Tag Archives: Book to the Future Festival

October Review

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OCTOBER 2015 Review – Another great and busy month. We held our 3rd annual writing retreat INKSPILL, I worked on new poetry and current projects and performed all over the place. I even had a week off from performing and writing, to plan and prepare INKSPILL. It was also a month of Festivals, Swindon and Birmingham and I headlined in Cheltenham too. I also worked on two commissioned performances, one for National Poetry Day and the other for this evening, a Halloween Poetry Brothel!

WEEK 1

The month started in Swindon at Poetry Swindon Festival, tickets for which were only booked last minute a few weeks before.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/swindon-poetry-festival-2015/

It was a brilliant weekend, I performed as part of the 52 event, wrote new poetry in Jo Bell’s X-ray Spex workshop, met some great poets and writers and enjoyed performances from many poets including Kei Miller & David Clarke.

I also made it to Stirchley Speak, which, as always was a great night of poetry at the P Café, hosted  by Jess Davies.

WEEK 2

Then it was NATIONAL POETRY DAY on the 8th October, which is like a massive party day for any poet! NPD LIVE This year I celebrated by taking part in Heather Wastie’s Light and Shade event at the carpet museum in Kidderminster.

light shade NPD

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/national-poetry-day-light-shade-event-at-kidderminster-carpet-museum/

Suz Winspear and I were the touch of theatre, working on a commission from Heather to write poems about the carpet industry and incorporating Light and Shade into the proposed work. We then met with Heather and created our performance for the night – which took place in a narrow corridor, looking over the museum and the looms. An area that is not usually open to the public.

It was also Birmingham Literature Festival 8th – 17th October, I wasn’t able to get to as much as I wanted to this year, but what I managed was fantastic. BLFest  I felt blessed to see Rita Dove and it was great to see so many writing world friends too. I had tickets for other events on the last weekend of the festival, but a Writing group for WWM needed my assistance, so I missed those.

Short and Sweet: Short Fiction Salon

This was an event hosted by fiction writer and Heart Breakfast presenter Rachel New, Short & Sweet allows you to dip your toe into the water of live literature, and enjoy readings we select for you – including a story from Rachel herself written especially for this event.

Rachel New is a veteran of short fiction challenges – having survived two unusual residencies at Birmingham Literature Festivals past – Ten Day Sentence in 2013 and One Page Wonders in 2014. Both these experiences saw Rachel writing against the clock, responding to prompts from the wider festival audience and producing huge volumes of creative fiction. Rachel brings this expertise, as well as her ongoing PhD studies in creative writing, to the Short & Sweet arena for performances and discussion.

© 2015 Writing West Midlands

Rita Dove and Guests

We are delighted to welcome Rita Dove, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner, to give a rare poetry reading in the UK. A mesmerising performer, Rita Dove’s work covers a range of subjects, each of them addressed with wit and verve.

Her most recent poetry collections are Sonata Mulattica and American Smooth. She is editor of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry and is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Among her honours are the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton and the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, making her the only poet to ever receive both medals.

As a prelude to Rita Dove’s reading, we present three short poetry performances. Jo Bell, Canal Laureate, will be reading from her eagerly awaited new collection, Kith. She will be joined by Birmingham Young Poet Laureate 2014-15, Serena Arthur and by Oliver Sullivan, a young performer from the region who was runner up in this year’s Poetry by Heart Competition. 

Sponsored by the University of Birmingham.

© 2015 Writing West Midlands

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/birmingham-literature-festival-2015/

On 10th October it was also Claire walker’s book launch for the much awaited poetry pamphlet THE GIRL WHO GREW INTO A CROCODILE. It was a lovely evening celebrating the poetry of my talented friend! I would recommend this pamphlet published by V Press, highly indeed.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/marvellous-book-launch-the-girl-who-grew-into-a-crocodile-by-claire-walker/

claire w croc

WEEK 3

Was filled with open mics, headlines, book festivals, talks and workshops.

