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May 2018

Join the discussion this month about #localread. We will be focussing on all things local, or with a strong sense of place, in this discussion. What do you think about for a #localread? Is it in your town or suburb, state or county, country, region…?

What are your favourite local haunts? Are they world-famous attractions, or secret places you cherish for personal reasons? Are there local foods, local land sharing schemes or ways to find out about local harvests in your area. Is it local industries like craft brewing and distilling, or local insects like urban beekeeping? It can be local wildlife.

Does your local area have a Local Studies or Local History service? You’ll find they are a wonderful local resource, often collecting books, artefacts and ephemera which are unique. They are invaluable resources for authors, film-makers and family historians, among many others. Look up local stories in digitised newspapers (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, England (fees apply) and Denmark)

Has your local area got a ‘What’s on’ page on Facebook, Twitter or another social media site? Mine does and it’s a great source of information and inspiration on local events and local characters. The local newspaper, tourism body, local shops and businesses and local people all post and cross-post and you’re never stuck for somewhere to go or something to do – farmers markets, craft markets, local theatre productions, art gallery exhibitions, book launches and author talks, bush walks, meetings of various local groups, rallies and demonstrations, picnic places, information sessions, sporting events, music performances, poetry slams and so on.

The League of Gentlemen built a whole show around various nutty and slightly disturbing characters in the fictional town of Royston Vasey. Other popular TV shows with disturbing settings include the other great comedy show full of grotesques, Little Britain, and the dangerous town of Midsomer which has way way way more murders than a country town should.

When you need to escape your local place you can borrow someone else’s. Some authors too create strong associations with places, often their local places – Ian Rankin in synonymous with Edinburgh, Tim Winton with Western Australia, Bronwyn Bancroft, Will Kostakis, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Benjamin Law with urban Australia,  the Brontes with northern England, Jane Austen with Bath, Thomas Hardy with the West Country in England, Stephen King and Joe Hill with New England, USA,  Dickens with London, CS Lewis with Narnia – the places don’t have to be real. Who are the authors associated with your place?

We play a board game called Carcassonne, based on the French walled city (also World Heritage listed). It’s great fun and we should have bought shares in the company because everyone we’ve played it with has gone out and bought their own. Carcassonne locals may not think the game anything like their town, but there are a whole lot of people I know who’d love to visit the town now. What other games are based on a locality? Sim City? World of Warcraft?

While you are reading, playing or watching your #localread, you might like to tweet about it using #localread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #localread. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #localread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

There will be a Twitter discussion on 29 May starting at 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time,  9am – 11am BST. Note : This is a staggered discussion.

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