must love all of your own characters?

NF: That’s an interesting question… No, I think, not at all. You just have to manage them. You must be interested in them; some get under your skin and others just don’t connect. I’ve written for characters I can’t remember, or have even hated.

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I: I have seen Pot Luck reviewed as “the Fargo of Dorset”, and I was wondering if this was intentional. Who has inspired you creatively and is this what you set out to do?

NF: George V. Higgins and Carl Hiaasen for a start. Those sort of fleet-of-foot American books did it for me. I had an idea, an event that would be the start of the story. I thought about doing it as a screenplay, but I had never tried to write a book before, why not take that path? So it was an experiment, very much so. If you transferred it to New England this plot would seem so normal, but as it’s something new to me, it grew itself, and this seemed natural. I didn’t anticipate it growing into what it is.

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Thank you Nick Fisher, there’s food for thought. Seafood, perhaps.

 

BridLit Kids: Events for young Bookworms!

Do you know a flourishing illustrator? A storyteller-in-training? Somebody creative who is entranced by wild tales?

BridLit Kids is back after last year’s success, and it is aiming for bigger and better. On Saturday the 12th of November, we’re taking over The Lyric Theatre for the day and hope to provide something special for everyone, with three fantastic events for children.

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At Event 22a (10am – 11am) Prepare for the astonishing duo of Storyteller Martin Maudsley and Musician Declan Duffy to delight our youngest audience with tales of mysterious creatures to ignite the imagination. Guaranteed to entertain all who enter, and suitable for ages 3 and up.
Tickets: Children £3/ Adults Free!

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At Event 22b (12pm – 1pm) Charles Fuge will take over and help to bring some of those stories to life with an illustration workshop for slightly older children. Courtesy of Bridport Arts and Crafts, children will get a notepad and pencil to take away, and guided by Charlie’s skilled hand, will produce some amazing illustrations of their own. A great opportunity to learn from a successful and working local illustrator, suited to ages 8 and up.
Tickets: Children £5 (sketchbook and pencil included)

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At Event 22c (2pm – 3pm) We will welcome Angie Sage, hugely popular author of the Septimus Heap series, who will talk about her latest addition to the series, Todhunter Moon, and answer and questions from the floor. We’re so lucky to have such a wonderful writer come to Bridport and introduce her work. Get reading and come prepared to find out how Angie’s ‘magykal’ ideas make their way on to the page! Best suited to ages 8 and up.
Tickets: Children £3/ Adults Free!

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Be sure not to miss out, it will be a day to let your imaginations loose! Tickets are selling fast.

Saturday 12th November / Event 22
Location: The Lyric Theatre

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

The BridLit Explorer • Chapter 1: Beerwolf Books

Welcome to a new bi-weekly article! As the blog director and freshly termed Bridlit Explorer, I will be featuring a selection of the country’s finest, most peculiar book shops. Without further ado, enjoy the first instalment…

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A steep street winds back from between two high street shops in the heart of Falmouth, Cornwall. At the end of this tiny, hidden hill, is Beerwolf Books, appearing much like J.K. Rowling’s Room of Requirement; unexpectedly large and quite astounding to imagine that you could have missed it before. ‘Beerwolf‘ is what the locals and students nickname it, and it does (as the name suggests) combine a desire for a softly-lit, bring-your-own-food bar, and the insatiable hunger for a good book to disappear with into the folds of an armchair.

The bar itself is rustic and bizarre. In keeping with the rest of the eclectically-unified interior design, one may see fairy lights, modified dolls hanging from exposed beams and vintage posters of cult-favourite books peppered across the walls. There is an arrangement of well-worn cushions, squeaky barstools and a ping pong table for the entertainment of patrons. All of this, however, is eclipsed by the crown’s main jewel.

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Poised cooly atop the imposing staircase that seems plucked from the architecture of a Jane Austen novel, the bookshop sits. Book-alcove, possibly. As I stroll between the shelves, I can’t help but be surprised at the brazen lack of bestsellers upon the stacks. No featured novel from a popular author, no highly anticipated sequel to a successful franchise, no corporation-sponsored display. Beerwolf steers clear.

When I ask, the barkeep tells me that the owner is a woman with discerning taste who “actively tries to avoid bestsellers”, and that this year marks Beerwolf’s fourth. Situated close to two universities, it is a clear favourite among bookish students and professors alike, and more discover it each year. The attitude of the management must be something that resonates with these people. Perhaps the appeal lies in an appreciation of things that take effort to know and to understand, or perhaps it’s simply the uncomplicated fun of anachronism; the ‘no cards accepted’, creakily floorboarded, an are-we-in-a-tavern atmosphere. Regardless, it remains a well loved destination for those that know the route.

