One of the unenviable tasks of 2022 is to clear out my inbox! Rather like shoes and poems I’ve written, I am not sure of the exact number of emails, (I could do the maths, but the total would terrify me)! Many are circulars, reminders, tickets for past events or JUNK, which can all be swept quickly, some though are little gems, shining out to be re-read or shared.
This article appeared on LitHub back in 2020 (I told you there was a lot of clearing up to be done).
Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth Consider Information As Art
By Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth
Peter Mendelsund is the former art director at Alfred A. Knopf, the creative director of The Atlantic, and the author of a design monograph called Cover, as well as What We See When We Read, which has been translated into fourteen languages, and the novel Same Same. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, and other magazines.
David J. Alworth is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He teaches and writes about modern and contemporary literature, media, art, and design. He is the author of Site Reading: Fiction, Art, Social Form and his essays have appeared in Public Books and the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as in various scholarly journals.
The latest anthology of nature writing is live on the London Wildlife Trust website – with thanks to Amanda Tuke/ Goldcrest Projects.
A great collection of thumbnail nature from a workshop Amanda co-led on 18 December 2021 with Rebecca Gibson, wildlife writer and photographer. These workshops fill me with joy and are precious spaces of calm in this distressed world of ours.
Read It Wild – readings and conversations with nature writers
Join nature writers Amanda Tuke, Electra Rhodes, Vanessa Wright and Jane V Adams for an event to celebrate nature writing.
About this event
Sit back and relax while a range of new and established nature writers spin words for you which bring the wild inside. From a frantic spring and light-filled summer, to autumn scents and winter footprints, join us for a celebration of diverse nature writing. And you’ll hear what nature writing offers for published writers, with the opportunity to ask them questions.
This free event is made possible through National Lottery Funding via Arts Council England.
Join us for FREE Register for tickets here on Eventbrite.
Amanda Tuke is a nature writer, botanist and birder based in suburban south London and she is currently Great North Wood nature-writer-in-residence. She contributes regularly to Bird Watching Magazine , the London Wildlife Trust Blog and has written for BBC Countryfile and Resurgence & Ecologist Magazines. Amanda blogs about nature and her freelance nature-writing journey and loves leading nature-writing workshops.
El Rhodes is an archaeologist who lives in Wales and Wiltshire. Her prose and poetry has been widely published in a range of anthologies and journals, and she writes a regular column on rural issues for Spelt Magazine. Her book, ‘My Family & Other Folklore’, was recently longlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize and is now out on submission. And her coastal South Wales set novella, ‘Sextet’, recently won the Louise Walters Books P.100 competition.
Vanessa Wright is a nature writer who lives in Hertfordshire and loves the Hebrides. She left corporate life last year to pursue her passion for wildlife and study for a Masters in Nature and Travel Writing at Bath Spa University. She has contributed to Bird Watching Magazine and The Pilgrim, written on behalf of the Hertfordshire & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, and was recently longlisted for the Yeovil Literary Fiction Prize.
Jane V Adams is a naturalist, photographer and travel and nature writer based in Dorset. She has written for The Telegraph, BBC Countryfile and BBC Wildlife Magazines, and writes a regular nature column for The Blackmore Vale Magazine. Recently longlisted for the 2022 New Travel Writer of the Year Competition, Jane is currently writing a book about nature’s amazing moments, due for publication in 2023.
El Rhodes first reached my radar during Lockdown/ 2020 and I enjoyed her workshops and the writing that brought me. Last year, I was lucky enough to find some more nature writing workshops and as a result, met Amanda Tuke and started the joy that is writing Thumbnails.
I have successfully had both my workshop pieces published on the London Wildlife Website, thanks to Amanda. You can read them here, along with many others:
At the last workshop in 2021, Amanda told us about a planned reading and how we may be able to get involved. In 2022 we were invited to write some seasonal thumbnails, sketching a whole year of nature. After much research, drafting and editing I was excited to press SEND on my first submission of 2022 – and even more excited to hear my pieces had made it into the reading this weekend.
I am delighted to have my nature year included in this event and look forward to hearing the other pieces and the main readers.
Since the opening of live events back in 2020, I have struggled to physically attend any. Partly as I am involved in family elder care and have a duty to protect others, partly because I am already taking a gamble working across many different schools. Lastly, I tried back in September 2021 for the first LIVE SpeakEasy event (WLFF) at The Swan Theatre and had a complete anxiety attack.
Last year I was booked to feature in person in February and am grateful my booking was postponed (now in April), as I am very unsure. I didn’t work much physically at events in 2019, only a handful of times (as opposed to 100+) and wasn’t on the road at all as I couldn’t drive… so there has been a 3 year gap in this practice!
However, I became involved in this wonderful project and have decided to go for it – our internet is not stable at the weekends so there was a risk of failure attached to the live stream and I know the venue/event will be Covid safe.
You can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home! Join us!
The event will be in-person and live streamed – tickets are free but registration required. Register
I:DNAis a multimedia installation with a huge aluminium sculpture as its centrepiece, forming a journey through the lives of those affected by genetic conditions. A film and evocative soundscape create an arresting and thought-provoking event. I:DNA has toured Oxford, Coventry, the British Science Festival and Millennium Point, Birmingham. I:DNA is currently at Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum.
LATEST NEWS: DNA – OUR STORIES Spoken Word Event Join us to hear new poetry exploring what it is to be human, at a special event Saturday 22nd January 2022 at Warwick Arts Centre (also live streamed). This is part of the Resonate Festival.
A performance of shared spoken word and poetry that follows on from the successful installation and workshops at Leamington Spa Gallery where writers and poets explore their responses to identity individuality and DNA inspired by the installation at the gallery entitled I:DNA.
This is a thought provoking event that explores the impact of ground breaking biological sciences on our everyday life.
The poetry anthology that is being compiled is unveiled and investigates the themes of identity, individuality, genetics and what it is to be human. The work includes contributions from across the region and beyond, supported by published poet Nigel Hutchinson and hosted by Sandra Godley (BBC CWR).
This event is part of a series of creative outputs reflecting the research of Professor Felicity Boardman of Warwick Medical School, which explores the lived experiences of families affected by genetically inherited conditions. The art installation which features a sculpture of a denatured helix I:DNA (available to see at Leamington Art Gallery until the end of January) was created directly from this research using research participants own words in the soundscape and is an arresting and thought-provoking journey into the world of what it is to be human, using sculpture, film, and a sung/spoken soundtrack.
Following the success of the touring installation, DNA Our Stories will feature poetry readings created by contributors across the region and beyond.
The Installation, workshops and this live poetry event are produced by STAMP Theatre and Media Productions CIC.
We made it to 2022, in this exhausting world where everyday we’re grateful to be alive! I hope your start to 2022 has been a quality one.
Since my health issues at the end of 2018, I haven’t really been an active creative. During my treatment I couldn’t write at all. After 6 months I stopped needing morphine, I gradually worked on editing the book which was delayed due to my medical needs. The editing process takes months and by the end of that I had little energy to invest. At this time I was still on over 20 pills a day.
I struggled with myself, feelings of failing and frustrations of inability all through 2019. It took a further year after I was free from the stick walking and consultants to tackle this. By this point we were tackling the pandemic.
Many creatives suffered. I read an article which explained the area of the brain we use to process/ manage the emotional fallout of a pandemic is where the creativity comes from, so it was no surprise we all suddenly felt empty. I had been staring at my wall/garden in isolation for a year already so I didn’t have to tackle that feeling of having nothing to write about, but survival mode doesn’t lend itself to play and I lost any potential of artistic bliss.
I desperately needed to escape into words and place focus away from what was happening globally and at home. Thanks to many generous poets I was able to stay creatively buoyant throughout Lockdown, despite a gauntlet of life’s challenges. And I was finally able to write about my annus horribilis.
By 2021 my m/s was ready but I’ve sat on it for so long that it has become changed. Which was its destiny, but I know it needs to become a priority if it is ever to be completed.
That’s what I am working on as well as taking on almost full time real life work by way of compensating the devastation to the bottom line over the past three years! I am grateful to have work in these times and to be able to do it.
I was diagnosed with a chronic disease at the end of 2019 and another chronic condition in the summer of 2020, obviously the NHS was already in crisis before the pandemic, so people with other issues (1/5th of the population, I believe) are waiting for appointments connected to other conditions. The backlog is not something which can be worked through.
I was lucky to see the consultant for all allocated appointments last year. But news like this also takes some adjusting. So in addition to working offline on the manuscript, I am also giving myself time to focus on health and future.
I am involved in projects which take place over the next two weekends and WLFF (Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe) are planning the 2022 Festival.
I am still here and I am delighted that you are too. I wish you every success and happiness in 2022. Fingers crossed!