Middleton, Deborah K. (2004) Book Building: Being A Treatise on Building, Canvassing, Sailing, and the General Management of Books and Other Artistic Craft in Storms and Heavy Weather. In: The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book, 29-31 August 2004, Beijing, China.

A 30 minute ‘performed lecture’, written and presented by Dr Deborah Middleton. ‘Book Building’ uses the analogy of boatbuilding to talk about creative writing. The performance arose out of Middleton’s innovative work at the postgraduate Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University (U.K) and the sailing of her sixteen foot classic wooden sloop, Ida-Rose. ‘Book Building’ is a playful characterisation of Middleton’s approach to teaching creative writing practice.

The piece speaks poetically of the importance of books and of creative practises, such as writing, in our lives. It makes reference to a number of poems and poets, such as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.

The ‘lecture’ is delivered by a character who has been described as ‘an endearingly timid genius’. She is accompanied by a musician playing an accordion. The performance is both amusing and touching.

‘Sometimes in this life you will find yourself becalmed, and sometimes turned upside down in a tempest. You will be glad, then, of a book, well-built; glad of the cosy little cabin and the big sails to catch the breath of life…’

Text of the Performance
dm-book-building.pdf - Accepted Version

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