I have worked with Isabelle since February 2014 when one of our Eccles British Library Writers in Residence introduced Isabelle to the Eccles Centre. Isabelle brought us a proposal to run a free event for aspiring writers as part of her existing Books Talk Back event series. I was extremely impressed by Isabelle’s commitment and professionalism throughout the event planning and delivery. She ran the event beautifully: she provided me with text and images in a timely manner, handled the recruitment of speakers and managed the guest-list single-handed. She was a delight to work with, always positive, cheerful and quick to respond. On the evening of the event she chaired the discussion with an easy and engaging style, which produced an excellent dialogue with the established author and solicited supportive feedback from the audience for the new writers who read out their work.
Books Talk Back provided a fantastic opportunity to read my work in front of an audience of enthusiastic readers and writers. Although reading a work in progress to an audience of strangers has the potential to be a nerve-wracking experience, the informal nature of the event helped to relieve the pressure. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the event was the opportunity to receive feedback from a renowned novelist, in my case Tracy Chevalier. It is rare for aspiring authors to receive criticism from such an accomplished writer, and the fact this advice then formed the basis for a group discussion created a unique forum that brought together the expert technical advice of the writer and the expectations of the reader.
Books Talk Back was a unique experience, public and intimate at the same time, warmly held together by Isabelle and a generous feedback forum for the writer, it was at once, reading, sharing and interested critique – a valuable help to me in writing my novel
In my opinion, when it comes to literary events, the more interaction between writer/audience, the better. I have taken part in several literary events, both as a speaker and as an audience member, and nothing has been quite as warm and wonderful as Books Talk Back. It is an intimate event run and attended by people who are caring, curious, and encouraging. Attending Books Talk Back is like sitting down with a bunch of close literary-loving friends you didn’t even know you had.
Having been in the audience for a previous Books Talk Back event at The British Library, I knew I was in safe hands! Isabelle is an expert at creating a relaxed and informative space in which to discuss the challenges of new writing. It was completely brilliant having Alison MacCleod a seat away, ready to interpret audience feedback and encourage from the get-go. She is a fantastic writer, and an event like this, that provides unpublished writers with direct access to a Booker Longlisted author (I mean, when does that ever happen?) is worth its weight in gold.
Books Talk Back offers immediate, interactive feedback to aspiring authors, as well as a good-natured environment in which to practise the sometimes daunting task of public speaking. I would recommend all developing writers to snap up such a beneficial opportunity, and all those with an interest in literature to attend and participate
I have attended the Books Talk Back event a few times and each time I have found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. The event itself is unique, allowing its audience to explore and delve into stories untold whilst at the same time learn something new about the art of fiction writing. What I love about the event is that both published and unpublished writers come together to share their individual experiences of the writing process, which in turn helps others to become more confident and knowledgeable writers. Even those not planning a future in writing cannot fail to be creatively inspired after attending this event. Coupled with Isabelle King’s impeccable hosting skills, this event is a joy to attend
When I went to a Books Talk Back event, it was a very entertaining and informative evening. Isabelle King has a real skill in hosting, creating a very intimate environment, where the guests got to be at their best, share their stories, and connect with members of the audience. It’s a must for any budding writers, or those just passionate about novels as an art form who want a great evening
Sharing my work at Books Talk Back injected life and ideas back into a story I’d become stuck with. I left the event feeling totally energised, and excited again about a piece of work that I thought was dead and had put aside for months unable to think what to do next to improve it. The environment Isabelle creates is so supportive, it makes what could be an otherwise daunting experience (sharing works in progress with strangers) a really positive one. Having detailed and considered feedback on your work (for free!) from the expert eyes of a published author (and a tutor of creative writing) is invaluable and an incredibly opportunity. I’ve not only felt I’ve benefited significantly from the events I’ve participated in with Books Talk Back, but I’ve also really enjoyed participating in them.