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Three Lantern Shows & Two Courses

January 10, 2014
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to announce another three lantern shows presented in collaboration with Bishopsgate Institute in which Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographers show their pictures and discuss their work with Archivist Stefan Dickers. Additionally – if anyone fancies new endeavours for 2014 – places are available on my writing course How To Write A Blog That People Will Want To Read in the first weekend of February and, in March, Rosie Dastgir & Kate Griffin, with guest Clive Murphy, are hosting How to Write Your First Novel.

Spitalfields Market, 1990


Thursday 13th March 7:30pm

In the last year of the Spitalfields Fruit & Vegetable Market before it moved in 1991, Mark Jackson worked in partnership with Huw Davies, visiting nightly to record the life of the ancient market in vibrant black and white photographs. The result is a unique social record of more than four thousand images which are now preserved in the Bishopsgate Archive.

Photograph copyright © Mark Jackson & Huw Davies

Butchers, Spitalfields 1966 -”I had just finished taking a picture next door, when this lady came out with a joint of meat and asked me to take her photograph with it.”


Wednesday 2nd April 7:30pm

Born in Plaistow in 1944, John Claridge photographed the people and the world he grew up in before they vanished forever. Characterised with affection and humanity, and distinguished by a distinctive graphic sensibility, his remarkable canon of photography is perhaps the largest created by anyone in the East End in the sixties.

Photograph copyright © John Claridge

Kids in Spitalfields in the nineteen-eighties


Thursday 10th April 7:30pm

Following the publication of his new book BRICK LANE by Spitalfields Life Books on 3rd April, Phil will be showing a selection of his dramatic photographs taken over the last thirty years telling the story of volatile social change on one of Britain’s most celebrated streets.

Photograph copyright ©Phil Maxwell


Spend a weekend in an eighteenth century weaver’s house in Spitalfields and learn how to write a blog with The Gentle Author. This course will examine the essential questions which need to be addressed if you wish to write a blog that people will want to read.

“Like those writers in fourteenth century Florence who discovered the sonnet but did not quite know what to do with it, we are presented with the new literary medium of the blog – which has quickly become omnipresent, with many millions writing online. For my own part, I respect this nascent literary form by seeking to explore its own unique qualities and potential.” – The Gentle Author


1. How to find a voice – When you write, who are you writing to and what is your relationship with the reader?
2. How to find a subject – Why is it necessary to write and what do you have to tell?
3. How to find the form – What is the ideal manifestation of your material and how can a good structure give you momentum?
4. The relationship of pictures and words – Which comes first, the pictures or the words? Creating a dynamic relationship between your text and images.
5. How to write a pen portrait – Drawing on The Gentle Author’s experience, different strategies in transforming a conversation into an effective written evocation of a personality.
6. What a blog can do – A consideration of how telling stories on the internet can affect the temporal world.


The course will be held at 5 Fournier St, Spitalfields on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February from 10am -5pm. Lunch catered by Leila’s Cafe and tea, coffee and cakes by the Townhouse are included within the course fee of £250. Accommodation at 5 Fournier St is available upon enquiry to Fiona Atkins

Email to book a place on the course.

Staffordshire dogs copyright © Rob Ryan


Have you ever wondered how to find the story you want to tell?

Spend an inspirational weekend in an eighteenth century house in Spitalfields in the company of successful first-time novelists and explore how to write your novel. A two day course on how to begin writing your first novel, comprising a blend of talks by novelists, Rosie Dastgir (author of A Small Fortune) and Kate Griffin (author of Kitty Peck & the Music Hall Murders) with guest writer Clive Murphy, alongside practical exercises and discussion.

We suggest participants bring along an idea that they would like to pursue and, over the weekend, we’ll discuss and develop your work, and suggest possible approaches.


1. How Do You Get Started? Writing every day, learning to write without inhibition and finding a voice. Discovering your subject and researching it. We’ll offer a choice of writing prompts to get people moving forward with their ideas.

2. What Are The Elements of Writing Fiction? We’ll give a brief survey of narrative voice and point of view, and look at showing versus telling, intuition versus structure, and plot versus story.

3. Where Do Characters Come From? Are they born or made?  How do you invent plausible characters?  Drawing on examples in literature and working with practical exercises, we’ll address the elusive business of creating character.

4. Writing Dialogue. Finding your characters’ voices. How do you make characters distinctive from one another?  We’ll show ways – with practical exercises – to inject life into your characters’ sentences.

5. Personal Stories. Why are so many first time novels autobiographical?  How do you fictionalize your material?  We’ll look at some first novels and see what works.

6. Our Practical Experiences Of Writing A First Novel. Strategies for finding an agent, getting a publisher – the pitfalls, highs and lows.


The course will be held at 5 Fournier St, Spitalfields on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd March from 10am -5pm. Lunch catered by Leila’s Cafe and tea, coffee and cakes by the Townhouse are included within the course fee of £250. Accommodation at 5 Fournier St is available upon enquiry to Fiona Atkins

Email to book a place on the course.

Rosie Dastgir, author of A Small Fortune

Kate Griffin, author of Kitty Peck & the Music Hall Murders

Clive Murphy, Poet, Oral Historian & Author of three novels – Summer Overtures, Freedom For Mr Mildew & Nigel Someone

Portrait of Kate Griffin copyright © Colin O’Brien

One Response leave one →
  1. Carol Himmelman-Christopher permalink
    January 10, 2014

    Wonderful news!! Such exciting things happening for you and for your many followers. Very pleased for you.

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