Tag Archives: Byre Theatre

Keith Charters’ action sandwich

He’s the kind of man who will regale you with stories about his appendix. In this case Keith Charters boasted an exploding appendix, and perhaps that is why he was chosen as the first author on the first morning of the first St Andrews Literature Live.

Byre Theatre

Byre Theatre

Yes, St Andrews now has its own litfest. It’s at the Byre Theatre today (and yesterday, obviously). And for a little litfest, it’s got a good selection of quite famous names, so I do hope it will be a success. Keith’s event certainly was, since most of his audience were the type who actively enjoy exploding appendices.

Keith Charters

Keith Charters

Keith’s exploding good-for-nothing appendix somehow turned into Lee’s appendix. Lee is the main character in Keith’s books, of which there are four, with the fifth being written, and there is no telling how many there will be before Keith might want to stop.

Perhaps because it was an inaugural sort of literary morning (beautiful sunshine!) there was a photo session where the assembled children shouted ‘green gorillas’ which I take to be a peculiar St Andrews tradition. The event was sold out, but when the witch turned up and requested a small corner in which to huddle, theatre staff were most helpful. Thank you!

Keith Charters at the Byre Theatre

If I have one complaint about this father-of-two-sets-of-twins, it’s that he didn’t stand still for long enough to be photographed. (But I have told him off, so no doubt there will be a change…)

It sounds like Keith worked in finance (I’m trying not to mention bankers and stockbrokers) some time after being born and attending university. During this time Keith wrote in his spare time (hah!) as a hobby, until some child of his demanded books suitable for children.

Keith Charters , Lee and the Consulmutants

I know Keith avoided mentioning poo, but there was barfing and puking and weeing into ‘milk bottles.’ Presumably this counted as the ‘funny disgusting’ option the children chose.

His action sandwich is not two pieces of bread with a broken Action Man in the middle; it is action, followed by setting the scene, followed by yet more action. Keith writes the blurb first, and then comes the sandwich, and finally you have to look back. And there’s your book. An important piece of equipment for an author is long and soft, and you lie on it while waiting for inspiration. You can close your eyes, but try not to snore.

Byre Theatre

I’m afraid when Keith was asked how many mistakes he’s made, I snorted in a most un-witch-like way, leaving one young man to turn around and stare… Keith writes fast and goes back to correct mistakes later. One book got written in 13 days, one took six weeks, one three months and one much longer than that.

To end the event, Keith had two copies of his books for the audience to win. The secret is to have the right birthday. Or possibly to lie. One potential winner was so upset at having won, that he burst into tears.

Keith Charters

The usual signing session ended the morning, and it looked as if the children didn’t want to leave. But once they did, I had a little chat with Keith, until he was carried off for soup and stuff. I had an assignation with a baked potato, so that was fine.

(And Keith, the David Bowie eyes are too late! I have read two new books this year, featuring those eyes.)

Byre Theatre