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Life Beyond Romance

There’s a playwright on the third floor of the London library’s main branch, in the little office right beside the north wall’s study room. That’s just behind the romance novel section, which is cruelly unfair competition for the fella in the office. To find him, the public has to weave around shelves of bodice-ripping sheiks, dissolute heirs and untamed cowboys. Anyone they encounter after that is bound to seem pretty mundane.

I’m the fella in the office, the London library’s 2008-9 writer in residence. I don’t have Fabio-hair, I have never made it a general practice to rip bodices, and I’m not a dissolute heir awaiting redemption. I am, however, a playwright, and the London Library has kindly installed me in that north-Harlequin office for the year. For your benefit.

The Library had a successful week-long residency last year with Edeet Ravel and decided to expand the program. The idea behind a residency is that a writer will have a chance to work on his own writing projects, and at the same time be available to library patrons and city residents who want advice, tips, and support. I have been working in drama (mostly radio and theatre) for twenty years and some of my favourite moments have been when I’ve had the chance to mentor new talent.

I’ve been very impressed with the scripts I’ve received since I started my residency in October. They have ranged from comedic to dramatic, and are written in a number of styles. We’ve started a Monday night playwriting circle, with the goal of both expanding skill-sets and coming up with an evening of new-work readings in the spring. I am also having lots of one-on-one meetings with writers.

What can I do for you? If you want to chat, throw ideas by me, or just explore the opportunities available for writers in the theatre business, I can help. Or, if you have a script and want some concrete advice – that I can do too. If you’re writing in a genre other than theatre, I can’t be of as much help, but would still enjoy meeting you and hearing about what you’re doing.

And I’m discreet. If you’d rather browse through the romance books and want a ‘beard’ (or in my case, goatee) I won’t tell anyone. Browse away.

I’m in residence most Mondays and Tuesdays – sometimes Sunday afternoons. There’s a schedule posted just outside the door of my office, with my email contact address.

Dave Carley

Find out more about the Writer in Residence program.