Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.
Last Wednesday I had the privilege of leading a creative writing event with fellow author Leigh Russell, organised by Katherine Sunderland who runs the Bibliomaniac website. Although I’ve previously guest lectured for City University and have led sessions at Citylit, where I currently work as a Writing Coordinator, this was the first time I’d been invited to lead a writing workshop outside of an institution. Consequently, it was a very exciting event for me both personally and professionally.
The event took place in Harpenden and on the train out of London I thought about the usual questions a person asks themselves when asked to speak at this kind of event: will everybody turn up? Will people be open to what I have to say? What will it be like?
Particularly, my mind latched on to that last one. Managing creative writing workshops takes more strategy and sensitivity than most people realise. The participants are often sharing deeply personal thoughts and feelings through their writing and a certain trust must be established for the whole thing to hang together.
Less than three seconds after I asked that question however, a smile came over my lips. I remembered that it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter what it would be like because whatever happened in the fifty minutes or so that all eyes were on me, I would trust myself to work through that moment and do what I could to help the people in front of me travel a little bit further down their writing path.
That’s precisely what I did, and the experience was intensely enriching because of it. I had prepared some short, punchy activities about plot structure and within minutes the room was buzzing with warm energy, people were sharing their ideas, their thoughts, their feelings, their writing and it was a joy to facilitate.
Leigh stepped up after me to deliver an activity on character and audience reaction and offered so many words of wisdom to the writers in the room. My favourite was when she said: ‘Very few things in this world ever truly belong to us. But our writing is ours.’ So true. And a reminder of why it’s important to be true to yourself when you put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard.
Katherine’s openness, good humour and slick organisation skills meant the event was a welcoming and accessible experience for all who joined us, and I’m very grateful to her for involving me in the event.
I am heading back to Harpenden in June to take part in another bookish event organised by Katherine. An author panel about scorching summer reads and as you can see from the list above I’ll be in excellent company. If you’d like to get your hands on one of the last few tickets click here.
If you can’t make the event but are looking for a summer read, you can pick up my first novel: Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner, here.