Bridport Story Slam III

Bridport Story Slam III


What an honour it was to be at last night’s Bridport Story Slam, attending as a judge – my first time in this role as a writer.

Part of the Bridport Open Book, the event was held at the Beach & Barnicott, a wonderful, intimate grade II listed bar and restaurant in the centre of Bridport, Dorset. Supported by The Dorset Writers Network, the slam was organised by the lovely Frances Colville, and compared by Declan Duffy, a charming and humorous MC who ensured the proceedings were seamless.

Twelve brave souls entered the fray, and when their name was pulled from the hat, they stepped onto the stage and entertained us with stories no longer than five minutes each.

From the foreboding tale of Hide and Seek, to a plum fedora, and ending with the death of Cock Robin as told by the sparrow, I was delighted with the diversity of the new writers.

Kate Kelly, Penny Deacon & Laura E James
Kate Kelly, Penny Deacon & Laura James

With my two colleagues, Kate Kelly and Penny Deacon, I retired to the Judges Chambers to consider the verdict.

The winning story was A French Tale, a glorious, witty, well-observed account of a seven-nearly-eight-year-old girl’s burgeoning curiosity about the world around her. It was written and read by Wendy Breckon.

Writing for a slam is a different art form to that of writing for a mail-in competition. There has to be a performance at a slam. The reader has to put the physical energy and life into his or her words, get up in front of a room of waiting listeners, and entertain them. There’s something very traditional about that. Something familial. As if we’re snuggled around the fire in the warmest room in the house, holding our breath as our grandparents, mothers, or fathers tell us their greatest tales.

Wendy achieved this. Her descriptions put me right in the middle of her scenes and I could visualise the story from start to finish, and her delivery was divine. But had I received her tale to read for myself, it would still have worked – proof she had written a great story.

Book Table

Many thanks to the organisers, performers, my able assistant, my daughter, who handled book sales, the venue and my fellow judges. It was an excellent evening and I hope a positive experience for everyone who took part.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Take care.

Laura x




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