Birmingham Literature Festival: Spring Edition

Luke Kennard reading from 'The Transition' 

Luke Kennard reading from 'The Transition' 

Luke Kennard is mercurial.

The man talks at a million miles an hour and his synapses spark at an alarming rate.

Having been dubbed an 'overachieving poet' (The Guardian, for youngest Forward Prize recipient etc etc) he has just published his debut novel The Transition - a near-future dystopia tackling the housing crisis.

He talked about it on the opening day of Birmingham Literature Festival and the conversation was pacy and revelatory, especially on the pressing issue (for writers, anyway) of how to approach dystopia when living in one.

His book should be discussed more widely. It takes on capitalism, home ownership, and the plight of a generation sorely in need of solutions.

Of course, being a novel of the times, there are no solutions, but along the way Kennard combines humour and pathos to carve out a striking exploration of our current preoccupations.

It's also a touching love story.

Do read 'The Transition' if you want a fresh take on a rapidly expanding genre.

On mentoring

I caught up with one of my students recently over lunch. She's just done her first term at one of the best universities in the UK.

She came to me last year for mentoring after Writing West Midlands put us in touch. They thought we'd be a good fit, as we both write literary fiction.

Well, what can I say? I'm so proud of her. She initially wanted some help with her short stories. Halfway through our time together she decided she'd take the plunge and apply to do an MA. Now she's being taught by some of the best writers in the world. I'm not exaggerating.

Mentoring is such a joy. I think I'm at my best when I have talent in front of me and know how to bring it out. It's energising, and one-to-one teaching depends so much on a positive creative flow.

I'm going to be doing a lot more mentoring this year, and I'm currently looking for emerging writers with flair and ambition.

If you've made it a goal to be published in literary journals or enter more writing competitions, then perhaps I can help.

You'll find everything you need to know in the mentoring section of this site. Interested? Send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.