Synaesthesia Magazine What Rose Wanted - Page 28

Like a river around rocks Rachael Spellman journeyed to the first ever London Short Story Festival earlier this year for a taste of small stories, silver voices and flickering pages. Here, she talks about meeting short story writers Adam Marek, Robert Shearman and Dan Powell, and how she left feeling like she had one more story in her bones The sepia shadows and cool air were a relief after the sun-glare of Piccadilly streets. Standing at the entrance of Waterstones bookstore, I took in the soaring ceiling with its little clusters of gold lights, the balconies with their brass telescopes arranged at exploratory angles. Between tall shelves of elegant dark wood, people moved with the shuffle-murmur of a lake’s heart. Bars of near-solid light came through the wide-eye windows, to move across round tables where a harlequin of recent releases and beloved classics were lit with the bright sprays of blue delphiniums. faces – a twitch of a smile here, a furrowed brow there. Wandering between clusters of globes and tall rotating racks, I paused to run a hand over the tooled leather covers of journals, their blank pages waiting for the eager memories of a traveller, the dreams of a wandering life. Each shade of light framing the room was a fresh perspective; standing in the curving smile of a stairwell, I could almost hear the thoughts of people around me. Their outspread hands were filled with the words reflected in their Gold crescents fell from small lamps hooked over shelves filled with fantasy, horror and science fiction titles; they made an eerie correlation with the flickering blue of a Powerpoint screen at the far end of the room. Patterned over with blacktalon trees and the wavering white of Waterstones’ logo, the projection could have been a still from Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, and made the perfect backdrop for The Weird and Wonderful World of The weekend of June 20-22 saw Wterstones of Piccadilly – the largest bookstore in Europe – play host to the first London-based Short Story festival. Organised by writer-development agency Spread the Word, the festival’s free/ ticket-bought events made up a timetable that included readings, masterclasses, workshops and prize launches, each carrying the agency’s integral message, ‘to identify and nurture writing talent’. Meeting the writers