#4: Just F***ing Do It at Grrrl Con 2016

18th Jul 2016

The first ever Grrrl Con took place in Edinburgh in June 2016, and we've only just recovered. Here, Grace and Lauren interview speakers, attendees and get the ultimate in writing advice from authors Denise Mina, Kirsty Logan and Marjorie Lofti-Gill, along with tips from lit agent Jenny Brown.

In this episode…

Interview with Jenny Brown:

Founder of Jenny Brown Associates, one of the UK’s leading literary agencies, Jenny was previously Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, presenter of book programmes for Scottish Television, and founder Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She is also a former Committee member of the Association of Authors’ Agents and was shortlisted in 2014 for the Agent of the Year Award. In this interview, Jenny Brown outlines the role of an agent, gives more insight into the world of publishers and tells us what writers we should look out for in the coming months (including Chitra Ramaswamy, who wrote about her book Expecting for For Books’ Sake recently).

Independent Publishers:

Throughout Grrrl Con, lots of the speakers gave shout-outs to the work of publishers. Lauren talks about a few independent publishers based around the UK. Her list is by no means exhaustive (of course!) and we would love to hear from you about any publishers that you really rate, so email us with your suggestions.Here are the publishers mentioned in the podcast, with a few resources thrown in there for good measure too…

Independent publishers:

Peepal Tree Press
Dahlia Publishing
Tilted Axis Press
Galley Beggar Press

Additional resources
Spread the Word
Writers and Artists
Forgot to mention: Creative Access

Top Tips from Kirsty Logan and Marjorie Lofti Gill

Kirsty Logan – who shares her top four tips for writing magic realism in this episode – is the author of the short story collection The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales (Salt, 2014), which was recently awarded the Polari First Book Prize, and debut novel The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker, 2015). Her latest book, A Portable Shelter (ASLS, 2015), is a collection of stories inspired by Scottish folktales.

Marjorie Lofti Gill is the poet in Residence at Jupiter Artland and co-founder of The Belonging Project, which reflects on the flight, journey and assimilation of refugees, and Open Book, a charity running shared reading and writing groups for adults in the community. Marjorie’s poems have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies in the UK and US, and have been performed on BBC Radio 4. Marjorie ran a workshop on how to construct the perfect sentence, and gives us some advice on how to craft our words.

Interview with Denise Mina

Dame Denise Mina is a critically acclaimed Glaswegian crime writer. Her novels include The End of the Wasp Season and Gods and Beasts, both of which won the prestigious Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award in consecutive years. Denise also writes short stories and plays, and is the author of the Garnethill trilogy. She was inducted into the Crime Writers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2014. Grace and Lauren got to chat to Denise after her talk on the final day of Grrrl Con, asking for advice on how to just get on and do it, in what ways can we prioritise our writing, and how to take critical feedback. She advised ditching the gym and bribing ourselves with KitKats alongside other essential tips.

A big thank you to all of our featured guests for sharing your words of wisdom with us and for taking the time to sit down with us and chat. A special thanks has to go out to Grrrl Con organisers Jane Bradley, Claire Askew and Kerry Ryan, for a fabulous weekend. Also thanks to all of the volunteers over the weekend for making sure we knew where we were to go and what was coming next (Charlotte Forfieh, we’re looking at you!) And finally to the amazing grrrls, all those who agreed to be a part of our podcast and everyone else for making the weekend such a success. It was great to meet you all – roll on next year!