The Circle: A Brussels Anthology – Launch at Waterstones

If you’ve been following our blog, you might have caught a rumour about something brewing on BWC’s creative stove and wondered what it was. Wait no more! We’re excited to present to you our second anthology: The Circle.

This collection of short stories, poems, book chapters and screenplay is a work of 34 authors from 19 countries.

THECIRCLE Front10.18

On Thursday 22 November you can meet the authors, hear them read from the anthology and get your hands on your own copy of The Circle, still fresh from the print.

Poster2

One core theme of the anthology is naturally Brussels. Andreas Bergman’s Poetic Licence, by Gilbert Jones is a bitingly funny parody of writers’ circles and competition between authors. Hamed Mobasser’s screen plays Doggybag is a comedy about dog-sitting that goes awry. Dimitri Politis’s The Extraordinary Colours of an Ordinary Day and Todd Arkenberg’s Aftershock tackle the horrific 2016 terrorist events. Sarah Strange’s poem Saved by the Bell is about Brussels and the habit people have of leaving treasures in the road. Andrea Rees’ For Jorge is a tale of a last personal journey through Brussels. And Mimi Kunz’ The Museum of Favourite Things – looks back at Brussels from the future, uncovering bits of our present as she digs up treasures from her back garden.

Other themes include travel and immigration, life, love, and loss. Come and listen, come and read, and discover the voices behind the themes.

Who are the authors?
The Circle brings together new emerging voices and prize-winning authors, including:

Colin Walsh, whose The Flare Carving Itself through the Dark won the RTE Francis Mac Manus Short Story Award and was a prize-winner of the Bridport Short Story Award. Jeanie Keogh’s story in this collection, If at First You Don’t Succeed, was shortlisted for the Vancouver Writers Festival context. Mauricio Ruiz, a poet, short story writer and novelist, has been short-listed for numerous prizes, including the Bridport Prize, Myriad Editions Competition and the Fish Short Story Competition. In addition, other authors in The Circle, including Martin Jones, T.D. Arkenberg, Hamed Mobasser and Ocean Smets, have won prizes. Martin for short stories, Todd for his novels, Hamed for film-scrips, and Ocean for poetry. It is only a matter of time for the other emerging writers in The Circle to have their voices recognised.

For the full list of authors of The Circle: Andreas Bergsten ǀ Jeanie Keogh ǀ Colin Walsh ǀ Junko Oikawa ǀ Dimitris Politis ǀ S.R. Harris ǀ Aisling Henrard ǀ Mimi Kunz ǀ Mauricio Ruiz ǀ Joost Hiltermann ǀ Cynthia Huijgens ǀ Shyam Sunder Gopalakrishnan ǀ Antoinette Naomi Reddick ǀ Richard Boland ǀ Sarah Strange ǀ Ross Noble ǀ Andrea Rees ǀ Nicholas Parrott ǀ Ciprian Begu ǀ Lida Papasokrati ǀ David Ellard ǀ Alex Dampney ǀ Océan Smets ǀ Martin Jones ǀ Claire Davenport ǀ Genevieve Shapiro ǀ Klavs Skovsholm ǀ T.D. Arkenberg ǀ Paul Speight ǀ Barbara Mariani ǀ Jay Harold ǀ Patrick ten Brink ǀ Hamed Mobasser ǀ Kevin Dwyer

Who will be reading?
At the launch, we’ll have five short story authors presenting extracts of their works:

  • Colin Walsh: The Flare Carving Itself through the Dark
  • Jeanie Keogh: If at First You Don’t Succeed
  • Cynthia Huijgens: The Things We Do For Love
  • Klavs Skovsholm: Belle of the Ball
  • T.D. Arkenberg: Aftershock

And poetry by:

  • S.R. Harris: Sightings
  • Jay Harold: Corn Bread and Iced Tea
  • Patrick ten Brink: The Half-Apple

Many of the other authors will be there too – so come and ask them about their work, their dreams and their secrets as to why they write about what they write! And maybe you can get them to recite a poem or extract between the shelves of books while you sip a glass of wine.

See you on 22 November 2018 at 7 pm on Blvd Adolphe Max 71, Brussels!

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Finding discipline and inspiration among writers

DavidEllard1When he is not busy helping Europe’s citizens and businesses navigate Single Market rules in DG GROW’s SOLVIT team, David Ellard writes epic science fiction. A self-described ‘aspirant writer’, David has been an integral part of the Brussels Writers’ Circle, a club he has chaired for years, where both beginners and seasoned pros gather weekly to share their work. Commission en direct talked to David about his experience.

What drew you to writing?
I think it started off with an interest in reading. Then, at a certain point, I began to wonder, well how do they make those words I’m reading on the printed page in the first place? And then the more geeky side of my personality has always been interested in imagined worlds, and wondered, how do I go about interesting other people in the products of my own imagination?

So, that drew me inevitably to science fiction and fantasy as genres for writing. And then I start analysing the world in terms of, how can I transcribe this stuff into a novel? The people I meet, situations I encounter, articles on science and philosophy that I read and so on… I think there’s a sort of ‘aspirant writer’s eye’. Most of us will walk past a beautiful building and think, wow that’s nice! But an architect (or someone who aspires to the part) will look at it and note the symmetry of the columns or the construction of the portico…

What have you written already?
I’m most proud of a short novella I wrote which is dream fiction. It actually came out of a dream (or rather nightmare) that I had one night at about 3:00 in the morning. I woke up and was too scared to go back to sleep, so I noted mentally the main points and then started to write it up as a sort of post-facto rationalisation of what the nightmare was actually about. I am also working on an epic science fiction novel. I started with the idea of the opening chapter, and the end, and worked my way to the middle from two directions. I set out with the concern that I would not have enough material for even a short novel. And I spawned a monster in the act of writing it! Needless to say, I’d probably write the next one differently.

What is the Brussels Writers’ Circle (BWC) and what role did you play in its development?
I started going to the Circle in about 2001, and took over running the group in 2010 until 2016. I’m very pleased by how things grew from there on. It was a once-a-week group that subsequently expanded to two, and even three sessions a week, for a while. During my time, the BWC blog was launched and the annual retreat became a fixture.

I should stress that there were many other people who were involved in all these new activities, but I like to feel that I acted as a sort of point of encouragement, even when I wasn’t directly involved! We also moved location from the Cercle des Voyageurs to the current venue of the Maison des Crêpes on rue du Midi. Very close to where I live. That may not be a total coincidence, I concede…

How has being part of the Circle helped you develop as a writer?
Partly it’s the discipline provided by, in my case, announcing I am going to read out on a given evening before I have written the damn piece. So my back is against the wall. That’s how I wrote my novel In Search of Y at least. It’s also inspiration. Sometimes seriously good writers come along to the group.

That can make me jealous, frankly, but it’s also the best way to learn, by analysing what makes really great writing great. And then of course it’s also the specific concrete feedback people give. Actually, it’s more than that. Some of the feedback is well intentioned but not very useful. This teaches you to filter advice and that is an amazing advantage if you can do it. Filter too little and you will be blown about by the wind. Filter too much and there’s no point in asking for feedback in the first place. The trick is to find the golden spot in between.

Are there any upcoming events?
THECIRCLE Front10.18A very exciting event is the upcoming Waterstones soirée to launch the second BWC Writers’ Anthology, The Circle – a collection of writing from a broad range of our members including short stories, prose and poetry. This will be taking place at Waterstones bookshop in Brussels (Boulevard Adolphe Max 71-75) from 19:00 on 22 November.

 

This article was originally published in Commission en Direct by Ciprian Begu.