Wednesday, 30 March 2011

I'm on the Edge Hill Short Story Prize long-list

'Some of the biggest names in the literary world have entered their works in the prestigious Edge Hill University's Short Story Prize 2011.'
'The unique accolade, now in its fifth year, is the UK's only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories and has attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers all competing for the winning title.'

I'd be one of those newcomers then. Yay!

Literature Wales ran a story too:

Three Welsh Writers longlisted for Edge Hill Short Story Prize

Three Welsh Writers on Long List
for Prestigious Award

Welsh writers Vanessa GebbieSusie Wild and Martin Bax are on the long list for the prestigious Edge Hill University's Short Story Prize 2011.

The unique accolade, now in its fifth year, is the UK's only literary award that recognises a published collection of short stories and has attracted entries from a number of distinguished writers and newcomers all competing for the winning title, the author of which will receive £5000. There is also a Reader’s Prize of £1000.
  • Vanessa Gebbie - Storm Warning, Echoes of Conflict (Salt Publishing). The journalist and award-winning short fiction and flash fiction writer is also the editor of Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story.
  • Susie Wild - The Art of Contraception (Parthian). The writer, editor and journalist has written for many national publications including The Guardian. Her debut short film, featuring her poem 'Dim Smoking Girls', won The Co-op Award for New Directors at Beyond TV Festival 2007.
  • Martin Bax - Memoirs of a Gone World (Salt Publishing). The world-renowned Consultant Paediatrician lives in London and, in addition to his medical career, is editor of the long-running literary journal Ambit which he founded.
This year's long-list has on it an impressive range of award-winning writers, including well-known short story authors Helen SimpsonMichele Roberts and James Kelman. They are against newcomers such as Roshi Fernando and Tom Vowler who already have prizes under their belts. Also on the list are several doctors, a librarian, a former bus driver and a former debt advisor.
The judging panel this year includes scriptwriter and short story author Jeremy Dyson, who is best known as co-creator of the hit West End play Ghost Stories and as a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen; Author, presenter and journalist Stuart Maconie, who is currently a columnist for Radio Times, Cumbria Life and Country Walking; and Marcus Gipps, previously of Blackwell books, now an editor at Gollancz.
Jeremy Dyson said: "The variety of work that has been submitted this year is very impressive, and I am sure it is going to be very difficult to whittle it down to a shortlist, let alone to pick a winner.’
The short-list will be revealed in May and the winners announced at an award ceremony at the Blackwell Bookshop, Charing Cross Road, in July.
Click here for further information and to view the longlist in full.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


TUNE IN TO The Arts Programme on Radio Tircoed 106.5fm Friday 25th March Live @ 11am with music in conversation with the Writer, Poet and Critic Susie Wild ... on the wild side

Sunday, 20 March 2011



Submarine, the film based on Joe Dunthorne’s Swansea coming of age novel of the same name, is out now. Buzz caught up with Writer and Director Richard Ayoade at the Welsh premiere.
With his afro and geek-gangly height Ayoade is instantly recognisable off screen. It is not especially surprising that the 33-year-old got mobbed by fans when filming the school scenes of Submarine in Swansea. As a comic actor he has starred in a string of hit TV comedies including The IT CrowdThe Mighty Boosh, and Nathan Barley. A chance meeting with Warp Films saw him directing music videos for the Artic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Super Furry Animals, Kasabian and Vampire Weekend and then taking on Submarine, his first feature film. The story sees 15-year-old protagonist Oliver Tate trying to cure his father’s depression, save his parent’s marriage and seduce his pyromaniac girlfriend. What first attracted Ayoade to the Curtis Brown Prize-winning novel Submarine?
‘I liked Joe’s book. I thought it was funny and I liked the tone of it and the character of Oliver. I was going to do a tank film, kinda just mainly tanks. It was going to be about two tanks, you know like Herbie Goes Bananas, but with tanks. Disaster struck, we couldn’t get the tanks. That week I got Joe’s book, because I was obviously down as the tank film hadn’t worked out, so to cheer me up I read Submarine. I was initially disappointed about the lack of tanks in it. My first drafts of the script were tank heavy.’
Despite being named by Variety as one of 10 Directors to Watch in 2011 Ayoade speaks in an awkward, nervous deadpan shot with self-deprecating remarks and an occasional slip-up of sincerity. I ask him about his experiences of Swansea.
‘I’ve done stand up here, to massive acclaim, it was very popular, it changed the way stand up was done across the globe from then on. . . Is this the opportunity for me to make a casually racist remark that is repeated in an Ann Robinson way? I’m known for my casual racism so hopefully it’ll just slip out naturally at some stage. No, it was great filming in Swansea, and Barry. South Wales is really quite a beautiful place, a good place to film, and everything looks interesting and the light is very good – not too harsh, soft clouds.’
What films influenced the way he shot Submarine?
BadlandsTaxi DriverThe GraduateRushmoreThe Squid and the Whale and Flirting, which is a great film.’
Acting, writing, directing – Ayoade has tried his hand at all three, but which one does he enjoy the most?
‘I like directing and writing, but I probably like writing best because everything is possible when you are writing something and then you slowly encounter the crushing jaws of reality. I guess the reason that I prefer writing is that there is something pleasing about the solitary nature of it. And then directing. And then acting because I’m just not very good at acting.’
But you’ve won awards….?
‘Oh those? They weren’t for my acting ability, more for loudness.’
Ayoade’s next film is going to be an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s doppelgänger novella The Double set in contemporary America. The story is in a similar vein to Black Swan, and sees government clerk Yakov Petrovitch Golyadkin’s mental deterioration as his exact double enters his life and begins to take over.
‘I’m adapting The Double with another writer, Avi Korine. It is not going to be a very faithful adaptation, as the book is very hard to adapt, so we’ll circumnavigate that by not doing it properly, but Dostoevsky is a great writer. It is hard to do a particularly accurate adaptation of anything, as you just end up with very long films. I’m just about to start looking at it really.’
So your first two films are both adaptations, are you planning on writing any of your own features from scratch?
‘No, I’ll just be ripping other people off, ideally. Yeah. Passing other people’s stuff off as things I’ve done. I mean if everything I did was an adaptation I wouldn’t feel all bad about it. Perhaps I will only make films out of Joe’s books from now on. Hopefully he can write ten more quite quickly.
If they are anything like Submarine that won’t be a bad thing. Submarine is at cinemas now. Watch it. More