Beerwolf Books is a hidden treasure. Go find it, wayfarers.

 

Mr. Gandy’s Grand Tour, Alan Titchmarsh’s Voyage of Rediscovery

One fractured family, one surprise redundancy, one big leap, and one huge world just waiting to be seen. Alan Titchmarsh‘s novel, Mr. Gandy’s Grand Tour, is a touching story of a one-man mission to finally connect with his home planet, and delve into the wild, whimsical and joyous experiences that all corners of it offer.

Presenter of Gardener’s World and Ground Force, all-round national treasure Alan Titchmarsh brings forth a novel of personal and global exploration. His protagonist, Timothy Gandy, feels stumped. His role in life appears stagnant, useless, and there seems to be something just out of reach. After tragedy strikes, he finds the motivation to change his fate; to no longer resign himself to an uninspiring, uneventful existence. Perfect for the globetrotting reader and for those who dream about our own peregrinations, Alan offer’s Mr. Gandy’s adventure to sate our thirst. Stumbling across J Addison’s account of his own Grand Tour in the early 18th century, Mr. Gandy sets off with a renewed sense of purpose. Leaving a family’s worth of mixed opinions, his doldrum life, and embracing the world with open arms, it’s a story not about the destination, but about the journey. This is an enchanting and empowering novel.

Miss his talk at your own peril, it’s set to be a fantastic journey.

Wednesday 9th November / Event 15
Time: 6.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Electric Palace

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

alan titchmarsh

The Crime Thrillers – Dark Tales from Sophie Hannah and Janet Ellis

Agatha Christie once said that “very few of us are what we seem“. Sophie Hannah and Janet Ellis are two writers that know this well, and we welcome them together to the festival lineup this year.

Bestselling author of 10 books, Sophie Hannah presents two novels. The Narrow Bed revolves around a string of murders; best friends are killed with only a series of little books containing cryptic poetry to link them all. Sophie’s protagonist Kim has one of these books, yet no best friend. Running out of time and answers, she must discover why she has been singled out in a journey that The Independent thinks treads “the delicate line between the ordinary and the monstrous”. Secondly, and with the blessing of the Agatha Christie Estate, Sophie contributes an instalment of Hercule Poirot’s adventures. Termed “delicious” by The Financial Times, Closed Casket sees the famous detective struggle to understand the motive behind a murder victim’s apparent desire to provoke the crime.

Joining these books is the debut novel from multi-accomplished Janet Ellis. Praised by bestseller Hannah Kent for being “strange, dark, and utterly mesmeric”, The Butcher’s Hook is a compelling historic thriller set in Georgian London. Taken advantage of by her mentor, Janet’s protagonist Anne is brought face to face with her powerless reality. She is comforted by the presence of butcher’s apprentice, Fub, and when she resolves to pursue him despite her parent’s wishes, Anne must prepare for the consequences. Dealing with the obsessive, destructive and ensnaring nature of love and envy, this novel climaxes in an enthralling denouement. Neither of these authors are to be missed and luckily they are set to speak together – so you needn’t fear.

Catch them while you can, tickets are still available for a limited time. Be prepared for an utter treat.

Wednesday 9th November / Event 14
Time: 2.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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White Mountain, Robert Twigger’s Journey Through Himalayan History

Hotbed of myths, setting of wars and kindler of expeditions, the Himalayas have always loomed large over humans. Regarded with reverence by Sherpas and wonderment by travellers, it is undeniable that there is something quite astonishing about Asia’s greatest mountain range.

Robert Twigger embarked on a quest to get to the heart of their fantastic history. Seeking out the Nagas who had once helped his grandfather build a camp for Allied soldiers at the time of the Second World War, Robert began a journey that would lead him through surprising discoveries and moments of awe. He has been praised as “our greatest travel writer” by Anthony McGowan and a “daredevil with brains” by The Daily Telegraph; not a storyteller to miss. Robert’s biographical memoir of his time adventuring in the Himalayas, White Mountain, is strange, wonderful and extraordinary. It is set to enthral any curious person who knows the pull of wanderlust.

There are limited tickets left to this fabulous talk illustrated with sublime photographs, so book quickly!

