Literature: Writers get their names in lights

Hollywood has always viewed writers as second-class citizens - now the Mavericks Writers and Film Festival in Camden aims to redress the balance

Do we need to be reminded how important the word-smith is? You bet your creative-writing-course fee we do, say the organisers of the Mavericks Writers and Film Festival in Camden, as they announce with oracular portentousness. "Since the beginning of the Hollywood story, the writer has been treated as a second-class citizen - it is time for this to change."

Judging by the attractions, the increasingly hip-minded Waterstone's has managed to secure, audiences should be subjected to very little in the way of moaning. Today's line-up includes Eddie Bunker, Pat McCabe and Nick Cave (right), none of whom have exactly had their talents ignored by the film industry.

Bunker, you will remember, notched up over 30 bit-parts in movies subsequent to his lengthy incarceration in some of the US's grimmer jail houses (where he was converted to the word) and played Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs, which was inspired by his high-octane crime life. His breakthrough novel, A Beast so Fierce, ended up as the 1978 movie Straight Time starring Dustin Hoffman, and he has been rolling in screenplays ever since. McCabe's Booker- nominated The Butcher Boy - itself influenced by film noir classics - has been shot by Neil Jordan ("Blood Simple meets Barton Fink", according to the author).

As for rock god Nick Cave, he had no trouble appearing in his own 1988 flick Ghosts... of the Civil Dead. Meanwhile, in the Sunday team, Howard Marks is doubtless chuffed that his autobiography Mr Nice is going to make it to the big screen, while AL Kennedy is going to be talking about the film of her novel, Stella Does Tricks, in which Kelly Macdonald plays a fugitive teenage prostitute. She will later unveil it at the swanky Camden Odeon.

Celluloid is clearly indebted to the word processor. How much it acknowledges that debt, though, is open to the same kind of pointless speculation as what the f..k Bill Drummond, the former KLF member will be doing in all this. There's only one way to find out.

FESTIVAL INFO

Today: Ann Scanlon, Eddie Bunker, Pat McCabe, Nick Cave

Sunday: Howard Marks, AL Kennedy, Will Self, Bill Drummond, 2-5pm, Jazz Cafe, London, NW3 (0171- 916 6060).

For screening details phone Camden Odeon (0181-315 4255). Screenwriter Richard LaGravanese talks to Ted Demme 9am Sun, Camden Odeon. All tickets pounds 6-pounds 5.

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