Category Archives: Awards

Review of July as WPL

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For the next year I will divide my monthly reviews into Worcestershire Poet Laureate work and everything else.


Worcestershire Poet Laureate – A Month in Review

Week 1:

Media Coverage

An article about becoming Worcestershire Poet Laureate appeared in Worcester News.

Worcester News

I had my first slot with Tammy Gooding on BBC Hereford & Worcester Radio.

Hereford&Worcester

I read ‘Gander’ one of my Evesham Festival of Words poems.

Suz Winspear continues to write her column for SLAP magazine and this month the passing of the Laureateship was part of her feature.

SLAP issue 71

SLAP Suz

Performances

Evesham Festival of Words – Poetry Walk

Evesham-Festival-of-Words-Image-1 I performed a set of Evesham based poems written especially for the event. I performed under the Cloisters. It was a great turn out and an enjoyable poetry stroll around the green of Evesham.

Licensed to Rhyme

This month Suz Winspear (former WPL) headlined and I appeared in a Guest Slot at Licensed to Rhyme on Monday 3rd July. Licensed to Rhyme is run by Maggie Doyle & Spoz and takes place every month at the Artrix.

Licensed to Rhyme

I was asked to do a workshop in August, but unfortunately was not available on the day. I have taken several other bookings for performances and workshops over the next few months.

Week 2:

Much of my current work as WPL is planning for future events. This week I put together a Halloween Event, an Earth Day Event, continued to organise an international poetry project and made contact with several community groups across the County.

Week 3:

Media

The story went into press.

laureate

Projects

Submissions Open

I opened submissions to Contour (a digital magazine for my tenure). Submissions remain open until 31st August.

Copy of TRIVIA (5)

Still open for poetry and artwork – so get submitting!

Young Poet Award

I also launched a new initiative to encourage Young Poets. This is open all year – so if you know any talented youngsters under 16, nominate them for this award.

Copy of Summer Children Kids event ccourse Poster Flyer Template (2)

I continued to work on the planning of a September workshop at the Jinney Ring. I met with the Events Manager and went through the finer details. I am very excited about this and bookings are now being taken.

Writing Workshop with Sculpture Trail – Jinney Ring Craft Centre

Writing Workshop with Sculptures and the Worcestershire Poet Laureate.
Monday 18th September 10:30- 12:30 p.m glass tree

The Sculpture Trail at The Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury, Worcestershire.

The morning will start with a tour of the trail and some time to write using the sculptures for ekphrastic poetry or initial stimuli. Followed by a writing workshop in the marquee. 
Tea/Coffee and cake is provided as part of the ticket.

There will be opportunities to share writing and participants will be able to send polished work for at exhibition at the Jinney Ring in October.

In addition to all this, there will also be the opportunity to share your work at a reading in November.

For more information please contact me: worcspl[at]gmail.com

Official poster with all booking details out soon. Just awaiting the new trail photograph. 
10:15 meet at the marquee for a 10:30 Tour. 
Tickets £7.00


I am really excited to make a whole project for the poets, a performance/reading and an exhibition following the workshop. Poetry for Autumn, tick!

I continued connecting to local groups and the wider community and have made several offers to spread poetry buzz. I made some new connections.

We continued to make exciting festival plans for next month.

Performances

st swithins dancefest© 2017 Kathy Gee

St. Swithun’s Church as part of Watch Out Worcester, DanceFest. This event was organised by Suz Winspear and was incredible. I felt lucky to be part of it – even though it had to be a flying visit as I was already leading and performing in an event for Artfest.

I will blog a whole write up for this event and link back here.

I also performed in St. Andrew’s Square for Artsfest and promoted other festival events, this is something I have been involved in the planning of since February, now as WPL we tagged that element in.

This brought new opportunities which I will be announcing next month.

Poetry Extravaganza – Artsfest

I brought together 9 poets to perform at Park’s Cafe. It was a successful event which deserves a blog post of its own. Link to follow.

I was also presented with my now engraved WPL award.

award

© 2017 Leena Batchelor

 

Week 4:

I continued to communicate and plan the international project. Worked on marketing for the Jinney Ring Sculpture Writing Workshop, promoted WPL events. In addition organising other WPL appearances this Autumn.

Events

I was already an Artist in Residence for DAN/Artsfest, but decided now I am also WPL to be the WPL/Poet in Residence and promote both DAN & WLF.

I had an enjoyable morning at the Library (I will blog and link back). I also tested the Poetry Kit idea, which worked well and resulted in an even better idea/method for next time.

DAN peter Hawkins

© 2017 Peter Hawkins

I also loved one of the Poetry Kit children asking their Gran if they could use this as a party game at their Birthday Party this summer. Poetry GOLD!

DAN Lib 2   DAN Lib

I also dropped off poetry to display at Canal Side Studios.

DAN Lib3

And that’s about it – a quick rest before heading into August.

DAN Rhys

© 2017 Rhys Jones

July a Month in Review (all the bits that aren’t WPL) link to follow.

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Words of Encouragement

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Copy of Summer Children Kids event ccourse Poster Flyer Template (2)

Nominate a Young Poet for a Keep Writing Award

Poet Laureate

THE STORY BEHIND THE IDEA

Many of us wrote when we were children, the wonder and ambition born from praise and acknowledgement is something we should never underestimate. 