Monday 7th November / Event 7
Time: 6.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

robert-twigger

Cousins, a Story of Family Matters by Salley Vickers

Spanning the time between the outbreak of World War Two and the present day, the boundaries between reason and instinct, and the perspectives of three different narrators, this novel is an adventure. From Bestselling author of Miss Garnet’s Angel, Salley Vickers’ new book, Cousins, is a thoughtful account of the shifting senses of love and duty; one that explores the nature of both tragedy and transgression.

Born in Liverpool to parents who she terms “ardent activists”, Salley has been a cleaner, a runaway, a psychoanalyst, a dancer, an artist’s model and an alumni of Newnham College Cambridge. As an author, Salley’s work deeply considers and reflects life and its intricacies, knowing the confusion at the crux of human beings. Appraised by Michael Dirda of The Washington Post, “Vickers is a novelist in the great English tradition of moral seriousness. Her characters suffer, they struggle to be true to both themselves and the promptings of the human heart.”

Cousins begs the question; how much can love ask of us?

See Salley in conversation with Boris Starling while tickets are still available.

Sunday 6th November / Event 4
Time: 6.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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Shakespeare in Swahililand – Edward Wilson Lee’s Lingual Exploration

It is undeniable that the “ever-living” poet has (perhaps mistakenly) a Eurocentric reputation. With his works based in settings such as Greece, Italy, Scotland, and France, should it seem surprising to imagine Hamlet’s troubles set a world away from Denmark? Or to imagine Romeo and Juliet torn apart by politics that aren’t Italian? When the work of the Bard was found far-removed from its home hemisphere, Edward Wilson Lee began his quest of discovery.

Returning to East Africa where he grew up, Edward set about recovering the historical reasons and motives for the global sharing of Shakespeare’s works, as well as their profound effects out of context. Called “vivid and full of insights” by The Independent, this book seeks to find out why the work of one man may be so globally adored and admired. An in-depth examination of the politics of “colonization and decolonization” as Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o puts it, Shakespeare in Swahililand investigates the presence and popularity of Shakespeare’s words, and their ability to travel from his pen in London to the tongues of travelling Indian troupes in Mombasa.

Edward’s sumptuous illustrated talk is not one to miss for any lover of Shakespeare.

Monday 7th November / Event 6
Time: 2.30 pm
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bull Hotel

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

wilson lee

Being a Beast, Charles Foster’s Foraging Foray

What is the quintessential difference between humans from their co-inhabiters of Earth? Is the line between man and animal one so easily drawn? And could a man, with enough conviction, turn himself into a beast?

Charles Foster‘s book, Being a Beast, wonders too. Called “wild and whimsical” by The Times, and “funny and profound” by The Guardian, this book is a unique find. Dedicating himself to the task of understanding the private lives of beasts, Charles lived (and ate) as a badger for weeks, hid in rivers like an otter, and lay waste to the content of London bins like an urban fox. An Oxford Fellow, Charles specialises in anthropology, evolutionary biology, philosophy and natural history. The result of his wild adventure and wilder curiosity is this memoir, filled to the brim with outrageous anecdotes coupled with species study and neuro-scientific explorations. This is an intimate study of the all things bright and beautiful and the human animal. Really beastly business.

Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Common Ground, the West Dorset based environmental arts charity.

Book tickets to see Charles Foster in conversation with James Crowden, prepare for something special.

Saturday 12th November / Event 24
Time: 2.30 pm
Tickets: £12
Location: The Electric Palace

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

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How to Read Water – A Leaf out of Tristan Gooley’s Book for Nature Lovers

Interpreting ponds, identifying dangerous water, reading the sea and navigating by puddle. For Tristan Gooley, understanding nature is second nature.

His New York Times Bestseller, How to Read Water, is a comprehensive guide to the ever-changing element, and an indispensable one to the curious explorer. Drawing on his personal adventures, Tristan offers us a greater understanding of water and its relationships with the earth below and the stars above, as he explains tides, cosmic pulls, and the secret language of beaches. Called “breathtaking” by the Sunday Times, “revelatory” by The Royal Institute of Navigation, and “seriously fascinating” by The Times, this book is a jewel in its field for the nature-lover.

Catch Tristan’s illustrated talk during the festival, and learn more about the world we live in.

Tuesday 8th November / Event 8
Time: 11.00 am
Tickets: £10
Location: The Bridport Arts Centre

To book tickets, contact the Box Office over the phone or in person.
Box Office: Bridport Tourist Information Centre, The Town Hall, Bridport, DT6 3LF
Tel: 01308 424 901

Tristan Close