Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published July 11th 2019
Three course meal served with charm, blood and gore
Katherine Susannah Prichard was a great writer and in the fifty years since her death, her home in Greenmount has become a great help and haven for established and burgeoning writers.
From time to time the KSP Writers' Centre has writers-in-residence being offered a haven of peace and quiet in order to write without interruption. Often these are kind enough to lend their presence and voice to literary dinners.
The Ladies in Black at Suzi Fox's Literary Dinner (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
One of the current two writers is mystery novelist Suzi Fox who was the Guest of Honour at the recent Film Noir Literary Dinner - a Gatsby-esque evening of food and readings by Susi Fox from her first novel and the work in progress.
I had not previously been to one of the Literary Dinners and was looking forward very much. This particular one had the theme 'Film Noir', so I donned a soft black fedora and a mysterious look.
A motley group of people from all walks, ages and professions with the sole connection of a love of words. After a hour or so of getting to know each other - I met a poet, a University Professor, an author of young adult novels, publishers and avid readers, we were called to dinner by charming sable-clad Chairperson Elizabeth Lewis (a published poet and teacher) and we sat around a long table beautifully and imaginatively decorated with toy guns, paper masks and lots and lots of loot from the Bank of Toyland.
She welcomed us and outlined the evening's programme as well as briefly introducing the evening's speaker, Suzi Fox, and fellow writer and guest Natalie Cooke.
Suzi Fox (Right), and fellow writer Natalie Cooke (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
I just love these long table meals where you are seated next to someone you don't know and there is absolutely no pressure - conversation flows in general directions and everyone has a damn good time.
The three-course meal was cooked by the Board and we were treated first to home-cooked Mulligatawny Soup.
While we digested this Suzi Fox read us the first chapter of her best-selling mystery Mine, about a woman who has an emergency Cesarean and wakes up positive that the little baby boy presented to her is not hers - hence the title. A master of suspense, she stopped at a most exciting point, leaving us dying to know 'what happened next'?
Suzi Foxes bestseller, Mine (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
The main course was a buffet with a choice of an excellent chicken dish, vegetarian option, salad, pasta and so on.
We tucked into this ample and delicious provender and then Suzi returned to talk about her method of writing and her latest draft of her second novel - a psychological thriller about a serial killer.
Suzi is a working GP, a mother to her small children, a wife and a full-time university student finishing an Associate Degree while finishing her second novel. I suspect she gets four hours sleep every September.
She then took questions, answering fully and honestly. Asked about the process she said an agent was essential and 'be prepared to re-write'. Mine went through about fifty or more re-writes and polishing was continuous.
The utterly charming Dr Suzi Fox (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
She was articulate, insightful, helpful and charming. Over many years interviewing writers I have not always found this to be the case - after all, their chosen method of communication is the written word, not public speaking.
We rounded off the talk with a well-deserved avalanche of applause and the dinner with a selection of desserts, including a truly impressive tiramisu.
I found the Literary Dinner most enjoyable, and at $40 excellent value. (It's even cheaper if you're a member. Yet another good reason to become one if you aren't already.)
The next Literary Dinner will be 'Thanks for The Memories' on the evening of Tuesday 12th November - book here.