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Twisted Tales: Simon Kurt Unsworth, Alison Littlewood and Graham Joyce

Saturday 15 June saw the latest event from the Twisted Tales crew, who put on an evening of supernatural horror readings at Waterstones in Liverpool. The rain poured almost relentlessly throughout proceedings, giving a dreary yet atmospheric slant to the evening.

Simon Kurt UnsworthThe first author to read was Quiet Houses scribe Simon Kurt Unsworth. Simon read a story called ‘Scucca’ from his superb Lost Places collection. ‘Scucca’ is a story of a young man visiting his taxidermy-obsessed uncle. Things take a turn for the worse when said uncle is presented with a giant hound which he’s coveted for some time for his hobby. The story was very atmospheric and had a whiff of The Hound of the Baskervilles, something that added to its potency. As ever Simon read very well and his personality shone through in his delivery.

Alison LittlewoodSimon’s performance was followed by one from Alison Littlewood, who read her Scottish themed ghost story ‘Scairt’ (due to appear in Marie O’Regan’s Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women). The story is a tragic tale of loss and new beginnings, with an authentic Scottish atmosphere along with excellent local dialogue . The story started slowly yet very compellingly; by the end of the story Alison had the audience eating out of her hand.

Graham JoyceRounding off the evening was Graham Joyce, author of The Silent Land. Graham read from his forthcoming novel Some Kind of Fairy Tale. As with the previous two authors, Graham has his own unique writing voice yet his skill really shone through in the dialogue between the two characters in his piece. The conversation he read was funny, thought-provoking and occasionally saucy; he got an excellent reaction from the audience.

Whilst those present enjoyed the event, it was a shame that the audience was quite small. Genre favourites Simon Bestwick and Cate Gardner were also on hand to lend support to their fellow writers, providing a few amusing anecdotes of their own after proceedings wrapped up. The small audience, however, was more a reflection of the atrocious weather conditions that day rather than the stellar talent on display. Nevertheless it was a shame that so few people got to witness such high quality stories being read by their authors. Be sure to keep an eye out for future Twisted Tales events, which are consistently excellent and feature some of the brightest talent in the genre.

 DAN HOWARTH

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