I still remember those pinnacle English Teachers, Editors and Publishers who gave me the first taste of the writing world. 

marguerite-2336291_1920One of my nephews has just reached that grand age where he leaves the first school where he has been nurtured and praised his whole school life to embark on the next journey (a slightly longer walk), to the new school in September. 

Cutting the long story short – he wrote an amazing poem for his Leaver’s Assembly and was asked to read it (which I know, having taught for 18 years – is code for WE LOVE IT)! I loved it too and not just because I am his Auntie. 

From what I did next… came my next WPL idea. 

group-think-2486248_1280

THE…

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Worcester LitFest Reaches the Final Weekend

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The 7th Worcester LitFest has reached the final weekend. If you haven’t managed to get to Worcester yet, you have 48 hours left! On your marks…

I have spent the past 3 days working on a new website/blog for all things Shire/Laureate based so from time to time I will be sharing links across social media, including this blog.

It would be lovely if you follow both even if you are an international reader/blogger.

The competitions run by the LitFest team (with the exception of the Poet Laureate) allow National/International entries, worth a follow just for that!

It has been an exceptionally busy week at the Festival and I look forward to updating you all on the week’s events soon.

For now – visit my new blog and discover what the team have in store for this final weekend.

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/blog-post-title/

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WLF – Worcester Lit Fest & Fringe 2015 – A Wrap!

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WLF&F logo concepts

Worcester Lit Fest 2015 has been an awesome 10 day festival! I loved it even more than last year, as last year was my first WLF I was boundless in energy and enthusiasm – so to say I have enjoyed this year even more is a BIG thing!

The programme had a great combination of events, some of which I was lucky enough to attend, others I participated in and a few I missed completely due to work and the fact that I live away from the city and don’t have unlimited funds!

 

DAY 1

As you know, as I was a finalist, the launch night was also a night of awards and celebration, for young writers, students of the university, Flash Fiction Competitors and the six poets brave enough to compete for the Poet Laureate position 2015/16.

This link takes you to my post:

WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final

WLF PL

The Launch Of The Festival – Poet Laureate Competition
And Young Writers’ Awards
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Friday 12 June – 18:30 for a 19:00 start
Join us for the launch of the Festival and watch 6 poets go head to head as
they compete for the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015.
Judges include: current Worcestershire Poet Laureate Fergus McGonigal,
Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle, County Arts Officer Steve Wilson,
Young Poet Laureate Chloe Clarke and the Secretary of LitFest.
To open the event, we will present the prizes for the Young Writer
competition and the winners of the Flash Fiction competition will be
announced.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 2

There was lots of activity on Day 2, most of which I missed as I was working for Writing West Midlands.

A wonderful workshop by Alison May – who has a new book out – details COMING SOON. We weren’t in the same library or I would have attempted to pop in.

Writing Workshop With Alison May
From Idea To Draft–
–Developing Character And Plot To Make Your Novel Work
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Saturday 13 June 13:45-15:45

Award-winning writer, Alison May, is a Worcester-based novelist and short
story writer. She ran a popular series of workshops for LitFest last year and returns this year for a workshop on Using Character and Plot to develop
your novel. The workshop is aimed at anyone who is working on a novel, or
has a strong idea for a novel they would like to write.
Alison’s debut novel, ‘Sweet Nothing’ was published by Choc Lit in
November 2013, followed by her first novella, ‘Holly’s Christmas Kiss’, in
December 2013 and a second novella ‘Cora’s Christmas Kiss’ in 2014. Her
short stories have appeared in Romantic Novelists’ Association, Harlequin,
Choc Lit and Black Pear Press anthologies, and she is former winner of the
RNA’s Elizabeth Goudge Trophy. Her fourth book, ‘Midsummer Dreams’,
was released this spring.  www.alison-may.co.uk

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I was fortunate enough to attend the evening event at Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum. Here is the link to my blogpost Poetry Wrap 6 scroll to the end of the wrap to find out about my night at the museum.BP Royal Worc

‘A Night At The Museum’
Ben Parker & Todd Swift – Poetry Book Launch
The Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND
Saturday 13 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
 Ben Parker From Porcelein
This book launch marks the conclusion of Ben Parker’s tenure as poet-in
residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester. Ben Parker will be reading
from a collection of poems produced during his residency, which will be
available for purchase for the first time. This event also marks the beginning
of Todd Swift’s residency at The Museum, and Todd will be reading from
his highly acclaimed poetry.
Ben’s poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White
Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young
British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was
published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013
Michael Marks Award.

Todd is a British-Canadian poet, publisher, critic and editor. He is the editor
of numerous anthologies; and has published eight full poetry collections. His
poems have appeared widely, including in Poetry Review, and Poetry
(Chicago). In 2004 Todd was the Oxfam Poet-in-residence. He blogs at
Eyewear and runs the indie press Eyewear Publishing. Todd’s PhD in Creative
and Critical Writing is from The University of East Anglia (UEA). He was
born in Montreal, Quebec.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 3

Our Illustrious Crime Panel
St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX
Sunday 14 June 18:00-20:00

Cally Taylor
“I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…” (‘The Lie’ C.L. Taylor)
Cally Taylor loves a dark, twisted tale. She lives in Bristol with her partner
and young son. Born in Worcester, she studied for a degree in Psychology at
the University of Northumbria then moved to London to work in medical
publishing.

