Tag Archives: AWF

Submissions, Deadlines, Workshops and Events… did someone mention rest?

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After a wonderful and exhausting INKSPILL weekend I am taking a 2-3 day break from the blog.

My main reasons are that I need to be OFFLINE writing, I have many end of month submissions to edit and am also completing a job application.

I do want to tell you all about the wonderful events in October but will do a catch up after all my deadlines have whooshed by with my manuscripts attached hopefully!

This week I have a workshop, 3 Halloween Poetry Performances, 1 non-Halloween poetry Event and then I am planning a restful/ writing-ful weekend before going back to work and welcoming NOVEMBER! Where did this year go!?

I should have some time on Wednesday to pile the posts in from this past week before finding fancy dress costume – 1 of 3…. I didn’t dress up last year, I think I am making up for it this holiday!

If you didn’t dip into INKSPILL – there are enough posts there to keep you going until I blog again.

DAlma© 2014 Deborah Alma

 

The INKSPILL SHOP – Now OPEN!

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Our Guest Writers kindly gave up their time this year to write material for INKSPILL for FREE. They all did more than I expected and I am very grateful. I have my own plan for how to thank William, Charlie and Heather and I will.

Another way I can say thank you is by opening a gift shop to sell their wares.

If you get a chance to hear any of our Guests speak or perform then GO DO IT! You will not be disappointed. charlie jordan Heather Wastie headshot ©2014 Lee Allen Photography  *

*©2014 Lee Allen Photography

INKSPILL SHOP 

NOW fs open

 

William’s Store – Click the bookshop… piles_of_books-red

 

Charlie’s Anthologies would be for SALE on the shelves in a Tea Room, filled with plenty of cake and poets!  Click the picture wolverley tea shopFacebook

Charlie’s Tea  Shop (CAKES)

You can listen to Charlie on Smooth Radio or HERE and watch her perform her poetry all over the Midlands.

 

Heather, would need an eclectic shop, a fusion of musical instruments, CDs and poetry.

vertu-bar-photo-created in birmingham Heather’s Store

Click it

 

Other products are shown on the Bio Post here

And if you have no money – say a virtual thanks by choosing a button – blogging about INKSPILL and link back to AWF! Spread the word… let’s watch it grow!

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INKSPILL: Evaluation & Feedback

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inkspill-pink2014 Thanks to everyone who has helped with INKSPILL 2014 – our guest writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan & Heather Wastie and everyone who has taken part or found the posts useful.

It would be great to have some feedback on how it was for you and to share ideas for next year.

Let us know what you think!

me

Nina Lewis

That’s all Folks!

INKSPILL: The Final Writing Session

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Our final writing activity is another freewrite, writing without stopping, without censoring, without editing.
Choose a prompt and decide how long to write – ten minutes is a good length of time to begin with. It is the FINAL one – so I have left two, choose or use both.

Remember to share links with us or post your freewrites as comments on this thread.

 

Subjects

What have you stolen?

Write about a phobia.

Write about a neighbour.

Write about something you lost.

Write about your feet.

 

 

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William told us about dialogue yesterday – so here is a challenge about dialogue. Choose a line – start with it – use it in the middle or at the end, write a script, or prose or even a poem. Whatever you choose.

 

Dialogue

“No! I’m tired of doing what you say.”

“It looks like you’re in trouble there. Can I help?”

“You were meant to be watching him!”

“Well, this is where I live.”

“Do you ever think we should just stop doing this?”

 

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INKSPILL: On NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

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I am still undecided on whether I am attempting NaNoWriMo 2014 or not yet, if I do it will be to work on short stories, several of them.

In 2013, when I started writing again, I discovered NaNo in early Spring and was gutted I had to wait until Autumn. I took part in both the Camp NaNoWriMo Spring and Summer – produced 50K on a non-fiction book which is writing in progress and currently somewhere beyond 90K words, I worked on a series of short stories for the summer camp, by the real event in November I was primed and ready and created half a novel that I haven’t touched it since.

