Bovine Cemetery’s most recent literary event, All-Women’s Writing Spring Spectacular, promised ‘Original fiction, performed live’ from a cast-iron group of female voices; and it delivered. The entry was free, alcohol was strictly BYO, and the literature came fast and thick, with guest compere Pippa Moyle to showcase the local talent.
The evening consisted of a powerhouse of female literary voices, performing their own original fiction pieces to an enraptured crowed, half-doused in dim purple lighting. The Skiff, a newer venue for Bovine Cemetery’s events, held a bustling room at full capacity. Drinks were poured. 1920s era jazz burbled from the sound system. Writers prepared their pieces amidst the crowd.
And what writers they turned out to be. We were introduced to local authors – Alice Ash, Alice Cuninghame, Lonny Pop, Allie Rogers, Umi Sinha – who were invited to speak. Volunteers were also encouraged to take the stage and share their work, in an intimate yet inclusive experience for all involved. Each had a maximum of seven minutes to thrill the audience with their work, be it prose, poetry, short stories. There was only one rule – women only, folks.
All in all, there were eleven speakers, five invited authors and six brave volunteers. The open mic speakers enthralled with poetry on feminism; the rise of a she-wolf that forgot to shave; mental illness; sexual health; love; heartbreak; and being ‘stars of infinite possibility’. From the local authors we heard novellas concerning gender politics in Pakistan culture, and the clash of education and modelling. Flashes of novels were offered about childhood bullying, and a young girl’s travels to Sussex from India.
All tastes were catered for. We laughed at clever quips, and ruminated on hard-hitting emotions. The atmosphere was an ambient mix of XX-chromosome fuelled literary passion and relaxed bohemia. Men, of course, were allowed to spectate, but the women were the driving force of this evening.
Bovine Cemetery organise these open invitation events throughout the year. Regular updates on upcoming events are posted on their Facebook page, and on Meetup. Bovine Cemetery have also confirmed involvement in Brighton’s 2017 Fringe Festival – an opportunity to catch more live fiction from local voices in intimate settings around Brighton.
One thing is for certain, if live original fiction is your thing, then Bovine Cemetery host just about the most exciting events in which to witness it. We can’t wait for the next roaring literary success.
The Skiff, Friday 3rd February 2017
Words by Hannah Aston