Cally worked as a graphic designer, web developer and
instructional designer over the course of 13 years and now writes full time.
Her first psychological thriller ‘The Accident’ has sold over 150,000 copies
in the UK alone and was one of the top 10 debut bestsellers of 2014
according to The Bookseller. She credits Roald Dahl’s ‘Tales of the
Unexpected’ for her love of dark tales.
“Claustrophobic, tense and thrilling, a thrill-ride of a novel that keeps
you guessing.”
Elizabeth Haynes
“An enjoyable rollercoaster of a suspense novel with multiple twists.”

Daily  Mail
“This dark and creepy book is a must read.”
The Sun
Sarah Hilary
Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her
debut novel, ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ was the Observer’s Book of the Month
(“superbly disturbing”), a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, and has
been published worldwide. ‘No Other Darkness’, the second in the Marnie
Rome series, is out in 2015. The series is being developed for television by
the BBC.
“Impressive”
Times

“Stunning”
Mark Billingham

“An extraordinarily good debut”
Observer

Alex Marwood
Alex Marwood is the pseudonym of Serena Mackesy, a journalist who has
worked extensively across the British press. Her first book, ‘The Wicked
Girls’, was a word-of-mouth sensation, won the prestigious Edgar Award
for Best Paperback Original in 2014, and was nominated for an
International Thriller Writers Award in 2013. Alex lives in south London.

“A modern-day ‘Rebecca’, mixed with a suspense-filled Gothic novel and
served up with generous helping of wit – a real treat.”
Associated Press
“Fresh, sparky, funny and sadly poignant.”
The Big Issue

“Brilliantly observed … a gripping read.”
The Times

Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has
written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, and many other
national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing
Magazine.

Clare spent 12 years in the police, including time on CID, in custody and as a public order commander. Her debut novel ‘I Let You Go’ is a tense, emotionally compelling psychological thriller perfect for readers of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’.
“A terrific, compelling read with an astonishing twist that floored me. I
loved it and did not want it to end” ‘
Peter James
“A hugely assured and gripping debut and a twist that made me green
with envy”
Mark Billingham
“Absorbing, authentic and deeply unsettling: a stellar achievement, and
so deliciously clever”
Elizabeth Haynes
Following the Romantic Novelists’ Panel last year, this year we go into a
world of darkness and psychological chills and thrills from four crime
writers who look like butter wouldn’t melt…

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

This event was well attended and received lots of rave reviews. It is one I would have liked to attend and a real bargain for a whole panel of experts. Shame I am human and had to pace myself!

Day 4

‘Sport and Spice’
Chris & Teresa Green    Anita Sharma-James
Bindles upper room, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Monday 15 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
Get sporty and spice up your life! Award-winning author and broadcaster
Chris Green accompanies his wife and business partner Teresa – one of the
first women sports editors in the UK. Teresa’s roles have included sports
editor at the Bromsgrove Advertiser, assistant editor at the Kidderminster
Shuttle and sports reporter/sub editor at the Sunday Mercury. Chris is the
author of five highly acclaimed sports books, including ‘Every Boy’s Dream
– England’s Football Future on the Line’, which was nominated for the
2010 British Sports Book of the Year.
Anita will give a live Indian cookery demonstration. Our fabulous local
expert will invite you to enjoy a mouth-watering Indian finger buffet made
to her authentic recipes from her wonderful cookery book ‘A Life of Spice:
Raksha’s Story’.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

I saw Anita Sharma-James at an event in my hometown a few years ago and only have interest in tennis and world cup football! This was a SELL OUT event though, they had to turn people away.

Meanwhile I was over the hills at another SELL OUT event with John Hegley and the Confab Cabaret team, who provided the FRINGE part of the Festival (Geographically) – definitely not with the billing or event – it was one of my festival highlights. CONFAB j2 Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley at Confab Cabaret – WLF & Fringe

Festival Fringe Events with ‘ConFab Cabaret’
John Hegley
John Hegley – ConFab Cabaret Special
Monday 15th June 20.00-22.30 (Doors Open 19.30)
Tickets £10 online (address below) or £12 on the door
A fun packed variety night with lashings of Spoken Word.
John Hegley will be headlining an extra-special ConFab
Cabaret. John performed on the streets of London in the early eighties,
fronting the Popticians, with whom he also recorded two sessions for John
Peel, and has since been a frequent performer of his words, sung and
spoken, on both local and national radio and television.
Tip top support will be provided by luscious lovely local Malvern muses –
Adrian Mealing, Amy Rainbow, Catherine Crosswell, Clive Dee, Myfanwy
Fox and Sue Thompson. With a fabulous audience poem and
added merriment from international circus performer Steve Kaos!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

Day 5

John Hegley did a workshop – which I missed because I was working and also because I am seeing him again in Ludlow and have booked the workshop there as it is on the same day as the event.

It would have been great fun – what I heard was all fabulous but I had asked people NOT TO TELL ME ANYTHING about it as he may repeat the same ideas in Ludlow.

I had Tuesday off from the festival, I was working and trying to write some new material and work on my editing too.