What I did do successfully, was blog. Just in case you know nothing of this month of madness have a look HERE

Here are links to archive posts for any of you considering locking yourself in for November and writing until your head hurts!

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ARCHIVE

 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/nanowrimo-survival-tips/

 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/organizing-a-nanowrimo-novel-the-jim-butcher-way/

 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/you-can-eat-an-elephant-one-bite-at-a-time-tips-for-surviving-nanowrimo/

 

nano win

www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/10/21/dana-volney-christmas-clash-nanowrimo/17456909/

 

This is just a sample – there are over 8 pages  of Nano posts on the blog, that’s over 100 posts easily! nano3

Search yourselves, scroll down to bottom of webpage – look in Categories – choose NaNoWriMo and have a splash about!

INKSPILL: Guest Writer – Charlie Jordan – Thoughts on Writing and Editing (Part 2)

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Guest Writer ticket 2014

Charlie Jordan – charlie jordan

Thoughts on Writing and Editing (Part 2)

 

Balance? No idea – just squish bits of writing in whenever you can, and accept that life sometimes gets so busy with work and family responsibilities, that you may not always have space…….that’s ok too – sometimes the only hour you get free needs to be spent walking in the park and clearing your head.

Don’t get too Ivory Tower about your writing, we all have images of sitting in a particular location, with elegant stationery or a Macbook and endless hours to focus on our craft – but the reality may be scribbling on a train in rush hour, or when waiting to collect the kids on the school run – hoping they’re running a few minutes late today, so you can finish a piece. 😉 Sometimes it’s just a few brief notes or thoughts for working on another time, and that’s ok.

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I love the books by Natalie Goldberg on writing, and she writes about Zen practise too – so as someone who’s dabbled with Buddhism for 30 yrs, I can re-read her books and still savour new nuances.

Others rave about Stephen King’s book on writing, or Julia Cameron – read widely and see what works for you, but don’t allow too much reading about writing equate to never actually doing any writing! It’s a fine balance…. I read Buddhist books, Pema Chodron & Thich Nhat Hanh are among my favourites, food books, authors like Elizabeth Gilbert – who have such a clear voice I can hear them speaking from the page, and of course – poetry……from early favourites like Maya Angelou – who wrote and spoke as a 6 foot woman, like me – and I didn’t know any other tall women then, so I felt like she understood!

Benjamin Zephaniah, as a Brummy and hugely charismatic poet and writer who is equally at home writing for children or engaging in more serious political poetry, sometimes combining both in his young adult novels, Sharon Olds – whose work Jo Bell introduced me to – which reminds me – you should look up Jo Bell.

© Sarah Bryson 2014

© Sarah Bryson 2014

Now! She’s a powerhouse of poetic life force, fiercely talented and a warm, friendly mischievous woman whose love of poetry and boating meets perfectly in her currently being our canal Laureate. She instigated 52 – a brilliant initiative online for weekly poetry prompts and sharing of new work – hopefully in a book for next year so we can all catch up on it. Lemn Sissay too – outstanding energy on the page and off the page and sometimes inscribed into walls – Google him now & look….. So many other names, too many to mention – but poets like Jaqui Rowe, Angela France, Helen Ivory are worth your time and generally dip into collections of poetry like a ‘pick & mix’ to stumble on new favourites. Performance poets to recommend include Hollie McNish, Bohdan Piasecki, Kate Tempest, Matt Windle, Spoz, Maggie Doyle – several of whom are friends, but of course I’m not biased – they’re outstanding poets too.

BL RH jACQUIKathy MaggieQC Matt Windle Gary Longden

Angela francebohdan-piasecki Hollie

Connect with other writers when you can, it’s such an isolating process – so writing groups, open mics, writing courses and literary festivals – go and find your tribe as it were! I’ve found the West Midlands to be full of some hugely talented writers, who are also encouraging and supportive people who welcome new poets and want to build up their confidence.

