The last story we read together on the Readers Retreat was The Matchboy by Paula Cunningham, runner-up in the Costa Short Story Awards. A powerful and moving story about alcohol addiction in a small, tightly-knit family. Strong, simple language, and beautifully structured - we thought it was wonderful. Back home, the plan is that we will all re-read the six stories and have our own voting panel to create our Readers Retreat winners! Watch this space.
We had an amazing week. Great stories. Fabulous food. Lovely company. Convivial evenings. Long walks. Lots of reading (and knitting). Opportunities for long stretches of quiet or silence. Inspirational speakers. Wood fires. Bookshops everywhere. I asked Shaun if he would miss us, and he replied that not only would he miss us, but that Wigtown would too.
We've been a group of twelve people, in a small Scottish town for a week - shopping locally in the bookshops and cafes; buying our food and wine in the High Street Co-op; browsing for pre-loved clothes in the charity shop and buying gifts in the 'Hippie-Dippie' gift shop. There's a very special feeling you get when you support the local economy - a real feel-good buzz. We've chatted with the shop-keepers and known that all of our purchases have supported them and their livelihoods. It's very real. Try it where you live!
I'll be sharing lists of books we've talked about, poems we've read, recipes we've relished. (It might take a while as I'm back at work now.) Hopefully a photo gallery will appear too.
The next big Wenlock Books excursion will be the Readers Tour of Venice in October half term! More details soon.