CONFAB J Myfanwy Fox © 2015

John Hegley – Workshop
Tuesday 16th June 10:00-12:00 (Doors Open 09:45)
Tickets £12.50 in advance online (address below)
After a night of ConFab Cabaret jollity, John will be up bright and early
delivering a 2 hour workshop.
This will be an opportunity to work closely with Mr Hegley using drawing,
poetry and gesture. John has produced ten books of verse and prose pieces,
two CD’s and one mug. An Edinburgh Festival regular, he is noted for his
exploration of such diverse topics as dog hair, potatoes, handkerchiefs and
the misery of human existence.
Places are limited. Please book now to avoid disappointment.
Both John Hegley events to be held at: The Harcourt Room, The Mount
Pleasant Hotel, Belle Vue Terrace, Great Malvern WR14 4PZ

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

 

In the evening – Worcester Writers’ Circle took over with a Rubber Swordplay Event – where Mogs was awarded the Rubber Sword for his performance.

Worcester Writers’ Circle And Friends Present: ‘Rubber Swordplay’
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Tuesday 16 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
The gifted and humble members of Worcester Writers’ Circle and Friends
present a selection of their humorous stories and poems in an evening that
is sure to leave your sides aching. Mein host, Tony Judge, has once more
successfully brought together performers who are out to give you a laugh.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Another event happening Tuesday evening was at The Commandery.

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Anita Seymour – Civil War Novelist
Anita Seymour
Tuesday 16 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
Anita’s first novels are ‘The Woulfes of Loxsbeare’, a 17th Century historical
family saga, the first two titles of which are, ‘The Rebel’s Daughter’ and ‘The
Goldsmith’s Wife’. Followed by ‘Royalist Rebel’, a biographical novel based
on the early life of Elizabeth Murray, Countess Dysart. Her latest release due in June 2015 is Murder On The Minneapolis, a Cozy Mystery set on an
Atlantic Steamship in 1900.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 6

I was back in it, to see Adam Millard at 42 WLF Special – read all about it here

WLF 42 Special with Adam Millard

WLF 42 me1WLF 42 Adam

WLF © 2015

42 Worcester Festival Special
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Wednesday 17 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start
42 Worcester’s Festival Special this year sees the welcome return of Adam
Millard. A writer, mainly fantasy and horror, Adam’s whole life consists of
movies, books, and writing. He’s 31 and lives with his beautiful wife Zoe,
and son, Phoenix Justice. Adam has over fifty tattoos and smells of rich
Mahogany.
Who can resist?

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Wednesday night also saw another event at The Commandery.

‘The Crimson Ribbon’
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)
‘The Crimson Ribbon’ is a tale set during the English Civil War, exploring
the developing roles of women in an era of turmoil and change. The novel
deals with superstitious fear, injustice and persecution. Her central character,
Ruth Flowers, is torn between her desire for liberty and the need for utter
secrecy, for if people find out about the events of her past she is in mortal
danger.

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

Day 7 – One week in!

What better way to mark it than a performance at SpeakEasy.

Read all about it here WLF – SpeakEasy with SPOZ & Brenda-Read Brown

SpeakEasy Festival Special
Thursday 18 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start at The Old Rectifying House,
North Parade, Worcester WR1 3NN
Here’s your chance to read your short stories, poems, prose, try out your
performance poetry or music that tells a story. This evening is for you!

WLF Team – WLF Programme © 2015

WLF Brenda2 WLF © 2015

There were other events again at The Commandery

An Event Organised By The Battle Of Worcester Society
As Part Of THE CIVIL WAR NIGHTS At The Commandery
Chris Bryant MP – The Biography of Parliament

Following his election as Rhondda’s MP in June 2001 Chris Bryant has
served on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of
Commons, as well as the Joint Committee of the Lords and Commons on
Reform of the House of Lords. From November 2002 to May 2007 he was
Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe. He is an Associate of the
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and a member of the Coop Party,
Amnesty International, Amicus and the Fabians. Chris speaks fluent Spanish
and good French, lives in Porth in the Rhondda Fach, and famously
corresponded with James Blunt. His book ‘Parliament: The Biography
(Volume 1 – Ancestral Voices)’ was published in December 2014.
Thursday 18 June
19:00 at The Commandery, Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Tickets: £7 (From The Commandery Shop)

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 8

On Friday I took a day off from work and WLF to go to a workshop with Candy Royalle in Birmingham, which was magic! Meanwhile back in WLF the events continued.
ThreezAcrowd
Bindles, 55 Sidbury, Worcester WR1 2HU
Friday 19 June 14:00-16:00
Jan and Campbell Perry and Mike Thomas’s band will entertain in the upper
room at Bindles…don’t miss it, or you won’t be there!!

WLF Programme © 2015

Another exciting event on offer, that received lots of positive feedback was this talk and Q& A

Covert Operations! Cameron Addicott
Friday 19 June 19:30 at St John’s Library, Glebe Close, St John’s,
Worcester WR2 5AX

An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott
An undercover story…covert operator, Cameron Addicott, talks about his
contact with customs and the serious organised crime agency.
Cameron Addicott is a former undercover officer with H.M. Customs and
the Serious Organised Crime Agency. In 2008 he left SOCA to travel the
world and write the first part of his memoirs. The Interceptor was published
by Penguin in July 2010 and went straight to number 1 in the Amazon True
Crime Bestseller list. The BBC purchased the rights to the book and has
been turned into a BBC1 crime drama series. Directed by BAFTA award
winning director Farren Blackburn. Starring OT Fagbenle, Robert Lonsdale,
Charlie de Melo and Anna Skellern star, with Trevor Eve playing the leading
‘Villain’. It is due to be broadcast on BBC1 in April 2015.
Cameron’s media work includes appearing as technical expert on Chris
Atkins’ C4 Dispatches documentary about the sale of personal data and
playing the ‘Spymaster’ who taught Jared Murillo on Strictly Come Dancing’s
‘It Takes Two’. His radio work includes Radio 4’s Midweek with Libby
Purves and Five Live with Richard Bacon. In addition Cameron has advised
on numerous other TV docs and has been interviewed on many local and
European Radio shows.
Fighting on the frontline of the war against crime, ‘Cammo’  was one of the
very few hard-boiled and highly-experienced surveillance operatives to get
called up to the secretive and elite Alpha Projects unit – a group of
dedicated undercover Customs officers who hunted the UK’s most
dangerous criminals by extraordinary means – starting with the interception
and decoding of their phone calls.
This talk will give an entertaining and informative insight into working
against organised crime. Topics covered include criminal motivation,
methods of intelligence gathering, cocaine production, plus smuggling and
money-laundering.
The talk will be followed by a lively Q&A session and a book signing.