Leon Priestnall and the The Blue Dive headlined Mouth & Music, on the 13th October. mmoct It was a great night and I enjoyed myself immensely. There were some fab open mic-ers and great musicians and it was good to catch up with folk I have not seen in a while.

mmoct leon mmoct blue dive mmoct me PHOTO CREDIT © Peter Williams 2015

The next evening I took a trip out to Cheltenham where I was headlining for Sharon Larkin at The Poetry Café Refreshed. It was a lovely event at the interesting American Diner venue of Smokey Joe’s. I was able to promote the Restless Bones Anthology. I enjoyed hearing poetry from other performers including; Roger Turner, David Clarke, Gill Garrett, Miki Byrne, Michael Newman, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Angel Whitehorse & Sharon Larkin.

poetry cafe refreshed

This week also saw another festival. The Book to the Future Festival, UoB, University of Birmingham has always been scheduled for after the Birmingham Literature Festival, this year they over lapped. The following evening I performed at Phenomenal Women, in the Costa Café on site at Birmingham University. This event was organised by Jan Watts and was my 3rd year taking part and I think it was the best one yet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

book to the future b2tf group b2tf jan

The region’s top female poets, including University of Birmingham alumna Jan Watts (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011/12), Nina Lewis, Jackie Smallridge (Scrubber Jack) & Andrea Smith.

I went back to University and the Book to the Future Festival the next day (Friday 16th October) for a talk and a workshop.

Making a living from writing narinder

Narinder Dhami is best known for her books Bollywood Babes, Bend it Like Beckham and young adult reads such as Bang Bang You’re Dead.

It was a good talk that confirmed lots I knew already, I made copious notes and it sounds like I am on the right track. Always good to find this out.

Then I went to Jacqui Rowe’s workshop at the Barber Institute. I have wanted to take one of Jacqui’s workshops for over a year now, I was never available, until now. It was great and inspiring and has given me lots of poetry to work on.

Self and others – art and writing workshop

 BL RH jACQUI
Inspired by the Barber Institute’s Terms of Engagement exhibition, showcasing portraits from the University of Birmingham collection, join Jacqui Rowe to explore how we write about character.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/open-mics-guest-spots-book-festivals/

After this I went to a Stanza meeting, taking with me a poem I only had 30 minutes to write. It was a hectic week because I was also working my day job pretty much full time this week too.

On Saturday I had tickets for Birmingham Literature Festival, it was also the 2nd Session for WWM Young Writers. I had planned to manage the 30 mile trip after and it would have been a rush. I was asked to help assist the Junior group in the morning, so I had a whole day at The Hive Library. WWM PINK

thehiveworcsorg thehiveworcsorg

Our group has grown by a few as well, nearly in double figures which is great. I don’t think it was any wonder I needed a week off after this.

WEEK 4

I didn’t quite have a week off – I took a week off performing and writing poetry. I was working the day job and preparing for INKSPILL.

It was our 3rd Annual Online Writing Retreat and it was a great success and worth every minute of hard work. Thanks to our Guests Writers; Playwright – David Calcutt, Author/ Romance Novelist – Alison May and Poet -Daniel Sluman.

The links are still active to the weekend workshop that happened on 24th/25th October and you can take part at any point, let us know you are doing so with a like or a comment.

INKSPILL 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-active-programme/

Wednesday saw the first Halloween Spoken Word night at Drummonds 42 – where I was able to perform a freshly penned poem and another I had written a few hours before the event. Claire Walker also had a headline slot and it was great to hear her again. I love the pamphlet (I may have already mentioned this) but it is always superbly satisfying to hear a poet share their words in their own voice.

It was optional fancy dress, I used a spider theme. 42 42

Thursday I wrote some new poetry in a workshop and missed a launch of the Poetry Review Magazine as I was too tired to drive again after spending a couple of hours on the road already. This was a shame as one of the poets was Helen Mort, another Poet I am yet to meet and hear.

Last night I had a non-poetry belated birthday night outthink floyd
 with Mr G seeing a Pink Floyd tribute band.

 

TONIGHT I am taking part in the Poetry Brothel at the P Café, it is a SELL OUT.p cafe brothel
 There are 6 poets taking part – we applied earlier in the year, Poetry Brothels are big in Europe and despite my nerves I am looking forward to it. I will post in early November about tonight.

