I had my first experience of the Liars’ League on Tuesday 13th November at The Phoenix. The Liars’ League advertises its events as a place where: Writers Write; Actors Act; Audience Listens; Everyone Wins. The venue itself was a rather plush affair, with red velvet seating, a well appointed small stage, a bar and excellent food.
November’s theme was ‘Treason and Plot’ and featured five stories covering ‘lucky terrorists, taciturn cult-leaders, Nordic fishermen, Jewish princesses and an ankle-obsessed Jacobean in a ginger wig’. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed all five stories, there’s something about having your story read by a talented actor that really brings it to life.
My three favourites, all dealing in different ways with the theme of treason and plot:
‘Lucky Numbers’ by Michael Spring told the story of a terrorist with a winning lottery ticket. The author managed to combine humour with grim reality in an effective and impressive way. A real lesson for me, as use of humour in my writing is something that I really struggle with.
‘Princess’ by Atar Hadari was a story of unrequited love and the way it can twist a person. It was told in the form of a monologue from the point of view of the chef (the man in love), and managed to build the world of the city and the kibbutz, and the effect on his life and the lives of young people. Again there was the use of a very conversational and at times light-hearted approach to conveying key information. Very engaging.
‘A Crowing Hen’ by Arike Oke was set in Hull in the fishing community. The title refers to one of the many fishing community superstitions, and the story makes use of these superstitions as part of the plot. This was the darkest of the five stories, dealing with betrayal and its consequences—gripping throughout.
Looking ahead to next year, the theme for May 2013 is ‘Man and Machine’ and specifically invites SF stories. The main challenge, apart from time of course, is the 2000 word limit. To convey a story of the quality required within 2000 words is a real skill.