The Hospital ClubI’ll be leading the Writing Salon at The Hospital Club on Monday 19th December on the subject of art in dark times.  Here’s the full brief…hope to see you there.

There is not long to go now before we can kiss 2016 goodbye.  Although a slap may be more appropriate than a kiss.  Whatever your feelings about this year I hope you will join me at the Writing Salon on Monday 19th December at 1930.

Despite all that’s happened this year the theme of our festive salon is actually “2016”.  Or more accurately how art captures the mood of the time.  In the outpouring of emotion we’ve all witnessed throughout the year I’ve been struck by the determination of artists to respond by making art.  This is what happens in dark times and so on Monday I would like to explore that.  In due course there will be a flurry of songs, books and films that try and capture 2016, or perhaps a specific part of it.  So between now and Monday I’d like you to scour your bookshelves for your favourite examples of things that capture a particular period in history or that had a significant social impact.  The date is entirely up to you, but I’d like to know why you feel it so perfectly captures the American mid-West in the 1850s, or perhaps 1980s New York City (I’m thinking of Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney for this last one).

Music and film examples are always welcome but let’s try and focus on novels first.  And as usual anything goes here. I’m looking for anything you think captures a mood or a state of mind. So if you feel Bridget Jones does that for the late 90s / early 2000s then feel to bring it along and tell us why.  Let’s try and include everything from “Chick Lit” to “War Poetry”.

As an extra challenge there will be a £1 charity fine for any use of the word “zeitgeist”.  I’ll start the pot off with that mention.

Traditionally at the December Salon we have a competition and this year will be no different.  Actually that’s not true.  It will be different as we’ve developed a brand new competition for you all.  Apologies to those of you who had been saving your “six word short story” entries up all year, but the competition committee outvoted me!

This year we have two options for you to choose from.  Given this email normally comes out on a Friday I’ve given you an extra two days to get creative.

  • 1001 Nights – the challenge is to write the best paragraph of a novel in the style of 1001 Nights (think Aladdin, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves). There is one rule mind.  No more than 1001 characters.  So about the length of 7 tweets.
  • 12 Days of Christmas – rewrite the popular Christmas song with more modern groupings.  “10 Remainers Moaning”, “8 US States recounting” and replace “5 Gold Rings” with a hearty “NIGEL FARAGE”….that sort of thing.

Please get your entries to me before the salon so I have time to collate them and get copies printed off.

As ever the winner will be decided by popular vote (none of this electoral college nonsense) and prizes will be awarded on the night.

Any questions, please get in touch.  Hope to see you at the salon on Monday 19th December at 1930 in The Hospital Club Chalk Room.

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