 

WORKSHOPS

Jo Bell

Jacqui Rowe

Angela France

Narinder Dhami – Talk

PERFORMANCES

Swindon Poetry Festival Performed at 52 Event

The Poetry Café Refreshed Headlined Cheltenham

Phenomenal Women – with Jan watts Book to the Future Festival

Poetry Brothel – Caged Arts P Café

NPD Light & Shade Commission – Performed with Suz Winspear

OPEN MICS

Stirchley Speaks

Mouth & Music

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BOOK LAUNCH / EVENTS/ FESTIVALS

POETRY SWINDON FESTIVAL

Book Launch The Girl Who Grew Into A Crocodile Claire Walker – V Press Pamphlet, performed.

Birmingham Literature Festival

Book to the Future Festival

WWM assistant writer cover & Lead Writer for Senior Group, Worcester.

Stanza

INKSPILL – the 3rd FREE Online writing Retreat

03_DREAM_poster01_THINK04_ACT-poster05_SPEAK_poster

Open Mics, Guest Spots & Book Festivals

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This week has been a whirl! Alongside the daily slog to pay the mortgage – I have been a one woman poetry machine!

I spent Monday night writing and preparing set lists. Tuesday night I went to Mouth and Music, the musical headliners were called The Blue Dive and it is their name that gave us the BLUE theme this month.

mmoct

Many open options there for new material, sadly I have been so busy with other writing that I didn’t have the time to try. I do however have lots of poems that mention blue, are about blue things, I even have a gender poem (published by Silhouette Press HCE Boy Girl Issue in 2014) which is about the historical implications of blue – so with plenty to choose from, some poems that were written last year and never performed and all new to the M&M crowd, I built my set.

mm

I was looking forward to watching Leon’s set, Leon Priestnall headlined Hit The Ode last month and he slammed it there. I am glad he enjoyed performing in Kidderminster and had a good night. His performance was confident and he met Robert Francis (of Permission to Speak) so hopefully he will be delighting the Black Country soon too.

It was a great night and I enjoyed myself immensely. There were some fab open mic-ers and great musicians and it was good to catch up with folk I have not seen in a while.

mmoct blue dive

The Blue Dive

mmoct dave sutherland

Dave Sutherland

mmoct elena thomas

Elena Thomas

mmoct leon

Leon Priestnall

mmoct me

Nina Lewis

mmoct Mike

Mike Alma

Just some of the performers at Mouth & Music this week.

PHOTO CREDIT © Peter Williams 2015

Last night I went to The Poetry Café Refreshed in Cheltenham, a monthly event held at the Smokey Joe’s, organised by Sharon Larkin. Last night was hosted by Roger Turner and I was delighted to be the Guest Poet.

It was a real pleasure to hear poems from unfamiliar voices, I say that but I had already met some of the Cheltenham 52ers at Swindon and heard David Clarke perform there too. I really enjoyed myself and considering I was sitting there waiting to do my set, I didn’t feel too nervous and was able to focus on the poems. This is a testament to the relaxed atmosphere at this event.

I am glad my set went well and was well received, I was able to promote both poetry books/anthologies I am in and my up and coming pamphlet as well as giving INKSPILL a quick mention too. I had some in depth conversations with several people from the poems I had chosen to perform and even inspired, or triggered a memory at least, for Roger, who took his scribbles home and hopefully produced a poem. That result is a good night!

Performers included;

Roger Turner, David Clarke, Gill Garrett, Miki Byrne, Michael Newman, Michael Skaife d’Ingerthorpe, Angel Whitehorse & Sharon Larkin.

poetry cafe refreshed

And tonight… saw Phenomenal Women taking place for the 4th year running at the Book to the Future Festival at Birmingham University. This is the 3rd year I have performed at Jan Watt’s event and I think it was the best yet.

book to the future

It was a superb evening of poetry from an amazing collective of women and I think what I liked best were the brave poets who got up and shared their work, students who had come to watch and enjoy and hadn’t expected to be behind the mic. There poetry was vulnerable, edgy, deeply hypnotic and amazingly beautiful.

There were also top class performances from all the invited poets. Tonight people enjoyed a showcase from;

the region’s top female poets, including University of Birmingham alumna Jan Watts (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011/12), Nina Lewis, Jackie Smallridge (Scrubber Jack) & Andrea Smith.

b2tf me b2tf andrea

It was a pleasure to be part of such a great festival event held at the Costa Coffee, Student Centre, with generous payments of free medium drinks, after my coffee I treated myself to a strawberry and cream smoothie – which filled me up with sugary goodness and fuelled me home.

b2tf jan

b2tf Now I get to wake up and do it all again!

