I spent yesterday evening at the Liar's League spoken word night in London. I'd decided to walk to the Wheatsheaf pub from Victoria which turned out to be a bad decision. Central London was very busy and by the time I arrived I was sweaty and flustered. I definitely didn't exude the calm, contemplative air of an exciting new writer.
The main difference between Liar's League and other short story nights is that Liar's League features actors reading the stories. This means the performances are guaranteed to be good whereas sometimes an author can produce a bad reading of a story. The actors work particularly well with first person stories, such as the comedian in Jim Murdoch's story and the gangster in Richard Meredith's Crime Caper.
My story, Eat at Lovecraft's, was read by Becky Hands-Wicks, who did a far better job than I would have done. It was exciting to hear my story read by someone else. By the time I've submitted a story I will have read it out loud repeatedly. To hear someone else read the story, with different emphases and pauses, makes it sound fresh again.
The League was also very friendly and I chatted to a few people afterwards, including Jonathan Pinnock, who wrote Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions, a funny story about dead mathematicians (he's blogged about the night here). Thanks to everyone for a lovely evening – hopefully I'll be able to make it to the next one, whether or not I have a story being read.
I had a couple of hours to kill before my bus so I walked back through London. The weather was better and I enjoyed drifting through the streets. Victoria Coach station near midnight was much less peaceful, as was the coach journey. Throughout I kept waking then looking at the dark road outside and wondering how I knew I was on the right coach. I reached Coventry without problems, but it's very odd to be back here – I'd been feeling very at home in Brighton.
I'll post links to the audio of my story from last night once it's up on the Liar's League site.