Tuesday 5th August was the official launch of Jan’s book ‘Benches’, her first novel, although she has written playscripts and short stories and is of course a former Birmingham POET LAUREATE – it goes without saying that she writes poetry. The photo above was taken at ‘Poetry For Lunch'(PFL), a spin off from her ‘Phenomenal Women’ events, one of which I was lucky enough to catch at Birmingham University last Autumn as my poetry odyssey began. PFL provides a half hour platform for local poets to perform in a tag-team, it is fast, fun and furious. Every Thursday 1-1.30pm the amphitheatre at the Library of Birmingham. Free poetry with your sandwiches city folk, what could be better?
I was looking forward to a catch up in the city with a poet friend, I had not seen socially for a long time, a good time was had in the Bacchaus Bar, where we sat on thrones and drank tea. Then we headed to the Mailbox to find Jan on the canal in her boat ‘Telga’.
The Beginning on Telga
It was a lovely way to start the afternoon – with fizz and lemon drizzle cake and some of Jan’s homemade (prize winning or should be) pastry. Then we headed down to the Library of Birmingham for the launch. Part of the OFF THE PAGE season of events, where the library showcase local writers who have written/set stories in the city.
The Book Box was part of the library I hadn’t discovered when I did a huge floor to floor exploration last October, (it opened in September but I waited for the mass exodus of the media and cityfolk) for a more authentic feel of a library. I was particularly struck by a library shelf section that just said GOD. I hadn’t ventured into this far corner downstairs though, it is a great space, boxed in at the sides and open at the top, below street level so you can watch the people of the city pass by and opposite are some of the older, grander buildings in Birmingham.
Jan is always entertaining, she is one of these women whose spirit and energy just exudes from them all the time. She is brilliant and her book readings have been thoroughly enjoyable. There is something special about hearing an author reading their own words.
Here is where you can buy a copy of Benches.
Ships in 3-5 business days.
Nancy Byrde tells us her version of the canalside goings on that spice up her retirement. Together with her dog, Steven, she gets close to her family, the good and the evil. She dices, with drugs, violence, a teenage runaway and being over exposed at a wedding she wasn’t invited to. Will she find a new happiness? Benches is set in and around Birmingham in the UK. The names of places has been changed to protect the innocent. It grew out of an encounter with a bench that had been graffitied with a rude word. This is a debut novel.
***** 5 star rated reviews.
It is also available as an e-book for a fraction of the price: