I’m going to be the writer in residence at Late Shift Extra: The Elizabethans Undressed on Friday 25 October, writing live and to order while every word is projected on the wall of the Main Hall. I’ll take requests from visitors face-to-face, but also via the web – where you’ll be able to watch my creative struggles in real time
It’s all part of the Live Writing Series, in which seven writers visit seven London venues, each spending a day taking commissions from the public and writing for free, with their every keystroke, typo, edit and deletion exposed to public scrutiny.
This is the first in the Series, and it’s apt that it should be at an event celebrating Elizabethan culture. The Elizabethan era was the age of patronage, when nobles and merchants flaunted their wealth by commissioning works of art, including literature.
Almost every artist works for a client of some kind, and that relationship between the patron and the artist can produce wonderful results. John Donne, Ben Jonson and even Shakespeare were usually working for somebody, and the commissions they received proved to be a great creative stimulus.
I’m looking forward to an evening of unpredictable requests, forcing me to improvise and stretch my literary skills. It will be inspiring, nerve-wracking and potentially embarrassing. But even if I make a fool of myself, that will be entertaining in itself.
Of course, I’m not the only writer involved. Others taking on the challenge over the next seven weeks include novelist Sarah Butler, poet Jacob Sam-La Rose, performer Molly Naylor, and the wonderful Gemma Seltzer, who is also co-producing the whole Series. Events will be taking place at the Roundhouse, the Southbank Centre, the Jewish Museum, Woolfson & Tay bookshop and the Deptford Lounge, among other venues.
You can find more dates and details – and watch each writer at work – at www.LiveWritingSeries.com. To submit your idea for a commission online, contact us through the website, tweet @LiveWritingSrs or simply use the hash tag #npglateshift on Friday evening, 5-10pm.