WLF Programme © 2015

Day 9

Was my final day in the WLF and one I had been looking forward to – nothing to do with Jonny Fluffypunk! Oh, no! WLF – Jonny Fluffypunk & Offa Press Poets

Offa’s Poets And Jonny Fluffypunk
St Swithun’s Institute, The Trinity, Worcester WR1 2PN
Saturday 20 June – 19:00 for a 19:30 start

‘Thought-Apples’ is a collection of 25 poems by Staffordshire poet Bert
Flitcroft. They are philosophical, occasionally piquant, always accessible and
pleasing to the ear. Bert was born in 1946 and grew up in Lancashire.
Nowadays he lives near Lichfield, a retired English teacher.
David Bingham’s debut collection from Offa’s Press, ‘The Chatter of
Crows’, includes impressive Japanese-influenced haibun and haiku, which
amuse and intrigue in equal measure. David lives in Ironbridge, Telford, is a
retired Humanities teacher and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from
Birmingham University. He’s currently editor of Blithe Spirit magazine.
‘Good on the page and good on stage’ are Offa’s Poets’ watchwords.
Jonny Fluffypunk
And…the unforgettable ‘economic refugee’ from the Home Counties
returns to LitFest. Stand-up poet, sit-up storyteller and give-up musician

Jonny Fluffypunk has been dragging his art around the poetry, comedy and
alternative cabaret circuits for over 10 years. A multiple slam champion who
hates competition in the arts and an outspoken voice for anarchy, peace and
bicycles, Jonny’s a favourite with LitFest audiences. His ‘Sustainable
Nihilists’ Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye, and he is currently
touring his no-fi stand-up spoken word show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk –
One Man’s Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility’ to rousing acclaim.
An evening not to be missed!

WLF Programme © 2015

WLF jonny WLF © 2015

My final event was to celebrate Summer Solstice/ Midsummer’s Eve – with poets, bugs and torchlight! WLF – Summer Solstice Walk

LitFest Solstice Walk – a fabulous freebie
Starting around 10:30pm Saturday 20 June
Join us for a spookily fun walk around Worcester’s famous waterside for the
Summer Solstice – this year we’re keeping it local – the walk will be along
the banks of the River Severn. Starting outside Cripplegate Park gates on the
St John’s side of Worcester Bridge at 10:30(ish) Saturday 20 June, following
the Jonny Fluffypunk / Offa’s Poet gig. We’ll bear health and safety in mind
and ask everyone to bring a torch and wear stout shoes / boots and warm
clothing.
The route will be along the riverside to Diglis Lock and encompass the
Diglis basin marina area. There will be poetry and prose performances along
the route to entertain you.
Start time 10.30pm – finish anticipated just after midnight.

WLF Programme © 2015

This was a fabulous, magical event, unique.

Day 10

The end of the Festival – marked with the traditional (now in it’s 5th year) Double Whammy Slammy

LitFest ‘Double Whammy Slammy’! and end of fest party
PLUS The BIG FAT RAFFLE Draw!
Sunday 21 June
Drummonds Bar, The Swan With Two Nicks,
28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP
Flash Fiction Slam: 18:00-18:30
Poetry Slam: 19:00-21:30     
Come, watch and vote for flash fiction aficionados who will perform their
short, short stories. Last year’s winner Rod Griffiths may be competing
again! You could be the second Worcestershire Flash Fiction Slam
Champion. To take part in the flash fiction slam write your flash fiction (a
short, short story, up to 300 words) and turn up on the night to read it!
And…the grand finale! Come, watch and vote for competing poets in the
final event of the 2015 Worcestershire Literary Festival in the legendary
poetry slam championship.  Participants will vie for the chance to become
the fifth Worcestershire Poetry Slam Champion. Previous champions:
Fergus McGonigal, James Dolton, Alison Absolute and, last year Brenda
Read-Brown.

WLF Programme © 2015

The Poetry Slam winner this year is Peter Wyton, who will perform at next year’s Worcester Lit Fest SpeakEasy as a headliner, Math Jones came 2nd (for the 3rd year) and congratulations to Suz Winspear (runner up Poet Laureate) and 3rd in the Poetry Slam and Leena Bachelor who was trying out slamming for the first time!

Andrew Owens won the Flash Fiction Slam. Well done to everyone who was brave enough to take part and for those strong performers who did BOTH slams.

WLF Heather WPL WLF © 2015

Last but not least congratulations to the small and mighty WLF team! Superb festival WLF 2015 – thank you!

