THE WHITSTABLE MEMMAP PROJECT – WHITLIT WANTS YOUR STORIES

As you may know, I am the Memoir Director of WhitLit, a new literary festival coming to Whitstable from May 8-11, 2014.

Here’s a full programme of events. During WhitLit our authors will be telling us some great stories. But we know that Whitstable has its own stories to tell. And that’s why I’ve launched the Whitstable MemMaps project.

Below you will find a simple map of our town. Please print the map and embellish it with your memories and stories of the town in any medium you like. You can use words, poetry, lyrics, art, photographs, doodles, and collage – there are no limits! You may wish to contribute memories of special occasions, relationships, significant moments in your life relating to family, friends, work, love and fun. We would like your stories about good and bad times in Whitstable in as much or as little detail as you wish, whether you are a local or a visitor and whether they are your own stories or ones you’ve been told. Your memories might match places on the map, or not. You can add your name or remain anonymous. You can contribute more than one MemMap.

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Please scan and email your map to marnie@yourmemoir.co.uk or take it to:

The Whitstable Shop (WIT), 34 Harbour Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AJ
Whitstable Library, 32 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1DD
Harbour Books, 21 Harbour Street, Whitstable, CT5 1AQ
Horsebridge Arts and Community Centre, 11 Horsebridge Road, Whitstable, CT5 1AF

More maps can also be collected from the above venues.

The completed maps will be seen
www.whitlit.co.uk
twitter.com/WhitstableLit
facebook.com/whitstableliteraryfestival
and examples displayed throughout town during the festival

I am hugely excited about the Whitstable MemMap project, which came about after I read an amazing book called Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper. Becky distributed blank maps of the Big Apple and the stories they unearthed were incredible from the simple and complex to the funny and the touching. I immediately thought that I would love to do the same for Whitstable and when I got involved with WhitLit, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. There are great stories everywhere and I’m expecting gems – tiny delicate gems and great, big flashy ones – from Whitstable. Do email me marnie@yourmemoir.co.uk or call me on 07710 721389 if you or someone you know needs assistance to complete a MemMap. You can tweet me @MarnieMemoirs. Please use the hashtags #MemMaps and #WhitLit.

On Saturday, April 12, WhitLit founder Victoria Falconer and I will be in town distributing MemMaps and WhitLit programmes. Do come and see us for a chat. We will be at the WIT in Harbour Street, outside Barclays in the High Street, and the library in Oxford Street throughout the day.

As part of WhitLit, on Friday, May 9, I am running a Write Your Own Memoir workshop. It’s at the library from 11am until 12.30pm and costs £5. To find out more about my company, Your Memoir, through which I help people write and print their memoirs, please visit my website. The Your Memoir Facebook page is here.

I am very grateful to Hope Fitzgerald, an artist and photographer from Faversham who kindly gave her time and expertise to create the Whitstable MemMap. You can tweet @HopeFitzgerald2.

We are also very grateful to the WIT for sponsoring the Whitstable MemMap project.

The Whitstable MemMap project was inspired by Mapping Manhattan by Becky Cooper.

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT

In my last post I mentioned that I was to have a role in WhitLit, Whitstable’s first literary festival, taking place in 2014…

I can now reveal that, thrillingly, I am the festival’s Memoir Director!

To say I am excited is an understatement. I am working with founder and co-director Victoria Falconer (formerly Annable), a passionate and energetic book lover with an amazing track record in event organisation and campaign management. Together with our team, we’ll be putting something really special together. And what could be more special as a starting point for inspiration than our delightful hometown Whitstable – home of the free, the quirky and the creative.

We want to hear from you about what you’d enjoy at our festival, so please tweet us @WhitstableLit, find us on Facebook, or email info@whit-lit.co.uk with your thoughts. We have a survey that we’d LOVE you to complete. And we’re super keen to hear from book club members. Apparently there are 65 book clubs in Whitstable and we’re planning a special event for bookclubbers, so do get in touch if you fancy a bit of a book bash!

I am awash with ideas for memoir events but I’d love your input. So if there’s a memoirist you’d love me to bring to the seaside, please let me know. My work as a ghostwriter and editor continues, I am currently working on 12 projects with some truly fascinating authors, some of whom may even launch their books at the first ever WhitLit. Exciting!

WhitLit will be a wonderful opportunity to gather the stories of those who live in and love our town, so keep your eyes peeled for the Whitstable MemMaps, coming soon (we want your secrets and stories – anonymous if you prefer) and a blog of Whitstable Faces – the town’s characters revealed…

More news soon, so watch this space. Oh, and by the way, do you like our snazzy logo?

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WHITSTABLE MEMOIRS

Happy New Year to you all!

