23 Oct 08

Reading in London and Mentor

My recent reading in London was a success.
New to public speaking, I arrived at the Royal Festival Hall so nervous I went straight to the men’s room. Passing the bar, I was tempted to order a glass of wine to assuage my anxiety. Instead, I reassured myself by recollecting how the chaplain at Towers jail, an Anglophile who delighted in my accent, used to insist I read passages from the Bible during mass. Audiences don’t get more unruly than that.

Standing behind the microphone, I managed to only tremble from the waist down as I read an abbreviated version of my short story “Amazing Grace.” Reading the dialogue was the most fun. The main characters in the story are a youngster, an Aryan Brother and a “shit slinger,” who constantly exchange obscene words and threats.

The audience (including Chris-H who bought me the glass of wine I'd wished for earlier – cheers Chris!) applauded, and some people complimented me on my oratory. When all of the readings were over, I stayed and answered questions until the room was closed.
The reading was videoed and I hope to have footage online soon.

Present at the reading was Sally Hinchcliffe, a published author who is now my mentor. I’ll be meeting her once a month for one year. I’ve asked her for help improving my writing and getting published. I like to work with tough no-nonsense people and she seems to fall into that category.

Here’s a link to her website:


The next day in London, I lunched with a friend from university, the Fair Surrah, at a delicious Indian buffet. Later that day, I stopped in Wolverhampton to visit Sarah, an ardent reader of Jon’s Jail Journal and a crime-story aficionado. Sarah rustled up a spicy vegetable curry. I could get used to travelling around the country being spoiled by the hospitality of people. Thanks Sarah and Surrah!

I also met the staff of Prisoners Abroad at their office in London. I had no idea of the scope of their activities. Their office is the first stop for prisoners returning to England who have no family, friends or means of support. They offer them a shower and help finding lodgings and employment. Without this help, many of these English citizens just out of foreign prisons would be back on the streets committing crimes to survive. Prisoners Abroad are doing a great job and I hope to be returning to London in November to help them with their fund-raising activity.

Tomorrow, I’m back to London for Royo Girl’s arrival. Yes, I will be blogging how things progress between us. And no, I don't think she's up for steamy hotel video footage.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Shaun P. Attwood


Chris H said...

The Big Dawg, being modest!

He was brilliant. His story was funny and shocking all in one and went down well with all present! By far the best piece read at the whole event.

Congratulations Shaun, I hope everything goes well over the next few days with Royo.

Hugs and kisses,

Chris H

PS - Were any other readers there?

Anonymous said...

You are more than welcom here anytime your passing through or stopping for a few days, i would love to see you reading and would also love a copy of amazing grace, yet again i just have to slip in part 3 is well over due, just cos you have your lady friend here hehe..oh and juicey up dates on this weekend are a must. You know i will get it out of you either way so might aswell make life easy for yourself lmao. Good Luck adn if you ever need nay help I have told you I am always here in anyway i can so get that dictaphone going lmao
Curry Sarah hehe

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Shaun!!! -Jose in San Diego

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Sounds like you've got the Mennonite circuit down-they open their homes to the traveling faithful, but I don't think you'd find curry on the farm. And you'll always have a captive audience if you translate the holy writ into modern language like your stories. I would say be good, but since that's impossible, be careful and enjoy your week!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully we'll get to see a picture of Royo girl at least...