Monday, 19 June 2017

Friday, 9 June 2017

A challenge for writers

A challenge for writers 

 CaféLit is all about reading in cafés. Many writers, we know, also write in cafés. So why not write specifically for the Creative Café Project next time you’re in a café? If you’re not familiar with what we publish, take a look here: Actual submission guidelines are available at:     

I challenge you to write a story that is sparked by something you’ve seen on the day, maybe even in the café. It’s also perfectly fine to carry on with a work in progress that fits our brief. 

This time when you send it in, as well as assigning a drink, say which café you wrote the story in.  We’ll put that one up on the site, if it’s not there already, and link to it from your story. 

And as you’re writing a story for CaféLit you may be including a new café in the project.
Win, win.              

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mercury Cafe, Denver, Colorado, US

2199 California Street
Denver, CO 80205
01 (303) 294-9258

The Mercury Cafe

Creative Café Project Activities

live music

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

New cafés, new creative practitioners and new activities sought

New cafés, new creative practitioners and new activities sought

The Creative Café started off as a seed of an idea about ten years ago. Since then I’ve collected dozens and dozens of cafés. I seem to find them everywhere I go. I’ve altered my ideas about what counts as a creative café activity and embraced some really interesting events and meetings.

I’m now keen of course to get even more people involved, more cafés listed and discover more ideas of how creative practitioners can interact with each other and their audiences in a café environment.

Do have a look at About the Project to find out what the project is about. Also take a look at Ideas for Café Owners to find out how the cafés work. We also have some good ideas about how writers and other creative practitioners might interact with a creative café. Read about it here.   Do browse the cafés and get a sense of how a café become labelled “creative”.  Find a Café shows you a list of activities by café.  You can also search for a café by post code, town and country. 

Don’t forget also CaféLit, our publication that supports the project.   

Can you help me to add more information to the site? If so, please use the contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.              

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Review of Waterstone’s Deansgate Mancehester

Review of Waterstone’s Deansgate Mancehester


Many writers have a love / hate relationship with Waterstone’s. This giant chain store may have squeezed out some of our beloved indie bookshops. It’s not easy getting them to sell your books. At times it seems like an exclusive club to which it is difficult to get membership. Yet, it is a bookshop full of fabulous books. The people who work there are, it seems, lovers of books and its café is also peopled with those who love the written word. 

I’ve had two encounters recently with the café in this branch of Waterstone’s. I met a writer whom I’m mentoring. She was held up by problems with trains and this allowed me plenty of time to see what was going on there. I drank a huge cup of coffee and got on with some writing. I wasn’t the only one working this way: there were plenty of people bent over tablets and lap-tops. It was also clear that many people were holding meetings and I know of other colleagues who have used this space for that purpose. And some people just sit and read.  

A few days later we held our SCBWI network group there and I belong to the Young Adult critique group. We couldn’t all fit in the events room.  We took over two tables in the café. The staff didn’t mind: we were buying lunch and lots of drinks. One or two other visitors looked at us curiously. They were interested, though, rather than irritated. This also seemed the right sort of activity for the café.

The café’s been there quite a while now and is beginning to fade a little. No matter. It is still a comfortable space for the creative practitioner. It offers a decent if not spectacular range of food and drink at reasonable prices.    
Nice place to be.      

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Review of Chapter One, Manchester

I visited this remarkable bookshop / café in one of the dark days after Christmas, just about in the New Year.  Normally on such a day I would not venture out unless I had to. It was below four degrees Celsius. However, I was on my way to a meeting that was cancelled at the last minute and I was kind of in the area. 

It is a remarkable space. The floor seems only half finished but that somehow adds to its charm.  There is a big water feature ad its gentle tinkling keeps the atmosphere calm. The staff were friendly and actually made me feel rather like royalty.  I ordered my Americano and a waiter brought it to my seat later.  I chose to sit in a high-backed chair near one of the windows. There was plenty of choice in seating, including some fascinating booths furnished with small tables and typewriters. The cake looked fabulous but as I knew that there was Christmas cake waiting at home I refrained this time. Another time I won’t hold back.  
Even on a quiet day like today there were clearly half a dozen or so people networking / holding meetings. Two groups had found very private spaces. Another young man worked away on his Apple Mac. There is easy access here with a good signal to the Manchester free Wi-Fi. I hooked up my phone with no problems. I sat and wrote in my note book. 

This place wins as a bookstore, too. It sells an unusual mix of books and they are beautifully presented.  It’s the type of store I’d go to in order to buy a special present.
Well worth a visit.