James Joyce visits Trowbridge Library

…….or, at least, his book of short stories, The Dubliners, did and this is just a quick post to say how much I enjoyed leading a Writing Short Stories workshop in Trowbridge Library last week.  The library has recently relocated into a refurbished County Hall and its new home is truly impressive.  I hope my photos do it justice.


Ten enthusiastic people aged 16+ attended, including two parents accompanying their teenage children to offer their support, which I thought was wonderful, especially as the parents participated fully in the workshop, throwing  themselves into the writing exercises with gusto!

As with all  my workshops, this was a practical session involving lots of quick-fire writing, sharing with the group, and some reading and discussion of published texts (or extracts).  As well as James Joyce, we looked at the work of writers such as David Constantine, Julia Darling, Tania Hershman, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Helen Simpson, Ali Smith, Tobias Wolff, and others.

I was delighted when one of the participants picked up The White Road, a collection of flash fictions by Tania Hershman, and read Heart aloud to the group, saying that she had never read anything like it before in her life and that she had never imagined that something so short could be so powerful.

This free event was part of the ReadWrite South West Project funded by the Big Lottery through Literature Works (formerly Cyprus Well, the Literature Development Agency for the South West).  There are further sessions scheduled for January and February in Trowbridge Library, including Writing Music Lyrics, Writing Poetry and Writing for Blogs.  Details are available here.  I shall certainly be attending some of these free sessions myself.

Trowbridge Library

I am thrilled to be involved in the ReadWrite South West project and it was a privilege to work in this stunning, community setting with fellow literature enthusiasts.  With permission from one of the participants, I would like to share part of a letter sent to me after the event.  I hope it demonstrates what a fantastic project this is and shows what a positive effect  Community Arts events have on people’s lives.

Dear Josephine

I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to run the ‘writing short stories’ workshop, at Trowbridge library, last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and will definitely be taking part in more workshops.

I have wanted to write for quite some time, but it is only very recently that I have actually picked up a pen to give it a go. Last night was the first time that I have ever read out anything that I have written to anybody and it gave me the confidence to carry on. I was amazed by how much I enjoyed reading my work out to everyone once I got over my initial fear, and came home feeling hugely elated.

 I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to write yet, my dream has always been to write a novel, but for now I have decided to try writing in different styles first, to see where my strengths lie and also to see what I enjoy writing. I’m just going to put pen to paper and see what comes out.

PS. I’ve ordered my copy of ‘James Joyce, The Dubliners’ and I’m looking forward to finishing what I started (reading last night at the workshop).

With thanks to all at Trowbridge Library, Wiltshire Libraries and Literature Works.

4 thoughts on “James Joyce visits Trowbridge Library”

  1. Firstly, what a great workshop! It sounds just fantastic, well done to you and to ReadWrite South West (with whom I’m going to be doing something soon too, which i hope will provoke the kind of wonderful responses you got!) Thank you so much for bringing some of my stories to the group, I am so honoured to be in the company of Joyce! Blimey!


    1. Thanks Tania! I’ve used your writing in workshops before and it always gets a good response. I didn’t especially highlight your stories this time but your books were included in a big pile of anthologies that we worked from. This lovely participant especially enjoyed your work. I hope I’ll have the chance to come to some of your events in Bristol Libraries.


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