WLF 2015 The Launch & Poet Laureate Final

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WLF Last night was the Launch of Worcester Lit Fest at The Guildhall. It was such a rainy, muggy day, the only thing missing was the forecast storm. I had my hair cut* in the morning and by the afternoon it was ruined with the humidity and had been straightened 3x by the time I left for the city! Strangely no-one mentioned the metre I had chopped off!

* I have a phobia when it comes to Hair Salons! My last cut was so long ago, you have seen photos, the condition of my hair wasn’t brilliant and let’s face it when you’re entering some major competition you need to be armed with every confidence boosting trick.

It hasn’t stopped raining since, it was so torrential last night we heard things coming down the chimney, things that sounded like falling bits of chimney and I didn’t think the conservatory roof was going to take the constant pressure.

It was a rainy evening which is not good for attracting audiences or poets, what a shame all brollied and waterproofed up, at least I had bought a new ‘holiday mac’ so I looked fresh in the rain. Mum came as my +1 and kindly drove as I was not in any fit state with nerves, it gave me a chance to just sit, cool down and chat, almost took my mind off the night. I had spent the day with raging butterflies, despite trying all sorts of calming techniques my heart was racing. In the end (and due to a late night) I decided sleep was the best avoidance technique and had a siesta.

I practised my poems, I was up against stiff competition and decided to go for it 100%. To be honest I hadn’t envisaged going for Poet Laureate yet and with such well known and talented poets in the back of my mind I never won it, despite all my positive thinking. The one thing I did want to do was my best. Apart from mixing a couple of words up, I did.

We had the air con on and when I stepped out of the car the heat hit me. I had already struggled with flustering getting ready so by the time I arrived at the Guildhall I was a mess (physically). Mum is a great calming influence as I don’t recognise the ‘hyper’ bit myself.

WLF PL

It was lovely to see everyone, especially Tessa Lowe who stuck around before catching her train to wish me luck and will be very glad that she didn’t stay as it was a late finish!

The rest of this review is how it honestly felt as a participant, it is no reflection on the WLF team who work incredibly hard programming and organising events for the festival. Every volunteer and committee member did their best, it is just the nature of an evening where so much is packed in before the final of the poets.

I found it difficult to cope with friends in judging roles – who all had to be very distant with us, but were relaxed (thank goodness) after the results. Proceedings were started at times different to advertised, which when you are sitting in a hot room with fully charged adrenaline, nerves and a stadium’s worth of butterflies is not good.

Finally we started and some of the evening was brilliant, like the Children’s Story Writing Competition, they all performed their stories brilliantly. The Mayors and Town Council Reps were all in attendance – there was a certain element of ceremony about proceedings. Flash Fiction Prize winners were announced and some awards for local students at Worcester University, none whom could attend as they were all sitting exams. Finally, at I didn’t even look at the time – it was the 6 Finalists for WPL, our turn.

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Names had been drawn from a hat and I was to perform last, which scared me so much I verbalised my disappointment. I quite liked getting to see all the other performances first but I felt by the time my turn came the audience were wiped out. Hot, tired and poeted out on the previous 10 poems! So I kept my introductions very short and possibly lost some scores for this. But it was difficult performing to a group of people who appeared so tired. Let’s not blame the audience – it was difficult full stop. I was a wreck, attempting to remember 2 poems I hadn’t practised for over 4 hours and had only managed to get perfected the day before.

I don’t think the outcome would have been different no matter what I did and the person I thought would win, did. So afterwards I felt silly for having all that nervous energy, for taking the day off work in an attempt to remain calm etc. etc. but the flipside of all that mental preparation and rehearsing was I DID DO my best.

The judges took forever with the tough decision, which order to place the top 3. I think at one point we probably each sat in poll position in the discussion. A page width apart – which is a sliver. They meant the edge of the paper not the width of the sheet!

I am delighted to share the news that I came 3rd place! When my name was called I didn’t know if I was meant to go up to the stage or not. On the way up the steps, one of my new pink shoes came off (MY TRUE CINDERELLA MOMENT) – the people on stage congratulating and presenting awards couldn’t see my shoe on the step and wondered why I was running away so soon! Unfortunately, my mum couldn’t see me, once I was on the stage for the LITFEST banner on stage. I never got to see her face.

2nd place went to Suz Winspear and the winner this year was Heather Wastie, who will be a great Poet Laureate.

All six finalists were brilliant and competition was tough, especially for non-competitive poetry types. Looking back it was a fun night, I can honestly say I didn’t start enjoying it until the judges had disappeared for their ruling, which was about 3.5hrs after we started. Even then there was a edge of a flurry of butterflies constantly raving as we had no firm idea of the results. It was exciting.

It was the most highly anxious occasion I have ever attended. I have not felt such tension since waiting for graduation/ degree results and that is done from the comfort of your own home and you know the day and rough time so you don’t rinse yourself out for 24 hours beforehand! My heart was younger then too!

I need to give it some recovery time (my heart). It has 3 hours before I am off out for the final WWM session of this year. Actually it has a 5 day break before I perform again! It was almost as if I have booked a holiday!

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October Week 4 Writing, Editing, Book Launches, INKSPILL and MORE!

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The end of this month seems even busier than the beginning, which is crazy because I intentionally withdrew from performing poetry to concentrate on a writing project and take stock. With all the writing & editing there hasn’t been much time to take stock! I did have to take on a lot of day work (as my half term is unpaid) I managed one FULL day of writing mid-week which was a godsend! I spent most of this week preparing articles and posts for Inkspill, researching and communicating with our guest writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie. If you missed it you missed a treat – follow this link to some of the programme, join in – it’s never too late! awf-2014 I was also working towards finishing a big writing project I have been involved on since the end of August. I spent hours writing on Wednesday, which was great – hard work feels so good when you love what you’re doing! I also received some news on Wednesday – I had been given an award from Arts all Over the Place for stepping in last minute to compere they opening event at the festival. AAOTP_3 I was able to go and pick up my award en route to the Restless Bones night at The Ort, due to work I didn’t get there in time to join in all the fun, very touched by Rachel Green and Arts All Over the Place. AAOTP Pictured with Big Bren – Birmingham’s host for Sunday Xpress. I hope to work with Rachel again in the future. Although I was working on Thursday the booking was amended last minute and I was able to leave early and to the Library of Birmingham for Poetry for Lunch with Jan Watts. I always love this short, fast paced game of poetry tag and we were watched by a bunch of school kids waiting to go to the Rep Theatre, it made me doubly grateful for the early release! pfl me choosing poems pfl oct In the evening Elaine Christie had organised another launch event for  Restless Bones Poetry Anthology. We were to perform poetry and watch the film Born Free. born free The Ort has lots of things going on some nights (it is community based) Thursday evening there was an art class in the gallery *(the space we had booked) and events and reservations in the café downstairs so we were up in the Gods in a level I never even knew existed as far from the bar and toilets as possible, still nothing a tray and some good balance couldn’t solve! Although there were a small select few of us another batch of books were sold, that’s over £330.00 for the born free all proceeds are being donated to charity. It was also one of those magical nights when the world seems right and everything is running to cosmic order. Those nights when you become aware of behind the scenes and feel incredibly touched by existence. Tessa Lowe had the idea that everyone else should pick poems to read which weren’t theirs – one of mine was by Emily Dickinson and it got read earlier, so I had to think on my feet – it was great to hear us all read words by somebody else, it was incredibly moving. As is the book, you really should buy yourself a copy! Come along to the next event 25th November where Restless Bones poets are reading at Poetry Bites, Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham (Kings Heath). BUY YOUR COPY THERE £9.99 restless the book It was a great evening with a wonderful atmosphere. I was also trying to squeeze in a trip to Hanbury Hall (National Trust Property) to visit an exhibition that Stanza members are writing poetry about, I am glad I didn’t attempt this too as Thursday left me exhausted. henrace3 I went after work on Friday – which was a pain with regards to the light and lack of time I spent with my notebook but was a lovely rest-bite from work traffic on a Friday night! There was so much going on in Birmingham this weekend. I missed it all as I had my project and Inkspill to attend to and had already accepted two weekend events I didn’t feel I could say anything other than YES to! The Poet Laureates took over the Library on Saturday with performances, workshops and a general spread of Poetry! SatelliteBritain’s Got Talent came to town and one of my poetry friends, Andrea Smith (a.k.a Swingerella) had a very successful audition – I expect we will see her on the TV soon! Ruth Stacey was involved in a writing walk – this was in Ledbury and not the city – but had I been available was something else I would have liked to do! It looked fab. I also missed SOCKTEMBER socktober which was an event I had planned to take part in performing poetry and enjoying a bonfire. I spent the time I would have been there chained to my desk writing and editing and I have no regrets there at all! I have made a note for this next year and hope to help the event and give the cause the time it deserves. I did manage to escape my desk briefly on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we celebrated a big and important birthday, my Great Aunty Sheila and we all saw my brother Dave and his wife, Jenny fresh back off their wonderful honeymoon. On Sunday teatime I attempted 1940-50s fancy dress – with the help of Google and a few items in my wardrobe I generally don’t wear anymore and certainly not together, styled my hair and shot off to Worcester for Alan Durham’s Book Launch of The Hen Race. alan durham http://henracepress.com/2014/10/28/keep-calm-and-carry-on/ Read all about it straight from Alan on his blog. It was a great launch, Heather Wastie played the keyboard and sang a selection of the songs mentioned in the book. She was brilliant! henrace1 Polly Robinson and Heather read extracts as well as Alan and the wonderful cover art was on display. HENrace 2 We were spoilt with drinks and canapés and it didn’t even matter that my worst fear was realised, people hadn’t realised I was in fancy dress! It was lovely to pop in and see everyone too and the room was packed. A great turn out for the launch. The empty seat was mine. henrace4   Every spare minute of the last few weeks has been spent on my writing project, so much so that despite reminders in my writing schedule it was only 7 day before that I had started to instigate work on the writing weekend. I felt awf-2014 whirl was a great success, lots of hard work went into making it happen, especially with other commitments and opportunities that have arisen this year! Thanks again to everyone who took part! It was a full and action packed week!

2013 Charles Causley Poetry Competition Winners Announced

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Congratulations to Jo Bell (1st Prize), Dorothy Coventon (2nd), Simon Pomery (3rd) –and all the shortlisted poets.

You can read the winning entries on the Charles Causley Poetry Blog. You can also ‘follow’ and keep up to date with any competition news for 2014. Who knows maybe next year it could be you (or me!) 🙂

 

You can also listen to Jo Bell reading The Icicle Garden here on SoundCloud.

The Charles Causley Trust

The Charles Causley Trust is delighted to announce the winners of the first ever Charles Causley Poetry Competition, in aid of the continuing project to renovate the late poet’s house in Launceston, Cornwall and supporting an on-going programme of Writing Residencies and Literature events.

The competition closed in November 2013, and offered a top prize of £3000 with runners up prizes of £500 and £100. Sir Andrew Motion judged the competition and presentation to the winners by Sir Andrew was held on 28th January 2014.

• 1st Prize of £3000 was awarded to Jo Bell for ‘The Icicle Garden’

• 2nd Prize of £500 was awarded to Dorothy Coventon for ‘The River Trevillet’

• 3rd Prize of £100 was awarded to Simon Pomery for ‘Love Poem to Black Pudding’

To read the winning poems click here

Shortlisting, Sir Andrew also highly commended the following poems:

• Once in Wapping’ by

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An Award for the End of 2013 – Dragon’s Loyalty Award

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Thank you Meghan bday

Thank you to Meghan for passing the Dragon Loyalty award forward to us. Congratulations on receiving it yourself too! (I think I forgot that on my message in my excitement to collect it!)

We were nominated for this award on 22nd December.

Here is the lovely shiny award – award dragon

I would love to add it to the sidebar but apparently I have used all the space…

Apparently the Dragon’s Loyalty Award is a combination of both The Versatile Blogger Award and The Very Inspiring Blog Award.  Meghan is an inspiring woman and her blog is lovely (go visit it – linked at the very top of this post!) we do some of the same writing challenges and many followers here are already followers of her too.

Here comes the hard bit – I love receiving awards (who doesn’t) but then I have to find other bloggers who are willing to accept them and even harder find some interesting facts to write about myself that I haven’t already disclosed in the past year on my blog!

THE RULES:

1. Display the Award on your site /

2. Announce it with a post and link to whoever presented your award /

3. Present 15 awards to deserving Bloggers.

4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them to the post

5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself. /

7 interesting things about me

1. Despite attempting to be an organised writer (I have created several new email accounts this year) I always have more than 1500 unread emails in my original/ personal email account! Not something I am proud of and many are newsletter subs, but it is my guilty secret, the mess of my e-life!

2. I was first published when I was 15 years old in a print anthology of ‘Green’ poetry.

3. ….. Struggling already and quite glad at this point it is only 7 interesting facts! I took my work experience at a theatre and served tea and biscuits to Robert (swoon!) Powell.

4. My favourite food is allotment fresh sweetcorn (corn cobs)! No need to add butter.

5. I lost 4 1/2 stone (63 lbs) a few years back and will be attempting to do the same in 2014!

6. (Nearly there! This is a real uphill struggle…) I taught myself to read sheet music when I was 8.

7. Mr G’s nickname (1 of many) for me is Chattymuns – because I chat a lot! For my birthday this summer he ordered a custom made wooden sign ‘Chattymuns’ which we have displayed in the garden by the Summer House (oh and according to him I also have my own catchphrase!) 🙂

15 Amazing Bloggers Nominated for the award:

In no particular order – be back to post – giving it some thought.

 

Best Moment Award

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We were awarded this back in late April – May has been a mad month so I sat on it for a while and now have the time to pass it forward.

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My thanks to Kristen Hope for nominating me for this award. Go check out her great blog. Sounds to me like she is making big life changes this year too – just like me.

The rules of receiving this award are that I must write an acceptance speech and nominate other bloggers.

Acceptance Speech red carpet

2013was always going to be my year of transformation and change. I have been at rock bottom for far too many years and this year have definitely started a ‘journey’ – my life has been in stagnate pools for too long – unchanged and laborious – recently I have re-discovered 2 things;

Opportunity brings opportunities

Have faith to take that leap

I also know that when I am driving my life I am quite good at controlling the way things go. (Being strong minded and determined) there are some major changes in my life this year – some I am not yet able to post about – but believe me they weren’t easy decisions to make – my life is much better for making them though!

One of the best things was starting this blog. Hard to maintain at the moment as I don’t have 24/7 net access. I have met so many great people – read so much talent fuelled writing and generally had a great time. And now have started picking up blog awards – which feels amazing.

I am grateful to each and every one of you who follows A Writers Fountain and I love the fact that people now leave comments as well as likes.

I created the blog to keep me on the yellow brick road to a writing life (last time I gave up after I had no rent money) and I hoped it would be read – not only have I achieved the initial objectives but I have enjoyed every splash. I have been inspired by so many great bloggers out there it will be difficult to choose my nominations – especially after passing the other awards forward recently.

I decided my criteria for this would be Blogs that have offered me a best moment – an inspiring post, an opportunity, a connection – that is not to say that if your blog is not nominated you haven’t provided me the above – I wouldn’t be following you in the first place if I didn’t love your blog. I also believe in spreading the love – so if I have nominated you for a different award you might not be nominated again for a while.

So my nominations for Best Moment Award are;

http://bottledworder.com/

http://travel-monkey.me/

http://afullnessinbrevity.wordpress.com/

http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/

http://herecomethelobsters.wordpress.com/

Mainly thank you for all your wonderful blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

A Writer’s Fountain – ‘Best Moment’ our 3rd Award

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I have finally submitted my nominees today for the awards I received back in April.
I discovered another award yesterday that I hadn’t picked up! Also from April (28th)
Thank you Kristen
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For this award we have to make a speech and some nominations. I will update this post later in the week with both!