One thing that makes me sad is when a writer spends time and energy criticising another writer’s work. This may be amusing with the big name million selling, prize winning stars parry in the broad sheets to get the headlines for their new bestseller…..but for the rest of us in the real world – be kinder! Don’t waste your finite words, and energy in negativity and try to divide the already small community of writers and artists and claim some work is superior to others. Of course we’re not all going to love every word or genre written, but why denigrate someone’s hard work and sneer – instead why not tell us whose work you love?

Share what sets you alight with inspiration and we too may indulge in the excitement of discovering new favourite writers.

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Update things. This is as much for me as you……I’ve been presenting the Drivetime show at Smooth radio in the West Midlands since March, but haven’t updated my website this year….ooooops! My friend Dave does all the technical stuff for it, but I’ve not sent him any new copy for months – so, note to self – update it……… Nina’s much better at this

 

On Editing

Editing – try actually chopping a piece up. Literally with scissors and physically swap words or lines around in a poem…..sometimes it frees things up in a way you’d never discover on a computer screen. And you get to play with blue tack or sellotape – always fun!

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This is just a few rambling thoughts scribbled extremely quickly, so to wrap up I should say something really profound and meaningful and well thought out – like I was planning this destination all along…..erm…..oooopssssss…..oh wait, yes – that’s it….. Feel free to ignore/discard/forget every word of this or anything else……… different things will work for us all at different times. There is no one definitive answer, but by reading widely and dipping into and out of things, you’ll be likely to discover something you do like, that fits right now.

So Good luck, go write and enjoy.

Oh and one more thing, try writing with your friends – I did it with Divas, and we’ve had the best fun and once our diaries are all link up, we’ll be doing it again and having the best writing and performing fun ever, and tea, cake & mischievous giggles!

 

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INKSPILL – Motivation: Keep Going – A Little Back Story & a Video

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This motivational video is SPORTY, as most are. Why? Athletes know the part BELIEF plays in their success. In fact (as followers from 2013) will know, it was whilst watching the athletes competing in the Summer Olympics of 2012 that I first conceived my 16 year writing plan.

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My sporting achievements (alongside County Netball and 3rd in the Egg and Spoon Race)! ^^^^^

Who wants a 5 year plan? Now I have a vague one year plan (nothing on paper, although that is a great idea for manifesting goals) and from that comes the 4 year plan.

There was never a 5 year plan, just the 16 years of trying. Gold medallist after gold medallist spoke of their ‘journey’ to achieving GOLD and for many of them the success was the result of trying Games after Games. For some of the older (still younger than me) athletes it was their 4th Games (4×4 = 16) they made it – then retired to coaching or presenting or promoting sports.

This is where we have the advantage – a writer (and many do) go on writing until they die or find they can no longer create new work. We can go on long after our bodies have aged, with all sorts of tech that can produce our manuscripts without the need for typing, as long as our minds are still active we can continue giving the world something new to read.

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In just one year of writing poetry and nearly 2 years of writing I am well on my way to my first Olympic games and as you can read in this blog, lots has happened in that short space of time.

I should point out that I have done my training, I was a ‘young writer’ (before that term was used and in a very different world than today, no internet, no groups for 16-25 year old talented writers, no young writer groups like the one I work with at The Hive) it was a very insular writing experience. First published at the age of 15, my work appeared in various publications and anthologies of poetry, it was only just before leaving for university (an Olympic Games later) that I even admitted (confessed) publically to writing, let alone telling people I was published.

During my time at university, studying drama, I took to the stage at various venues around the East Midlands performing poetry.

After graduating I worked as an actress, performance poet and wrote for theatre. Within a year I found myself studying Creative Writing and was tutored by famous/ re-known local and national writers & journalists, including the much loved Sue Townsend. I embarked on a career as a Freelance Writer – alongside facilitating Poetry Workshops in schools, promoting local writing / performance events and leading Drama Workshops for the corporate world.