I made a few resolutions and one of them was to blog once a month, so here we go for January with news of a very exciting event…

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From January 12 to 27, 2013, Whitstable’s Horsebridge Arts and Community Centre is being turned into a Time Travel Tourist Information Exhibition with opportunities for you to enjoy the Whitstable memories of others and contribute your own special memories and stories about our wonderful town. The project invites locals to donate family photos, objects, pieces of creative writing, or stories documented on film. There are time travel guides explaining the history of the town, a pop-up theatre with moveable 2D cast and paintings and photographs focusing on Whitstable’s maritime history.

The project would especially like to hear from you if you have relatives or knowledge related to local Oyster, fishing, diving & maritime trades, or memories of seaside adventures from the 1950s to the present day.

I am a native of Whitstable having been born in St Helier’s Nursing Home in Castle Road (in 1975), now a private residence. I might contribute my story of returning there to work. I was a home help for the elderly when I was at Uni (1998) and the couple I cared for there were very interested to hear that I was born in their living room!

Or maybe I’ll speak about my memories of 1982. This was when an old church in Whitstable High Street was being refurbished and turned into our lovely theatre, the Whitstable Playhouse. Oh the dust! My Mum, Maureen Smith MBE, was on the original fundraising committee and the jumble sales that took place in what would become known as the Lindley Room (the bar) were magical to me. They gave me a lifelong love of rummaging! I am now a vintage collector and love the stories that come with some of my pieces.

Lindley

Above is Lindley, a toy I bought at one of those jumbles! Named after The Lindley Players who own the theatre…

I had some of my very happiest times at the Playhouse from watching every play and pantomime from the night of opening (A Voyage Round My Father, attended by its writer Sir John Mortimer CBE) to performing there myself countless times. A highlight was playing Snow White in the annual pantomime. 1992 I think? I’ll have to look it up. I now produce an annual event at the Playhouse. Called Dance For Peace it raises money for my small fundraising organisation, Trust Sulha, educating Afghan refugee children in Pakistan.

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One of the performers rehearsing for Dance For Peace…

Or maybe I’ll contribute a memory of my childhood home in Station Road, one of the first council houses to be built in the world. My brother is now converting this house into flats and my husband and I are moving into the garden flat this spring. I’m going home! Recently I typed up the diaries of a 92-year-old Whitstable lady. As a child she and her friends would visit the builders there in Station Road as they constructed those council houses. They took potatoes and cooked them in the builders’ fires. What a coincidence that she should do this on a place that eventually became my beloved front garden, where my mother grew my favourite Blue Moon roses (the scent!) and I played with my Flower Fairies.

Here’s a picture of me in the back garden with my beloved swing, Sad Sam toy (remember those?) and security blanket…

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I have so many happy memories of Whitstable. How will I choose?

And what about you? Have a think and I hope to see you there!

Marnie

P.S. Don’t forget! The Horsebridge is a charity and our town needs it. If you visit the exhibition, please leave a donation.

‘COME AND SAY HI – YOUR MEMOIR EVENT’

On Monday, March 12th 2012, I’m holding two FREE drop-in sessions at the Horsebridge Arts and Community Centre in Whitstable, Kent (UK).

This is a lovely opportunity for you to pop by, say hello and ask me any questions about having your life story written from how the process works and the costs, to the time it takes and about the printing.

I set up www.yourmemoir.co.uk so that having a memoir is accessible to everyone, so here I am – accessible and willing to share cake, no less. Plus, if it’s a nice day this is a great opportunity to have a wander about on Whitstable beach and even pop to the harbour for some shellfish or hot, delicious chippies!

Your Memoir offers gift vouchers, so do come if you want to know more about giving the gift of a memoir to your parents or grandparents, perhaps for a special birthday or anniversary. So many people tell me they regret not having asked their relatives more about their lives before they died.

Remember, anyone can have a memoir written. You don’t have to had an extraordinarily dramatic life because your memories alone will be precious to the next generation. That said, if anyone does have a particularly interesting tale, I can present it to my literary agent for consideration and we can chat more about this process at the sessions. Plenty of people have already started writing their memoirs, and I also offer a reading and editing service.

I’ll be in workshop five on the top floor (there is a lift) between 10am until midday and then 6pm until 8pm. If you can’t make these times, let me know by calling 07710 721 389 or email marnie at yourmemoir dot co dot uk. I’ll be around all day and we can find a quiet spot to talk either in the Horsebridge cafe or elsewhere. Or I can meet you another day – no obligation.

I look forward to meeting you on Monday, March 12th. I’ll be offering my usual discounts to pensioners, Armed Forces personnel, people with disabilities and those in financial hardship as well as a special Meeting Marnie discount – regardless of whether or not you bring me cake or let me share the aforementioned chippies…

See you then! Marnie 🙂

P.S. I’m looking for opportunities to do free talks about Your Memoir, so if you know of an organisation that might consider this, please get in touch.