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Author and Creative Beestonian Megan Tayte tells us why Beeston is an ideal place for creativity to flow freely. I’ve been writing professionally for more than a decade now. I’ve written in The Eagle and Child, Oxford, haunt of ‘the Inklings’, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I’ve written in London, surrounded by the ghosts of literary greats in Poets’ Corner, Westminster. I’ve written in a Windermere hotel owned by Beatrix Potter, and a Devonshire hotel frequented by Agatha Christie. I’ve written many words in many places. But home, the place where I write the best, is Beeston, Nottingham. Everything I need in order to write is here ...

Space: Having lived shoehorned into London for some years, Beeston feels roomy to me. There’s enough buzz, but I can breathe here (and swing my arms about without whacking a bewildered tourist). Perhaps it’s just me, but when I sit at my desk in my home office and look out at the view, it seems that there’s a lot of sky to see.

Scenery: I’m the kind of writer who wonders as she wanders, and there’s no shortage of walks within Beeston and on the periphery to stir my muse. Old favourites are the nature reserve at Attenborough and the university campus where I once lived as a student.But even a walk about the streets can be inspirational: the old buildings and the new ones, the forgotten corners and welltrodden thoroughfares, and the strange sights you encounter, like a stone beekeeper decked out in funky legwarmers.

Community: I’ve never lived anywhere with

The arts scene: There are so many creatives in Beeston, they had to set up the Creative Beeston website to house us all. Illustrators, painters, sculptors, animators, film-makers, photographers, musicians – the list is endless, and we all inspire each other. The Chilwell Arts Corner, the film festival at the White Lion, Barton’s events, the amazing Oxjam Music Festival, and a little further afield the Lakeside Arts Centre; honestly, it’s a wonder I get any writing done with so much culture to get stuck into.

a stronger sense of community. Out and about, people – strangers – actually talk to one another (quite a shock when you grew up in the South East), and I’ve found a great deal of support locally for my writing. In one cafe, the staff who’ve watching me type away in a corner for years know all about my books, to the point that right after they ask after me, they ask after my characters.

Books: Anyone who’s serious about writing is serious

Sustenance: Officially, I work from home, but in truth I spend many hours writing in Beeston coffee shops. Sometimes, if I’m lost in a chapter and the coffee keeps on coming, I’ll stay for several hours (thank you to the baristas who accept me hanging about!); other times I’ll cafe-crawl – my record to date is five cafes one rainy Saturday: The Bean, Belle and Jerome, Mason & Mason, Relish and Fusion. The coffee, the cakes, the atmosphere, the people chatting at the tables around: it’s the perfect backdrop for sociable (sugar-fuelled) writing.

about reading too, so ready access to books is a must. We have an independent bookshop of our own (hallelujah) as well as the chain-store options, and if you’re in the mood for a rummage, you’ve plenty of choice in charity shops; I’ve found some absolute gems in Oxfam Books to my delight (and my husband’s despair – we’re running out of room for books). Then there’s the library. Not just any library, but surely one of the best local libraries in the country. Large, light and well-stocked, with knowledgeable, friendly staff, a great programme of events for readers and writers, and a coffee machine to boot.

It comes down to this: to be a writer, you have to be a dreamer, and to dream, you have to live in a space with character and soul, inhabited by people who are inspirational and intelligent, openminded and excited about change while respecting tradition. That, to me, is Beeston. And I’ve no doubt that someday it will be covered with blue plaques commemorating all manner of people who were at once creators and proud Beestonians.

The Beestonian Issue 36  
The Beestonian Issue 36  

I Love Beeston Awards / Creative Beestonians / Megan Tayte / Beeston Browncoats / Attenborough Oral History Project / A Wider View / The Ven...

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