Literature Review: Michael Summons Roberts and Alison Moore

Tuesday 15 November 2016
reading time: min, words

Warming, passionate and inspiring. Michael Symmons Roberts and Alison Moore made the first night of the Festival of Literature go off with an explosion of everything that makes writers write and readers read.

Expectations were high for the opening night of the Festival of Literature, the first since Nottingham became a UNESCO City of Literature last year. Particularly after the overwhelming welcome speech by the host, in which countless parts of our community were recognised for their hard work that made it all happen.

Alison Moore and Michael Symmons Roberts were a treat to listen to. Being totally different kinds of writers, the night was full of variety and satisfied every kind of literary craving. Moore opened with a reading of her newest novel Death at the Seaside and a fascinating insight into the seaside narrative. Her direct writing warms the soul, with a relatable but unique story of fresh starts for thirty-year-old protagonist Bonnie. It’s definitely a read to pick up this winter when the central heating just isn’t enough. The reading saw Moore return to her previous place of work, Lakeside Arts, recollecting her career as a writer, which began at the age of eight. Her stories, both fictional and biographical, were moreish and encouraging and it was truly a pleasure to listen to the author whose first novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Roberts followed with an incredible repertoire of poetry. From alternative wedding vows to biblical stories to genetics; there was pretty much something for everyone. Roberts’ passion for form creates evocative poetry that when combined with a sophisticated performance produces powerful spoken word. You really feel you are in the presence of a true craftsman which is no surprise, considering Roberts has written since he was five years old, usurping Moore by three years!

The opening night really set the bar high. These are excellent writers, performing for an eager audience enlivened by words. If the aim of the festival is to bring people together, it achieved that on day one.

Festival of Literature website

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