Literary and book festivals are a great way to learn more about your craft and access experts in the field. At the forthcoming Red Line Book Festival, Tramp Press founder and editor Sarah Davis-Goff will be discussing contemporary voices and the need for writers to be brave with three debut authors, Daniel Seery, Oona Frawley and Rob Doyle – we asked Daniel and Sarah to tell us a little bit more about the event…first up Daniel:
I love the idea that we can all follow the same path but have a different story to tell at the end of it. For me, this is an important point to keep in mind when it comes to writing, the fact that we naturally have contrasting views of the world and that we have our own individual way of expressing ourselves. Often, one of the mistakes that writers make is they over-edit their work to the extent that it loses the originality. The influence of other works can be a good thing but it is important to be aware of imitation and to learn to trust your own voice.
There seems to be a growing trend at the moment where independent publishers are discovering a lot of new literary talent. Independents can’t compete in terms of sales and revenue against the larger houses but in this way it gives them the freedom to choose books solely because they love them. And this can only be positive for writers as it offers them the opportunity to explore and experiment with themes or characters that wouldn’t always fall into the mainstream.
Writing is unusual in the sense that with a lot of other professions you grow in confidence the more you do it. And yes, in a technical sense, you hone the process through the continuous practice of writing but this doesn’t mean you become a more confident writer. More and more, I find myself drawn toward characters that are deeply flawed and this can lead to some very strong themes. So when I’m about to dive into a piece I feel apprehensive. I suppose there is a certain weight of responsibility that comes with the subject matter you choose, that the theme is handled with the care and the attention it deserves. And sometimes you may be nervous that you don’t fully understand a particular character and their issues. But this can be a good thing. Doubt pushes you to watch and to absorb and hopefully avoid stereotyping.
I guess something that I have learned since I first put pen to paper is that confidence is not always essential when it comes to writing but sometimes you do have to be brave….
Writers like Daniel Seery, Oona Frawley and Rob Doyle have a lot in common. They released their debut novels recently with small independent publishing companies. They all talk to greater or lesser extents about isolation, and the problems that society and community pose. It is the role of the artist to unpick issues, to invite dialogue, to draw those weird yet familiar characters and situations and problems, which these writers do so particularly well. The best writers are indeed the bravest writers – they’re the ones forging their own path, creating new voices, talking about issues that society can’t or won’t address.
The role of the writer is to strike out, to be brave. At Tramp HQ we refer to our mission statement a lot to make sure we’re fulfilling our role too. We are committed to publishing only the best and most deserving books, to encourage, support and maintain literary talent and to enrich the lives of readers. We’re lucky enough to work in a country where there are funding bodies in place just to help people make art – we’re empowered to take risks along with writers, and readers, and that’s so important. It’s our role as publishers to ensure that we’re as ballsy as our writers are, and to show readers that their bravery in choosing unknown entities and contemporary voices is important too.
(c) Daniel Seery and Sarah Davis-Goff
See Sarah, Daniel, Oona and Rob at the Red Line Book Festival on Tuesday 14th October at 8.15pm at the Loose End Studio, Civic Theatre . Booking at Civic Theatre Box Office: