Author Archives: Nina Lewis

NaPoWriMo 2023 Early Bird


Calling All Early Birds

on MARCH 31, 2023

Happy Na/GloPoWriMo Eve, all! Tomorrow is April 1, and the official start of the twentieth year of the project. We can’t believe it’s been going on for so long. Its longevity is due to you all – the enthusiasm our participants bring to this yearly challenge is wonderful to see.

… This year, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Na/GloPoWriMo, we’ll be featuring a mix of prompts from our archives and brand-new challenges.

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that plays with the idea of a “fun fact.” Your fact could actually be fun – or the whole point could be that it’s not fun. Maybe you have a favorite wacky fact already, but if not, Mental Floss’s “Amazing Fact Generator” is here to help!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Process Notes:

My first amazing fact was:

A cough can propel saliva droplets as far as 20 feet at speeds up to 25 to 50 mph.

I knew the first part (length of a football pitch) but I didn’t feel inspired…

I LOVED my 2nd fact but have banked it for another time… along with feeling sorry for the people of Wyoming – unless of course there have an abundance of one storey buildings (I know there are lifts/ stairs/ alternatives).

And just as I began to worry that I was disappearing down my 1st NaPo rabbit hole — the universe delivered this!

A fist pump to the air – I knew I had my first prompt!

No more searching. Although randomisers are too much fun!

I copied the fact into a word doc. and prepared to free-write. The moment the document was loading I knew what I wanted to write about – now the subject of at least 4 of my poems. My late Godfather loved books, antique ones especially and for years every Christmas he’d arrive with a bottle and an old book. I kept them all of course but some are brittle with age and I fear further damage will occur so I have preserved them for now.

The poem is a 5 stanza free write – I edit in May – as is the NaPo way so I am sure it will change, but for now and for the first poem of the month, its bones are good!

From the fact I used:

grassy notes// Vanilla and underlying mustiness.

Which were the words which clung in my mind on first reading.


He would have read this tome,

wish my eyes to do the same

but I shroud it in eternal life

fear the spine breaking.

Finally I started to work on a title (titles are often work as opposed to thinking for me, I find them hard usually). I was holding the Shroud in mind and know that the tradition is a simple white linen. Maybe because it’s Easter or possibly because the loss of my Godfather is fairly recent I thought about beliefs and the dead rising again. There is mention of future generations in the poem so it seemed fitting to call it – The World to Come – which may change to -World to Come – or may be lost in future writes entirely.

NaPoWriMo 2023


Are you ready?

I certainly wasn’t – late to submit AWF as a participants site, missed the Early Bird prompts and basically felt very unaware that today is the start of APRIL?! Where has this year gone already??

I am working full time so have limited time to slip on the poetry skin and write and seem to be surrounded by deadlines both at the desk, at work and in life generally.

So I am calmly entering the waters for my annual April splash about and as per will bring you the official NaPo prompts and posts about my process with a few teaser lines/words – as I rarely publish a full Napo poem on AWF. Every year my Napo poems find some success and many are published in anthologies, magazines and several in my own publications: Fragile Houses & Patience.

Catch up:

All information from

Well… I wish I’d seen this one!

20 Years of Na/GloPoWriMo

on FEBRUARY 1, 2023

Hello, all! We’re getting ready to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Na/GloPoWriMo this April. Wow!

As usual, we’ll have a prompt every day for you, a featured participant, and this year, we’re also hoping to feature a book or chapbook every day that contains poems written during previous Na/GloPoWriMos. And to do that, we need your help! If you have a published book or chapbook containing poems that were initially drafted as part of Na/GloPoWriMo, please let us know about them by sending an email to napowrimonet-AT-gmail-DOT-com! We hope to show off a good cross-section of participants’ work this way.

We’ll be back on March 1 with some buttons and other information. In the meantime, please do send us links to your books and we hope you will start getting ready to flex your poem-writing-muscles this April.

NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo Is On The Way!

on MARCH 15, 2023

… why not check out some online prompt generators, like the one here, and the one here? Or if you’re looking for something a bit more strange to inspire you, maybe feed the URL for a random Wikipedia entry into The Eater of Meaning (an online program that “nonsensifies” the words of individual webpages. Some of the resulting phrases may give you inspiration for a poem!).

We’ll have some other poetry resources to share with you as March winds down, and we start gearing up for April in earnest. In the meantime, please remember that you can follow our prompts and other posts on Facebook and on Twitter (@napowrimo2023).

Just Three Days to Go!

on MARCH 29, 2023

… why not browse the Poetry Foundation’s online collection?

So Close You Can Almost Taste It

on MARCH 30, 2023

What does a poem taste like, we wonder? There’s a prompt for you right there!

With just two days to go, we are indeed on the brink, the precipice, the teetering edge of Na/GloPoWriMo. Luckily, if you fall over and in, all that happens is you wind up writing some poems. If you have to take a plunge, that’s really not so bad.

If you’re hungry for prompts in the meantime, Poets and Writers has a huge collection, which you can find here.

Click the next post links for the Early Bird Special and the start of NaPoWriMo 2023.

Happy Writing! x

A Quick Catch Up… and A Lot of News

Photo by Ali Karimiboroujeni on

Hello waters… it has been a long while! Lots has happened since the Autumn post. I am here to start 2023’s NaPoWriMo on AWF but realise that there are huge gaps of blogging and news to share. I will write on some of this in detail in May, after NaPo. Until then here are the highlights:

Blasts from the Past

At the end of 2022 I was busy working on a major project, a book endorsement and planning for 2023 WLFF Festival.

My ATOTC (A Tale of Two Cities -2017/18) project was reinstated in the summer of 2022. This was call & response poetry between poets in Worcester UK and Worcester USA as part of my Poet Laureate year. What started with the idea of an online international reading soon became a 2nd edition project with new pairings and new poems. The result was an International Reading AND a book!

The original project was anthologised digitally as it involved over 45 poets and ran to 120 pages, sadly it was too large a project to publish traditionally.

This time we worked with a smaller group of poets (20) and Black Pear Press published the resulting anthology — which I have to say is an absolute bargain, the cheapest poetry book I know of and that is NO reflection in quality either of the product or content within, it is packed with magnificent poetry. It is a not-for-profit publication and you will find it for £2.83 which converts to $3.58. See, told you!

With huge thanks to Black Pear Press and Polly Stretton for joining me on managing and editing ATOTC II.

Can’t wait for the full post? Find out more here including a link to buy a copy:

This weekend I am a Guest Reader for Brian Comber at his Book Launch. Last year I was delighted to get a sneak preview of this collection when I wrote an endorsement.

More details here.

I am involved in a project with WLFF, Bevere Gallery & Yew Tree Artist Studios who are running an exhibition of Art & Poetry with a competition linked to it, an open call to poets and artists in Worcestershire.

Five Worcestershire Poets Laureate & five artists were commissioned to work on the theme ‘Enough to See… but not enough to see by’.

Find out more in this article:

An anthology and a launch.

Anne-thology – Poems Re-Presenting Anne Shakespeare by Broken Sleep Books.

Last year I had great fun researching to write my submission for this anthology. We were limited to one poem, so I am delighted mine made it through. Packed with amazing poems, some great commissioned poets and it’s lovely to see lots of friends in there too… and of course, Will himself.

Later this month there’s an Anthology Launch in Stratford.

Find out more and order a copy here.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

And in other news – I have taken several bookings for 2023, several projects from last year are due publication and Mr. G and I got engaged! All good things are worth waiting for. I promise you.

Photo by Jasmine Carter on

Enjoy NaPoWriMo and I will update other news in May including more details on all of the above.

NaPoWriMo are celebrating 20 years!

Book Launch – Anthologies

Book Launch – Anthologies

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

Flash Fiction and Young Writer Anthologies fromLitFest

The launch is a HYBRID event and will take place on Zoom and at the Museum of Royal Worcester this Sunday 27th November from 12:30

The talented writers, worldwide for the Flash Fiction competition, and young writers from Worcestershire, entered the Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe competitions and these are the resulting anthologies.© Black Pear Press

The Worcestershire Literary Festival, in partnership with Black Pear Press and The Story Knights, is proud to announce the launch of the Young Writer anthology for 2021 and 2022!

This will be a FREE Live AND zoomed hybrid event -held on SUNDAY 27th NOVEMBER 2022 in the Exhibition Hall of The Museum of Royal Worcester in Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND. The event starts at 12.30 pm (finishing at 13.45) but you are warmly invited to come along beforehand and browse the Museum’s gift shop and galleries.

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The Quiet Compere


I am delighted to be back on tech duties – although with this line up, I am not sure how I will concentrate on screen work.

The tour brings together a diverse selection of poets of all ages, cultures, styles and experience, designed to entice an audience that may never have experienced spoken word events before.

Sarah has been running spoken word events under her guise as The Quiet Compere for ten years.

Quiet Compere events are unique. There are no lengthy introductions to poets, no-one is designated as ‘top-of-the-bill’ – all platform performers considered equal in Sarah’s eyes. Each line-up boasts a varied and diverse mix of poets, ranging from established local poets, some new to the scene who are ready to stun audiences with their talent, plus a generous sprinkling of nationally well-known poets and performers.

© Quiet Compere

Co-Host and performer for the evening: Emma Purshouse
George Bastow
Gracey Bee
Penny Blackburn
Mark Connors
Linda Goulden
Helen Ivory
Jack McLean
Elizabeth McGeown
Jennifer A. McGowan
Mark Pajak

You can find tickets on Eventbrite. Don’t miss it!

Nov 12th

Quiet Compere Live and Online Tour 2022 – Stop 9 – Zoom Finale

Sarah L Dixon, The Quiet Compere of Huddersfield, is taking her showcase and workshop series to new places.

Remembrance Day


Today is Remembrance Day – I have gathered some poems for reflection.

This anthology was compiled whilst I was Worcestershire Poet Laureate (2017-18). It was important to me to represent globally – the international anthology was the first of many online anthologies produced during my tenure.

International Remembrance Anthology

Thank you to all poets who submitted their work.

inews remembrance day poems 2021 first world war poetry including:  John McRae, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Ivor Gurney, Rudyard Kipling

seven touching remembrance day poems

CWGC Remembrance day poems for reflection

Photo by Eric Smart on

A Tale of Two Cities II – The Reading


Earlier this week I shared the sizzle… here’s the recording of our Transatlantic reading. Enjoy!

ATOTC II ~ 30/10/22

With gratitude to all participating poets and to Rodger Martin and Polly Stretton for managing this second edition of the project with me.

A Tale of Two Cities II – The Reading


Some poetry events are just magical! Mix the alchemy of Transatlantic poets writing call and response poems and you are sure to have a cracking reading. The power of hearing these poems performed by each poet was fabulous. Added to the words, the reunion of people, not just across the pond but within our own communities.

I have huge gratitude to every poet in this project. Polly Stretton is a marvel and without her, the gleam wouldn’t have been as bright as it was. I appreciate every ounce of work she has delivered since the summer.

We are currently editing the film for YouTube and then over the next few months will compile a print anthology with Black Pear Press.

Watch this space!

Here’s a flavour of what’s to come…

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A Tale of Two Cities II


It gives me great pleasure to announce a project that has been underway since the summer.

We did it again! Poets from Worcester UK and Worcester USA paired up to write call-and-response poems.

In the original project there was a UK launch and a USA reading, but thanks to the wonders of technology we will all be united on Sunday 30th October, the start time will be 18:00 GMT (UK) and 14:00 EDT (USA) the link for the online event will appear here and on the BPP Facebook Event Page on the day. And yes, that’s definitely 18:00 start time UK, our clocks fall back this weekend!

Black Pear Press are delighted to be part of this project and will host the online event.

Background ~ Every tale starts somewhere.

The Original ATOTC

Back in 2017, when I was Worcestershire Poet Laureate I embarked on a huge transatlantic project linking poets in Worcester UK with those in Worcester MA USA.

It was a massive undertaking on both sides of the pond and a wonderful, fulfilling project involving 47 poets. You can read all about it here:

Project Go Ahead

A Tale of Two Cities Begins

Poets Revealed

A Tale Nearly Ready to Tell

A Tale of Two Cities Anthology

And feast on the wonderful poetry which was written about our cities here.

Then there were launches and festival events for a while.

July 2018 Droitwich Arts Festival – Launch of ATOTC UK

Artsfest UK Launch A Tale of Two Cities

Then it was the turn for our partners in the USA.

A Tale of Two Cities Massachusetts

AT read promo

September 2018

I worked on promotion for the American A Tale of Two Cities reading, happening at the Sprinkler Factory, Massachusetts on Friday 28th. Very excited to hear how it all goes and hopefully by next year there will be some bigger plans in progress for this project.


I followed up the USA performance of A Tale of Two Cities – there was certainly a lot of pre-event news coverage and it seems to have gone really well.

US Reading ATOTC


The plans I had bore some fruition in 2019 when I produced a show with some of the UK poets, lots of film work and the helpful narration of an American relative, for the Evesham Festival of Words.

It had been booked for the festival in 2018, before the Perth Poetry Festival in Australia and before my stint in hospital and my Annus horribilis. It was not quite the year I thought it would be and neither was 2020.

As our lives moved online I caught up with WCPA crew at some events and thought about joining forces to celebrate the collection again.

Roll on a few years, many poets are still in contact with their partners and one of the UK poets, Polly Stretton, had a conversation about doing just that.

Photo by Sharefaith on

July 2022

After a few email exchanges with Rodger Martin and Bob Gill, an idea was floated to go beyond meeting online to read our original work… after some discussion we all agreed to repeat the Call & Response project. And ATOTC II was born.

Since then poets from the original team have been paired up to produce a new selection of poems, this time the theme was open and as before, there has been lots of fun! And this time after the reading, my future ideas for A Tale of Two Cities will bear fruit.

Photo by vectors icon on

A huge thanks to Polly Stretton for all her management skills, for compiling the programme and organising the tech and assisting with the promotion. It has been a blast. Thanks also to Black Pear Press.

And thank you to all the poets in Worcester UK and from WCPA Worcester Massachusetts, for your wonderful partnerships and poems. I cannot wait to celebrate with you all!

Photo by Vie Studio on

Come and join us

ATOTC II Event Page will include Zoom information on the day.


A Big Week for Some of my Poems


Back in the midst of Lockdown (2020) I was involved with several projects in Sheffield. One of which was Lab 4 Living Experiencing Ageing workshops with Joan Healey and Sheffield Libraries.

The outcome of which has been an exhibition in Sheffield Library, an anthology of selected poems from the project and more recently (Friday 21st October) The Poetics of Ageing as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words.

‘… one of the UK’s largest literary festivals. Every October we bring the biggest names in local, regional, and international literary talent, media and the arts to South Yorkshire.‘ – University of Sheffield.

It was an enjoyable project to be involved in, I love it when research turns to poets and it was my involvement in this project which led me to become a part of DNA: Our Stories for the Resonate Festival at Warwick University back in January.

Prior to the original 2020 project, I’d written about Dementia and experienced first hand the effects of this and Alzheimer’s disease. Lab 4 Living also enabled me the space to write more elder poems, which was always important to me but has been made doubly so since the loss of my Great Aunty and Grandma earlier this year.

I shared some of my poems from the anthology at a recent event for Droitwich Arts Network and the impact and conversations with audience over the conception of them and the Lab 4 Living project were rewarding and insightful.

An exploration of the wondrous process of growing older through poetry and prose.  The evening includes poetry from local writing groups about the felt experiences of ageing, readings of work by people living with dementia and provocative extracts from fiction.  We hope to create a space where we can share, play, gain new insights and perhaps re-imagine what it is to be older.  This event comes from a project  ‘Re-imagining ageing’ run by Joan Healey and Claire Craig as part of Lab 4 Living’s 100 Year Life research.

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” Frank Lloyd Wright 

Curated by Sheffield Hallam University

I also received a commission to write for a special event. More news on that soon.