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‘Events like this are a chance for me to come out of my burrow’

LISTEN: Mark Haddon shares his experience over lockdown and what he will be discussing at the Winter Words festival

Author Mark Haddon is joining the talented line up of writers at Pitlochry Festival’s to talk about theatre and literature working in harmony with, radio producer, Polly Thomas.

For him, and many other people, the lockdown has been a strain on day to day life, but at the same time it’s offered opportunities too.

Connecting distant people from across the country virtually is allowing him to speak to people who he’s not had the chance to do so with before.

He said: “Being a writer is a very strange mixture of being extremely public and then being extremely private.

“I feel like some burrowing animal, I spent most of my life, in the dark, underground, working away.

“But it only really makes sense when I come up into the sunshine every now and then and see the rest of the world.

“And events like this are a chance for me to come out of my burrow and meet the rest of the world.”

After this unusual year and an unfortunate incident with Mark’s heart, this year, and the one before, have been quite years for writing books.

He said: “Normally at a literature festival, writers talk about what they’ve been writing, and I’m sure we will talk a little bit about that.

“And given that Polly and I worked on a radio drama, I think one of the things we might discuss is the difference between prose, fiction and drama on the radio, on the stage and television.

“And I think one of other things we’ll talk about is not writing, I haven’t written a book this year and I didn’t write a book last year because I had a triple heart-by-pass.

“And I’d quite like to touch on something very a few writers talk about, which is not being able to write.

“It’s often dismissed as writers block and then put to one side, but I think for a lot of writers, particularly at the moment, it’s as complicated and as difficult as the writing itself.”

He says that the need for heart surgery ‘was very unfair as a vegetarian runner’ which left Mark’s head ‘in a fog, for about a year.’

Mark’s back running long distances and ‘replumbed’, then a brief productive period passed by he said, ‘round about the time of the pandemic, my mood really slumped.’

Mark has bipolar affective disorder, which has taken its toll on his productivity, frame of mind and, most importantly, sense of self.

‘I think the sun is slowly coming out again, but it’s been a long eight, nine months’, says Mark.

Now, Mark Haddon will be sharing his thoughts on his experience from both writing and not writing, working on projects in other mediums and give his thoughts on keeping in touch on the virtual world.

Anyone looking to find out more can go to: https://pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com/winter-words-festival-2021/

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