Chunky knitwear and trench coats abounded at Hatch on Monday night. I make no apologies if this seems like a facetious judgment of a literary event – plenty of hipster clichés were present in the writing as well as the fashion, but that is forgivable in an evening like this. This was the second Hatch, a showcase of new Cambridge writing talent that made its mark with the premiere two weeks ago. Hatch is about encouraging potential, and the project itself has potential to become a vital addition to the Cambridge literary scene – if it expands its horizons slightly.

I went to the previous Hatch, and came away with the impression that the body of work presented had a definite feel to it: free verse poetry, avant-garde(ish) prose, and plays which mostly involved the characters narrating their own actions at one point or another. This week was more of the same, even to the extent that two writers from the first show, Luke McMullan and Celine Lowenthal, returned. This isn’t to say that nothing stood out. Bryn Davies’ poem ‘You are beautiful in cold countries’ was affectingly vulnerable, and managed to balance poetic craft with a genuine sense of self-expression. ‘The First Date,’ a play by Tamara Micner, was a fantastic opener to the evening. Its central idea was clever and witty without being irritating: a boy picks up a girl for their first date, but everyone speaks their mind instead of drowning in small talk. It was neatly executed and of course greatly helped by the actors’ comic timing.

However, they would have stood out more had there been some contrast in the evening.  Maybe the odd sonnet wouldn’t have gone amiss. If avant-garde free verse poetry is all that is being submitted to Hatch, then that’s fine, but the presence of Lowenthal and McMullan suggests otherwise. Adam Lawrence and Ellie Kendrick are naturally choosing what they like, but if this project is going to avoid becoming insular they need to look beyond what immediately stands out to them. If they do, this will be an exciting breeding ground for all styles of writing.

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