Reading Out, Reaching Out by Dan Holloway

          It is a huge honour to be speaking later this month at the inaugural London Author Fair, held on February 28th at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden.I will be running a workshop on how writers of all persuasions can learn from two of the areas in which poets lead the way - performing their work, and collaborating with people from other branches of the arts.

(I will be talking about collaboration with artists and musicians. Expect more of the wonderful photography of my long-term collaborator Veronika von Volkova)

          I was a novelist several years before I was a poet. And a headstrong and opinionated self-publishing novelist (at a time when it was very unfashionable to self-publish) to boot. I had also spent years drifting around the music and art worlds, where those strong opinions on what made a successful relationship with an audience fermented and distilled and perfumed, no doubt, other alcohol-based metaphors. By the time I launched my debut novel, Songs from the Other Side of the Wall, in 2009, and then launched the work of the literary/experimental collective Year Zero Writers onto the world in February 2010, I had a very clear idea of what writers should be doing. For my launch, I worked with the brilliant local musician Jessie Grace, splitting the event between readings and songs, and I took a leaf out of the book of my friend James Rhodes, the pianist, and provided a visually arresting and informative programme. And for the Year Zero launch, we took over Rough Trade in Brick Lane, alternated writers and bands, and worked incredibly hard on creating collectible posters and programmes in conjunction with the American artist Sarah Melville.

(New York-based artist, model, writer, publisher, and photographer Katelan Foisy produced a striking poster for our event at the Poetry Cafe)

          It was only in the summer of 2011 that I realised this was less what writers do and more what poets do. At which point, I decided poetry was my natural home. Since then as a writer I’ve oscillated between poetry and prose, but I’ve always worked in close conjunction with people in other forms of the arts, and I’ve always made live reading an absolute cornerstone of what I do.

(with Katelan at Covent Garden's Poetry Cafe)

          From staging an all-day art and poetry installation with New York artist, writer, model, and publisher Katelan Foisy, to performing poetry to the music of electronica band To The Moon, to a long-term collaboration setting my poetry to the images of Canadian photographer Veronika von Volkova and even running a successful touring show, The New Libertines, for the past three years.

(Jessie Grace of Superhand, whose music complements a lot of my writing perfectly, and with whom I have had the pleasure of working on many occasions)

          I am increasingly hearing people say, on the writing conference circuit, that live readings are essential to building a fanbase as a writer. What I want to do in this workshop is look at ways to make your readings and talks more engaging. I also want to look at how you can use collaboration with people in other fields of the arts both to push yourself creatively, and to expand the community around your work by bringing new art and music lovers to your work, and by bringing new literary fans to the work of those who collaborate with you. Let’s face it, most of us don’t just love books. We love music too. And art. And film. And probably people who like the books we do overlap considerably with people who like the art and music and film we do. And that’s the case for our readers too. By collaborating with people in other arts whose works we love, both partners in the collaboration can bring wonderful new discoveries to their fans.

          I very much hope to see many of you there. In the meanwhile don't forget you can pick up lots of tips on speaking and collaborating in my book Self-publish with Integity. It's on Kindle here, but I'll sign a paperback for you if you come along!


Lydia Bennet said…
hope it goes well Dan, I have read your Self-Publishing with Integrity,it's a most refreshing and thought provoking approach to publishing and writing, a reminder of why some of us do it and how we can be misled by ourselves as well as outside influences.
I hope your event goes well, Dan, It looks like you have the right type of personality to deal with a crowd. :-)

Good luck.

Greetings from London.

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