About Shakirah

Owner/Administrator of getWrite! A place where struggling writers can release frustration through quotes, quirky articles and valuable advice. To find out more, go to www.shakirahbourne.com

Writing Creative Non-Fiction

I attended a workshop on Writing Creative Non-Fiction on Wednesday, March 20th, conducted by Andrea Stuart, and organised by the NCF Literary Arts Desk. I jumped at the opportunity to attend, not only because it was a free workshop by a respected author, but because I am one of the Editors of an upcoming anthology of sensual memoirs by Caribbean women. I hope you know of Senseisha by now. Submissions have been trickling in, and it’s already shaping up to be one controversial read!

Oh so many genres, so little time…

truecrime

Sample of my True Crime Collection

I have always LOVED True Crime. My good friends used to buy me True Crime and Serial Killer biographies as birthday and Christmas gifts. They knew they couldn’t go wrong with those – True Crime books or earrings. I always joke that if the Criminal Minds team had to inspect my bedroom (Shamar, you are welcome anytime!), they would look at my bookshelf and diagnose me a serial killer. What does your bookshelf say about you?

I even tried my hand at investigating unsolved murders here in Barbados, and had some articles published in local newspapers about the Canefield Murders (a killer who dumped his female victims in canefields), and the Pele case (the controversial murder of a local football star). Why did I stop? I hope in a couple years I’ll be able to tell you…

So…Back to Andrea Stuart – author of the books Showgirls, which was adapted into a two-part documentary for the Discovery Channel, and The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine. Her third and current book Sugar in the Blood: One Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire was published in England (2012) by Portobello Books and was published in the US by Knopf in January (2013).

I.e she knows her stuff. Below I’ve noted some key facts and tips that she shared with the workshop attendees about writing creative non-fiction. Those persons who wish to submit to Senseisha should pay special attention. Continue reading

Bath Short Story Award 2013 – Deadline March 30th

The Bath Short Story Award 2013 is open for entries until 30/03/13

  • 1st Prize £500 / 2nd Prize £100 / 3rd Prize £50 / Extra Local Prize £50
  • Opportunity to be published in an international e-anthology
  • Main Prize shortlist judges: Cornerstones Literary Consultancy http://cornerstones.co.uk
  • Longlisted stories will be announced here late April 2013, followed by the shortlist in mid May. The winners will be announced at a prize-giving on 8th June 2013 and published here shortly afterwards
  • For full details, please see our Rules and Entry pages

http://bathshortstoryaward.co.uk/?page_id=116

2013 Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Applications for the 2013 session will be accepted January 15 through April 15. We appreciate early applications.

Applicants will be selected on the strength and promise of the work submitted and on the committee’s judgment that the applicant is likely to benefit from the Conference. Publications are not required for general admission.

http://sewaneewriters.org/apply

Bridport Prize – Deadline May 31

The mission of the Bridport Prize is to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence through its competition structure.

The Bridport Prize was founded by Bridport Arts Centre in 1973 and has steadily grown in stature and prestige. Right from the start the competition attracted entries from all parts of the UK and from overseas.

All entries submitted can be on any subject, and written in any style or form.  However, we do not recommend poems or stories written for children.

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The Evolution of My Writing Voice

I’ve wanted to write this post since my partner in words, Hadlee Sobers, asked getWriters what writers most influenced their writing style. As usual, I have to start the story from when I was a wee tot, and can never just give a straight answer without the back-story.

Sweet Valley High

I have to fight off the wave of nostalgia just from looking at this book cover. I used to INHALE Jessica and Elizabeth stories. Charles Colton says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,and I certainly proved my adoration for the troublesome twins with my first story called Jealousy Can Kill, written when I was about nine or ten years old. My protagonists were Lily, a red-haired, green eyed cheerleader, and Zachary, her blonde, blue-eyed boyfriend. I’m looking at the story now, and it really isn’t bad. Maybe I will share an excerpt in another post. 🙂

Now, every time I think about Sweet Valley High, I think about Chimimanda Adichie’s Ted Talk on the dangers of a single story. At that time I wasn’t reading children’s  books with Caribbean characters, or stories that I could relate to. I don’t know if these books weren’t written or if they just weren’t available to me. I remember asking a friend what “a crumpet” was, and I desperately wanted to try treacle pie, thanks to Enid Blyton. That discussion is for another post though. Right now I want to thank Francine Pascal for sparking my interest in reading, and being my first inspiration for putting pen to paper.

PS. I  just found out that Charles Colton coined that famous phrase thanks to Google.

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Valuable information relevant to all new writers…

Caribbean/African Book Blog

Breaking the Shackles

“The fundamental cure for poverty is not money but knowledge.” Sir William Arthur Lewis, St. Lucian Nobel Laureate for Economics

Caribbean writers are facing a dilemma. The region is blessed with numerous poets and novelists whose work has thrilled readers over the years.

But if you speak to many booklovers in and outside of the Caribbean, or check out some online message boards where the topic of discussion is Caribbean literature, you’ll find people bewailing how difficult it is to find good books by Caribbean writers, whether it’s in the region itself or in the metropolitan markets.

There is also a thirst for new writers which goes unquenched – again because it’s not easy to find their books in the bookshops. What a shame, considering how difficult it is for new writers – not to mention those from the Caribbean, especially if they reside there – to…

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