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First Prose at the Pub a great success

March 29, 2013

On an extremely unseasonably cold Sunday afternoon in March we launched our new series Prose at the Pub. In spite of the cold we had a good turnout for a wonderful writer: Laura Del Rivo.

Laura Del Rivo

‘Does anyone read and comment on your work nowadays?’ ‘No’, Laura answered, ‘I write on my own. But it didn’t used to be like that, in the late fifties, early sixties, we all exchanged manuscripts. It was a way of getting acquainted, ‘here’s my manuscript, love to see yours.’

Settings & characters in Laura’s stories are fictional but inspired by reality, such as the café in which ‘all were equal and taken at their word’. Or the ‘dramatically dressed typist wore an antique velvet hat and a long tubular coat of black wool crepe. She had presence, but said nothing.’ Laura admitted, though she’d never spoken to her, she thinks she later became a famous novelist.

Laura Del Rivo is a great friend of Colin Wilson, and when asked about his work, she said she loved most of all his first novel Ritual in the Dark, but wasn’t really qualified to comment on his philosophical work. Nonetheless, he made sure she got his room when, as she phrased it, he was hounded out of London.

Laura answering questions

Cathi Unsworth the wonderful interviewer on the day, and author by profession, her latest novel Weirdo comes highly recommended, made witty observations and gave beautiful readings of excerpts of Laura’s novels The Furnished Room, Speedy and Queen Kong.

She also treated us to some of Laura’s remarkable short stories: passages from Dark Angel, J Krissman in the Park and Professor Katz Memorial Evening. This last one was written after the death of John Rety, the father of Laura’s son.

Cathi reading from Laura's work

Laura is an acute observer of people, enjoy this description from Dark Angel:

She was now a skinny bleached blonde with amphetamine eyes like flies. She wore leggings of ice blue, stretch fabric threaded with lurex and a brief jacket of flossy pink fibres of synthetic monkey hair.

And setting, which is clear from this passage about Portobello Market:

The arriviste, not hereditary traders in other goods, did not hit the kerb until about 8am, when they threw from their vans sacks, plywood, metal struts, clothes hangers, dirty plastic sheeting, stepladder, mirrors, etc, which took an average one-and-a-half hours to assemble into a business.

Holland Park Press is delighted to confirm that we will publish Laura’s collection of short stories later this year.

Please contact the publisher for more details.

Holland Park Press thanks The Mitre Pub, Bayswater, for providing the marvellously atmospheric Lord Craven Room to host this exciting new series.