Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction


April 2013

8 Lines a Week – The Portsmouth Writers – a celebration of St George!!!

St George

Hi, welcome to 8 Lines a Week, the archive for the assiduous.

On Tuesday night the Portsmouth Writers gathered in the sublime Square Tower in Old Portsmouth to celebrate St George’s Day & World Book Night as well as the proud literary heritage of the city. The event was covered by South Today and Radio Solent and bought together an eclectic and talented mix of writers from around the city, my good self being part of this south coast syndicate of scribes.

As ever we were ably supported by Portsmouth City Council, the Portsmouth Writers Hub at the New Theatre Royal and the fabulous Jo from Blackwells. The event was organised by Historical Novelist, Jack Hughes, who did an excellent job – I doth my cap to you, sir…Portsmouth City Emblem With work on display around the tower, ten of our band also read from our collective scribbling’s and excerpts from the literary greats of the city. Here is a snippet of what was on offer, in 8 Lines obviously…

*the length of what constitutes a line may alter slightly due to narrow display of website page… I thank you for your discretion in not drawing attention to this… 

Dickens 2 Take Nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence

read by Charlotte Comley and taken from the lips of Mr Jaggers from Dickens’ Great Expectations

Assisted by a descendant of the long-dead King, the rotten remains were lifted out, tasting the air after 500 years of being deconstructed by the sea

written and read by James Bicheno, extract taken from his  poem entitled – The Mary Rose

Others wear traditional clothes, defiant in newfound cultural ownership, painful nostalgia hugging brown skins that have shed Waziristani or Burmese sweat and blood

written and read by Lynne Blackwood, extract taken from her short story –  The Lesson in Dhansak – about her first generation Anglo-Indian heritage

He tried to shout but his mouth had been zipped shut. North was bursting, screaming inside…RUN…RUN…RUN…but she couldn’t hear

written and read by Tom Harris, extract taken from his middle grade novel, The Amber Room

Inside The Square Tower

Pull up your pants there is work to be done!

written and read by Anna Barzotti , extract taken from her short story – The Mozzarella Wars! From the collection – Stories Beyond The Dirt Track

Quake you spongy, fly-bitten puttocks, she is free. Mary Rose sails.

written and read by Zella Compton, extract taken from her original poem Henry & Mary, scribed specially for this night

When she closed her eyes she could see the pink wool winding round her body like a giant spider’s web

written and read by Christine Lawrence, extract taken from her novel Caught in the Web

You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us

read by Tom Harris and taken from the lips of Scrooge from Dickens’ Christmas Carol


That’s all from 8 Lines a Week, The Pompey Writers and the fantastic Square Tower…

Outside The Square Tower

Thanks for whizzing by and pop by next week for a London Marathon special


8 Lines A Week

Shark Plate

We are all busy. So I’m not saying that I am busy and no-one else is – so let’s get this straight. I’m no busier than you or anyone you know, because however busy you think you are someone else is always busier, juggling work, studying, family, relationships, money, hobbies, fruit, balls and chairs if they’re exceptional. Have I got that point across… excellent now I’ll begin.

Oh, I need to blog, but I just feel I need to prioritise my time working on honing my craft. So much to create and so much to learn about the writing process – how can I afford to spend time blogging when I should be working!!!


I’m in my first year of a new job at Portsmouth University, which I love, and when the day is done and the night comes down and the moon is shining through I can be found writing, editing, proofreading, swearing, ripping, shredding, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting my new novel. I love writing, I guess you know that’s true and I love my job – I’m lucky, but… I’m still busy. Okay, fair enough, that lady on the Sussex coast with all the cats and the degrees and the 18 businesses is far busier, but me… yep, I’m a little busy.

So, when I aint got nothin’ but the urge to blog, I tend to stop and work on my manuscript because time is precious and I never want to take my foot off the ball or my eye off the pedal, because that’s when mistakes are made! It’s always on my mind and one thing I can say is that being submerged in a novel is a wonderful place to be… and even though the distractions of life are always pulling me down that’s fine, because that’s the way it is – that’s life! That’s what all the people say!!!

But, I’m still busy whatever anyone says – yes, I know Mr Archer from Nottingham that you run 11 Fletcher outlets and have 21 daughters to clothe, feed and defend from young dart-playing suitors; I bow to your busyness, and your business – but, guess what, I’m still quite busy.

So, how do I write and maintain a blog when I’m really busy, plenty of people do it, so what’s wrong with me?

In pondering this question, I listened to The Beatles.

Yes! Eureka! Like a projectile Ringo Starr crashing into Lucy in a diamond embedded sky it hit me.

I could write a small blog. Wow! The Brain of Britain has arrived!

I’m busy, everyone’s busy, so I could scribe and prescribe a small blog which takes less time to put together and less time to read and then we’re all happy, right? And that nagging need to blog is soothed – how bloomin’ marvellous.

But how long is short?

8 a Week

It was right there in the lyrics.

8 Lines a Week seems about perfect.

And no that has nothing to do with recreational snortage before you ask, I haven’t the time to lose days on end with all that stuff – have you not listened to a word I said?

Anyway, must dash, I have a new blog to prep’ because I’m, yep… how did you guess?

Mr Busy

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