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Right Here, Right Now

I've put the majority of my archive of blogs from Mslexia, Buzz, Guardian Cardiff, the Bright Young Things, Artrocker and The Raconteur all in one place, i.e. here. I'll try and keep cross posting from now on.

Follow me on twitter: @soozerama to ensure you keep completely in the loop.

Thanks for reading

Susie Q x

Author’s notes: Susie Wild

Author’s notes: Susie Wild

Susie Wild, author
Susie Wild, author

Swansea writer and journalist Susie Wild’s first book won Fiction Book of the Year in the Welsh Icons Awards 2010. Her next will be the first Kindle Single from Wales
In April my novella Arrivals will be released as an e-book – a Kindle Single to be precise. I will be the first Kindle Single writer from Wales.
I’m not sure yet how much of a claim to fame this but my writing will be distributed globally, out there in the e-world, it won’t even be on paper, it’ll be on a screen. Exciting times.
I started writing Arrivals while studying for my MA in Creative Writing at Swansea University between 2006 and 2008.
It unfolds slowly, revealing a mother and daughter in opposite corners of the planet, London and LA, and both experiencing their own personal revelation.
Arrivals started life as my dissertation in longer fiction. Initially it was a struggle to get past the short story length. I am used to stricter word counts and deadlines as a journalist.
Freedom to run off with my ideas scared me and probably scared my friends.
A change of scene fixed the problem for all of us. I flew to LA, which I hated, and then San Francisco, which I loved and had always wanted to visit.
I traded poems for drinks and trailed The Beats – a two-week solo trip in which I explored, took photos and filled notebooks.
Travel has always been a creative catalyst for me, poems strike me when walking in the rain, story ideas come flooding when I set foot in new cities, new countries. Motion and a sense of difference is often all the inspiration I need. Oh, and the odd song lyric.
When I got back to Swansea I simply threaded the sections together and edited, and then edited some more. I had intended the piece to become my first novel.
The week that I handed it in to be marked I also posted a copy to Parthian. Their editor had been encouraging me to submit my stories, after reading a film review I had written for Red Handed magazine.
At the Hay Festival a couple of months later the publisher told me that they wanted to take on the book, but not exactly as I had envisaged it.
They offered me a contract for a short story collection, of which my mother and daughter story (now Arrivals) would be a major part; a novella all the more poignant for being stripped back and contained in a more concise form. I was pleased.
I have always been a big fan of the short story form, but in the UK it is less common for first-time writers to win a publishing contract for one. Luckily for me, Parthian don’t share this policy, and much like American publishers, they believe a short story collection can showcase a new writer’s breadth of style.
It was why I had chosen them as my first-choice publisher, I had already devoured their fantastic award-winning collections by Rachel Trezise and Jo Mazelis.
The collection became The Art of Contraception, released in September of last year. I wanted the stories to link thematically, and they do. They all have a basis in the quirks of human relationships whether familial, sexual or romantic.
They cover unrequited lusts and uncertain encounters, and, as the title suggests, sex and secrets.
They are set in nightclubs and on beaches, in cafes and in institutions. Most are urban.
Some are darkly comic, others are just plain bleak. I am not a nice mother to my characters. I watch them destroy their lives, and yet sometimes I let them piece themselves back together.
The book really was written in snatches. The zig-zagging geography of the collection interests me. I like to map out where I travelled to, where I was living, and where I wrote the stories. Many don’t name their homes but you can feel them.
A friend of mine recently gleefully read the book in the exact San Francisco bars that I wrote Arrivals which makes me happy.
She gained exclusive ‘extra scenes’ In Real Life. Many are loosely set in Swansea. Thailand, Cornwall and Bristol also feature.
The stories I wrote last are my favourites, Pocillovy is in many ways gentler and less quirky than the rest, telling of the search for a missing eggcup. It is one of my Bristol stories written while I spent nine months living there following my MA.
The deranged cravings of a mum-to-be which leads to the accidental poisoning of her co-worker in Pica is a result of my former office-based work life.
The last piece I wrote, Flap, Flap, I sneaked into the collection at the last minute, swapping it for an old story that didn’t seem quite right and that I still can’t finish.
Flap, Flap is an odd little piece full of butterflies and set in a psychiatric ward, somewhere I have never had the pleasure of staying, although mental health and illness has always been a huge interest of mine (Psychology Degree, obsessions with Cracker and books and films like Girl, Interrupted, Fight Club, Donnie Darko, Prozac Nation and Black Swan). Pleasantly the collection won Fiction Book of the Year in the Welsh Icons Awards 2010.
I have now returned to writing My First Novel.
As history has shown, it may well not be a novel when I have finished with it, but it will be a book, digital or otherwise. Now where did I put my passport?
Arrivals is released as a Kindle Single in April. The Art of Contraception is published by Parthian. Susie will be reading at the Laugharne Weekend (April 14-16)

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