We are all whispering in a tin can on a string, but we are heard...

Hi there,

It feels like a new beginning is round the corner, right? We’re on some kind of strange summer holiday now (and I will be too, for a long weekend, from this afternoon!), but that back-to-school feeling never fails to strike when September starts to appear on the horizon.

Share To Strive, To Seek, To Find

Can I still get one of these, pleeease?

I’ve been attending The London Writer’s Salon’s Writer’s Hours* pretty regularly for the past few weeks, free-writing first thing in the morning when I can, and trying to reset my natural night owl body clock to make sure I’m awake an vaguely alert for 8am when the first hour starts (they now have three a day!).

Last week, when it was so hot first thing in the morning that I could set up my laptop out on the balcony before 8am, they let me read out one of my favourite passages about writing:

“We are all whispering in a tin can on a string, but we are heard, so we whisper the message into the next tin can and the next string. Writing a book, just like building a library, is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory.”

- Susan Orlean, The Library Book

At a moment when a huge structural change came to mind for what I thought was the memoir / non-fiction book, making it much more fictional, I’m just trying to free-write through it, and beginning to understand that this might take a lot longer than I’d imagined. As much as I feel like I want to ignore the tin can and the string every morning, I’m battling through that feeling. I’m choosing defiance (and a lot of caffeine).

Comedy updates

Highlighting #FWAwards2020 Stage Award semi-finalists. @suchandrika is a freelance journalist and podcaster from where London meets Essex. Abi and Ilana of Broad City, French and Saunders, Eddie Murphy, and everyone involved in Goodness Gracious Me's 'Going out for an English' sketch are among her comedy influences.

#sketch #writing #shortfilms #character #improv #womenincomedy #women #funnywomen #womxn #funnywomxn #womxnincomedy #awards #FWAwards2020 #rules #requirements #livecomedy #comedy #standup #workshop #openmic #networking #stagetime #webseries
August 18, 2020

Funny Women asked me for my comedy influences, and the question made me go back to watch Goodness Gracious Me’s “Going out for an English” sketch, which absolutely still stands up. Sometimes comedy is as just as simple as reversing the familiar:

I also took part in a Times Radio panel on The Future of Comedy this week, with Don Ward, co-founder of The Comedy Store, and Steve N Allen, who’s on the BBC’s The Mash Report, and is a stand-up who tours in more normal times.

Steve and Don sounded much wearier about the state of the comedy industry in lockdown than I was, which makes sense - they know much, much more about the business side of things, and the pandemic has had its financial impact upon their work. By contrast, my introduction to the comedy world in this very odd year has been warm, albeit most often through a screen.

At the end of the chat, we each give the health of the comedy industry right now a mark out of 10. I go pretty high, and I have my reasons - it’s also really worth hearing why Don and Steve disagree.

You can listen back to the whole discussion here, the segment’s from about 5 minutes in, and it goes on for about 25 minutes.

British Journalism Awards

I’m a judge this year, and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you’re thinking about entering, make sure you check the rules (the third pic in the Instagram album below) to see if you qualify for having the entry fees waived. I know that would’ve made a huge difference for me in the past.

Looking forward to judging for the British Journalism Awards 2020! You’ve got until 30th September to get your entries in.

Don’t forget that the entry fee - usually a major barrier - is waived for women, people of colour and people with disabilities, in the event that they don’t have an employer willing to underwrite their application. If you have questions, email oihana.almandoz@ns-mediagroup.com.

All BAME applicants will be in the running for the Barbara Blake Hannah Award for those who have broken through barriers with their journalism. Barbara Blake Hannah was the UK’s first black female newsreader.

I’d love to find myself judging entries from a hugely diverse range of journalists and organisations. Awards can change your career. Hope to see your application(s) in there!
August 13, 2020

Links links links

  • Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book (and podcast about the book) was certainly ahead of its time. Now that so many people are looking to her work to explain why the world is the way that it is, it’s fascinating to see glimpses of what it’s been like to be her. This tweet says so much; and yes you should click through to Nikesh Shukla’s short, to-the-point, Eddo-Lodge-approved review.

They DM’ed me goodnight for some reason. A true sign that I need to log off for a bit (well… maybe not Instagram). I’ll write again soon, byeee x

*If you’d like to know more about the Writer’s Hour(s), here’s a podcast episode I made with one of the Salon’s founders, Parul Bavishi.