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It is AMAZING what young ambitious 21 year olds can achieve!

A large part of me wishes I had stuck with it but it didn’t pay well and I had other ambitions, like owning a home and travelling the world, both of which needed money. Ironically, I believe if I had stuck at it I would still have achieved those dreams. So, if you are under 25 and already doing something creative with your life, stick with it! If it is your path, you will know.

I trained as a teacher and later a life coach.

At the beginning of this career change I was still in tune with a shadow of my dream and set up a website and online community in 2000 called A Writers Fountain – domains and the internet at the time was relatively new to users, despite this we became the number one ranking community network/website within weeks and stayed in poll position for 2 years that our URL existed. My website for those involved in 52 was similar in concept and network, but writing was divided into genres and sub-sections. AWF helped many across the world realise their dream …. had relationships, marriages and publication success too.

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Young 20- somethings are pretty good at realising their dreams too!

Sadly, MSN sites were abolished and although I bought a domain name, the set up of the website wasn’t as good as the original and we lost several hundred members when we moved URL. The experience was not the same for the user. Imagine a premiere league sports team playing in your local club venue – how different that would feel, it was the same.

Back in the early 2000s web design was expensive and there was little option. In the end it was costing too much money and it didn’t feel the same, my own offline life was increasingly complicated and I abandoned the site and writing, although that process happened a little slower. I made no submissions after 2003 and had stopped writing altogether. (None of these ‘writing’ decisions happened on a conscious level.)

I was a full-time teacher for 12 years alongside some short-term lecturing and mentoring work. I did buy the house (then sold it and bought again with Mr G) and did some travelling. Followed by more travelling (on a bigger budget) seeing the world 5 weeks at a time!

Until illness in 2012 re-awoke me and made me accept who I am. A creative soul was fed once more and here we are in AWF mark 2# a blog. I had never blogged before 2013 and I LOVE it! Last year I had more time to explore the world of blogs and blogging, since then my own writing life has kept me busy offline – and I still teach to pay the mortgage, having learnt back in the 90s that you need a plan to support your creativity as it is a poverty placed career choice (as is the Arts in any context) unless and until you are Hollywood block buster level or JK Rowling!

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I went part-time and now I work supply and spend the other half of my week writing and getting creative. I now work as an Assistant Writer and Mentor for Writing West Midlands and am a  Performance Poet and Freelance Writer, my world has done a 360 turn!

You are never too old and people in their 30s aren’t old anyway!

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Moving onto the promised video… here it is!

As the title says KEEP GOING!

Whatever you are doing – do it better, do it well.

So ignore the sportiness of this video and pay attention to the words!

Enjoy

 

INKSPILL Guest Writer Heather Wastie – Histrionic Water

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Histrionic water

In Wolverhampton,

fish take me by surprise.

 

Looking down from Broad Street Bridge,

then from the towpath edge

 

I need an explanation

for such unexpected clarity,

 

a long exposure of minnows,

lush reeds and sulky sediment.

 

It’s ironic, says the cut water,

I have been cleansed

 

by a vandal-induced stoppage.

Tearfully the water speaks:

 

It was you who saved me

from oil slick, effluent, blackened

 

polystyrene icebergs, mattress tangled

shopping trolleys, half inched bikes,

 

malicious metal spikes,

contents of living rooms tipped.

 

I was soap sud soup with beer bottle croutons,

peppered with cans and the odd chunk of meat.

 

You saved me from scum,

from smothering polythene,

 

wire running red, the callous garrottes

of those who would see me dead.

 

I fear the onset of duck weed.

You saved me to be stirred.

 

 

 

© Heather Wastie

July 2013

INKSPILL Guest Writer Heather Wastie – Editing a Poem

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I am delighted that Heather Wastie agreed to be a Guest Writer for Inkspill 2014 and even happier to hear she enjoyed preparing these articles for us. After reading Heather’s biography HERE you will know that she is more than a poet, I met her in her poetry skin and I am grateful that she has picked up on the editing theme for poets. Poetry is difficult to edit and poets can not always follow traditional editing techniques – so here is Heather Wastie sharing her experience with you all.

HEATHER WASTIE – Guest Writer Inkspill 2014

Heather Wastie headshot

Editing a poem

Written for Inkspill Writing Retreat

 

When I have an idea for a poem, I start by jotting down what’s in my head, usually on my phone or in a notebook. I then transfer the initial idea to the computer, edit it and print it out. Next I write amendments on the printed sheet and type up, continuing this process until I’m happy. Usually the drafts get discarded, but there’s one recent poem I drafted twice in a notebook because I was on a boating holiday at the time and didn’t have access to a computer. So I’ve typed it all up and shared it below so you can see my thought process.

 

Usually when I start a poem, I don’t know what form it will take. A form will emerge though, and I take great care to make sure it looks good on the page. I know a poem is finished when it looks pleasing to the eye and feels right when I read it aloud eg I don’t trip over words, and the line breaks and stanzas make sense. If at all possible, it’s best to write a poem and put it away for a while to be read again as if you have never seen it before. It’s amazing what you can spot that wasn’t obvious before.

 

I had a one-to-one session with Sara-Jane Arbury a few years ago, looking at poems I’d written but wasn’t quite happy with. I’ve included 2 poems with this article. The first was helped along by Sara-Jane. It didn’t need much tweaking, but her suggestions made all the difference. One change was in the number of stanzas. Spaghetti Hoops refers to 7 tins in a cupboard; the poem now has 7 stanzas, something readers and audience may never even notice, but it strengthened the piece. Sharing new poems with friends and fellow writers is always helpful.

 

The poem I’ve used to show my writing process is Histrionic Water, one of three chosen by Jo Bell for inclusion in The Kingfisher Corridor: Poetry on the Canals at the Library of Birmingham in October 2013. It was this event which triggered a process resulting in the commission of Idle Women & Judies by the Canal & River Trust. See these blog posts for more information http://weavingyarns1.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/idle-women-and-judies/  http://weavingyarns1.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/a-far-from-idle-woman/

 

I hope this has been useful! You may also be interested in reading my blog about how I came to be Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet in Kidderminster http://weavingyarns1.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/the-story-so-far/  Happy writing!

 

Heather Wastie

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26th October 2014

 

 

Histrionic Water

 

Initial idea

When I was a child, my family was involved in campaigning to restore the canal system and we spent many a weekend and holiday struggling our narrow boat along the neglected waterways. During a poetry workshop with Jo Bell in 2013, I visited the top of a flight of locks in the centre of Wolverhampton and was taken aback by the fact that the water was crystal clear. Jo explained that there was a ‘stoppage’ caused by vandalism on the flight which meant that no boats had passed through for a while. I decided I wanted to write a poem about this anomaly so I jotted down a few thoughts.

 

We rescued

water from oil

bridge holes from mattresses

locks from shopping trolleys

propellers from wire

hulls from oil drums

walls from graffiti

tunnels from neglect

 

we rocked

we winched

we flushed

we towed

 

As well as a windlass

our tools a turfer,

magnet and wire cutters

 

 

First draft

 

 

We saved it

 

In Wolverhampton

fish take me by surprise

Looking down from Broad Street Bridge

then from the towpath edge

I need an explanation

for such unexpected clarity

a snap shot of

reeds, fish and sulky sediment

A vandal induced stoppage

 

We saved this water

from oil slick, effluent, blackened

polystyrene icebergs, mattress tangled

shopping trolleys, half inched bikes,

rusty poles which poked like Excalibur,

contents of living rooms tipped,

settees which could have been

sat on by drunks chucking beer bottles,

cans and dead animals,

polythene bags, oh the polythene bags.

 

This water

has no right to sparkle

We saved it to be stirred.

 

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Version 2 has a different title, is taking shape on the page, and personifies the water, a different way of recalling the past.

