Ghost stories come but once a year…

5 12 2011

Alt. FictionChristmas has always been one of my favourite times of year. Not just for the presents (although of course that’s always nice), and not just for the excessive and luxurious eating over the festive season. Indeed, one of the things I have come to look forward to the most over the last couple of years is the ghost stories.

Many years in the past, some of our finest writers of ghost stories would gather their friends around a fire to share their latest chilling creation. And what a canon of writers we are looking at – MR James, Algernon Blackwood, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens – as well as an astonishing set of some of the best-known and best-loved stories of all time. Ghost stories have over time developed a universal appeal, touching some basic and essential fear that lives within all of us. The unknown, the spiritual, the beyond – all of these authors explore these themes with deft skill and artistry.

And when I began work for Writing East Midlands on the Alt.Fiction brand, this was one of the things that I was keen to bring back in some capacity. With the right atmosphere and delivery, there are classic ghost stories out there to entertain and thrill audiences today. And it was as such that Christmas Spirits was born – a night of classic ghost stories, infused with a festive feel and an eerie atmosphere. Our first event took place in 2010 and sold out in a matter of no time, and the night itself was a great success, presenting superb versions of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, an extract from Henry James’s Turn of the Screw and Charles Dickens’ classic The Signalman.

So naturally, come 2011, we were keen to revive this fine tradition again and present a new night of spooky tales for Christmas. As such, Christmas Spirits 2011 takes place this December, and Sustained Magic Theatre Company will be presenting their versions of two well-loved stories – Lost Hearts by MR James, showcasing a true master of the form at work, and Charles Dickens’ festive classic A Christmas Carol, surely the most festive story ever told.

So if you’re a fan of ghost stories, or horror, or just want to relive the Christmas tradition of yesteryear, Christmas Spirits is the night for you. We’ll be presenting two nights of this fantastic event – on 9 and 15 December – so be sure not to miss out! You can find full information on the event, and booking details here.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Alex Davis

Co-ordinator, Alt.Fiction

for Writing East Midlands




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