• Lit Live: Sarah McNeill

The best of times/The worst of times

“IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of Light. It was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us, we had nothing before us. We were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

The famous opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities inspired the title of the AUGUST

chapter of Lit Live; stories, like life, of light and dark, despair, death, fun and frivolity.

We started with a short essay by Italian author and columnist Umberto Eco. How to travel with a Salmon is from a collection of stories published in 1990 under the same name.

Our dynamic duo, Annie Murtagh Monks and Andrew Hale shared the deeply emotional long-form story, Embrace by American novelist Roxana Robinson. She lives in New York within sight of where the twin towers once stood, which made this story about being on a hijacked plane flying in Manhattan all the more poignant .

Hanif Kureishi is a British playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and novelist of Pakistani and English descent who has made the list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945. He started his career in the 1970s as a pornography writer, writing under female pseudonyms.

Annie read his latest short story, She Said He Said, a response to #MeToo movement, a movement that has surely brought out the best and worst in people – men and women alike.

Hanif said his story was his response to political correctness: “Why are we saying what we’re saying? What do we want to achieve? What sort of people do we want to be now? What is love today and how should we talk about it? What are the best words to use?”

From a Lit Live favorite, Richard Glover and his collection of autobiographical stories, Are Men Really Necessary? Andrew read An unsatisfactory erection:Camping in the 1970s.

James Thurber is the author of the wonderful Walter Mitty. Andrew and Sarah performed The Macbeth Murder Mystery from his collection, The Thurber Carnival, published in 1943.

The best and worst must surely end with something gloriously bad... so Sarah read a short deeply erotic passage from Mills and Boon author Maya Banks’ novel Letting Go. Gladly!!