 

Listen to the water

 

In Wolverhampton

fish take me by surprise

 

Looking down from Broad Street Bridge

then from the towpath edge

 

I need an explanation

for such unexpected clarity

 

A long exposure of minnows,

lush reeds and sulky sediment

 

“It’s ironic,” says the cut water, “I have been cleansed

by a vandal induced stoppage.”

 

You saved me

from oil slick, effluent, blackened

polystyrene icebergs, mattress tangled

shopping trolleys, half inched bikes,

malicious metal spikes,

contents of living rooms tipped,

 

I was soap sud soup with beer bottle croutons

peppered with cans and the odd chunks of meat.

You saved me from polythene,

suffocation and extinction.

 

I fear the onset of duck weed.

I have no right to sparkle.

You saved me to be stirred.

 

 

 

Other titles I considered:

 

Water with a history

Save water

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Heather has been kind enough to let us see her finished poems. Follow the links; Histrionic water & Spaghetti hoops

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/inkspill-guest-writer-heather-wastie-histrionic-water/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/inkspill-guest-writer-heather-wastie-poetry-spaghetti-hoops/

INKSPILL Guest Writer Heather Wastie on Her Writing Journey

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Heather Wastie our Guest Writer has been kind enough to compile of list of what has happened to her on her writing journey, I find the personal stories about writing, it amazes me that there are so many differences, remember it takes time, keep believing!

Here’s Heather, ENJOY!

 

 

 

Heather Wastie headshot

 

My writing journey – some of the key factors and events up to 2014

Heather Wastie

  • As small child, made up songs at the piano, writing new words over the top of music I couldn’t read

  • Wrote my first poem, about the moon, at infants’ school

  • Carried on writing – at school and outside school

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  • Translated menus into Black Country dialect for Friends of the Black Country Museum annual dinners

  • Had articles published in local canal society newsletter

  • When I went to Sunday School, wrote mini musicals and produced them

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  • At University began a song-writing partnership with another student –mostly he wrote the music, then I wrote the lyrics

  • Entered Bard of the Year competition run by Poetry Digest, performing my own work from memory for the first time (published in anthology)

  • In one year, was published every month (bar one!) in Poetry Digest magazine.

  • Winner Poetry Digest Ina Carlyle Love Poetry Competition 1996 (published in anthology)

  • Poetry collection Until I Saw Your Foot published by Lapal Publications 1997

  • Edited 2 oral history books about people in the Black Country 1997-9

  • Self-published Poems of the Head in Dynamic Relation to F M Alexander 2007

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  • Entered my first poetry slam in Bilston

  • Through entering slams, began writing and memorising longer poems

  • Did well in slams but have only won one – PUREandGOODandRIGHT, Leamington 2010

  • Formed Brewers’ Troupe performance poetry company with Emma Purshouse, co-wrote, co-directed and performed site-specific piece SNUG in Hollybush pub, Cradley Heath 2010

  • Poetry collection The Page-Turner’s Dilemma published by Lapal

    © Peter Williams 2014
    © Peter Williams 2014
  • Publications 2010

  • 2011: Winner Apples & Snakes Jawdance Audio Poetry Competition;

  • Winner British Science Festival open mic competition with poem, The case of Sir Bernard Spilsbury; Shortlisted for Birmingham Poet Laureate;

  • 3rd place, Worcestershire Poet Laureate competition

  • Got ACE funding to be Writer in Residence Museum of Carpet 2013, writing poems, monologues and songs from oral history interviews

  • Created and performed Kidderminster Stuff show about Kidderminster and its carpet industry with singer/songwriter Kate Wragg 2013

  • Commissioned by Canal & River Trust to create audio piece Idle Women and Judies. Booked for live performances of the piece in canal museums.

  • Wrote and performed How do wars start? With Worcs Poet Laureate, Fergus McGonigal, funded by Kidderminster Arts Festival 2014

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLIC APOLOGY to Heather for the formatting – text was all consistent size in original document.