The Festival runs until the 17th and as it is funded the events are FREE! It is worth checking out the programme if you are local and booking something. I have treated myself to a MUCH NEEDED day off tomorrow and am going to a lecture in the morning and a workshop in the afternoon.

b2tf group

RELATED LINKS

http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/bttf

The Blank Screen – Productivity for Creative Writers Workshop

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1 birm 8 blank-screen

The Blank Screen – Productivity for Creative Writers – A workshop at ‘Book to the Future Festival’ with William Gallagher.

Rushing into the city last night I barely arrived on campus in time for William’s workshop, add 20 minutes wandering around in the dark and generally in the opposite direction to the Arts Building (and that was with a map I had the foresight to print!) I was rather late for this session and they were already on Point 5 …. fortunately I can email William today and not only get the notes but apologise for the late arrival and sharp exit … I was performing in Jan’s Phenomenal Women (see previous post)!

The-Blank-Screen-front-cover_small_web

I have found that in the last 2 workshops I haven’t learnt anything new (due to my own hard work researching and finding the information) – but they have confirmed that I am doing the right thing, that my own research and learning has taken me in the right direction. I am just as eager as I was at the beginning of the year to attend as many workshops as I can and hear from writers who are doing it for real.

My notebook gets filled with a few extra scribbled names or books to seek out if nothing else.

1birm8 William Gallagher is a great speaker and if you get a chance to attend any of his events or better still buy his book then I would recommend it. He has a humorous, relaxed approach and I wish I had managed the entire hour of his talk.

I have to retract the previous statement of not learning anything new – in the short amount of time I was in the workshop I have picked up on new knowledge. New actions that I am attempting to put into place this morning. Especially email… yes, William, I am one of those with 1600+ in an inbox and having opened several new accounts to offload the problem have only compacted it – with new addresses storing up to a 100 emails!

So thank you for your wisdom and insight. A great workshop!

Another Great Night Behind the Mic

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Last Thursday I ventured into the City to a Spoken Word event at the ORT café. 1 birm ort1

It was a fantastic evening, a great mix of performers – stand up, music, monologues, story telling and of course, poetry.

It was also my 3rd return to life behind the mic. The atmosphere was wonderful and the audience very receptive. Somewhere between the first poem and the end of my set I found my confidence … nerves vanished and in an almost out of body experience way I heard the voice of a lioness come from deep within. 1 birm ort yelp

That performance poet who has sat on a shelf gathering dust since 1998, reappeared! It went really well and I received positive feedback.

As if the night couldn’t get any better… I had a chance to speak to other performers and met Tessa Lowe, a fellow poet who told me about a festival at the university, which I hadn’t come across. It is the first year they’re attempting it and advertising isn’t as widely posted as many other local events. (They could have ridden on the coat tails of Birmingham Literature Festival, I will email the organisers with ideas for next year as far as promotion and marketing – although I suppose the faculty has a limited budget!)

 

1birm 7 1birm4

Last night I ventured back into the City, walked around campus feeling my old student spirit rise to the surface. That home within a home feel that I never really felt when I was studying for degrees, but 14 years into the real world, campus is a safe place I yearn to belong to.1 birm 8

I was attending several events as part of ‘Book to the Future’ festival created by and mainly for the 1 birm uni2

I had heard of Jan Watts 1birm9 as she was poet Laureate a few years ago. I had also heard of ‘Phenomenal Women’… A group of talented female (as the name suggests) writers/ poets.

After searching the web for a while1 birm3 I found the festival programme and read that Jan was interested in hearing from other performers. I dropped her an email, along with Andrew Kileen and Katharine D’Souza whose events I had missed over the weekend.

Before lunch my 4th performance this month was confirmed.

 

 

Even the hot flushes of nerves seemed to have diminished by this evening, although they may have been helped by the open window! And the familiar environment of a lecture hall.

It was a great night with some fantastic performances. Inspiring. I read many more poems that I had planned, as we all got a second bite of the Apple. I also found out that the theme was family – none of us knew that… Not many of us connected our material…. I opened with a poem I had just scribbled whilst Jan introduced the evening. It was about and for my great aunty Sheila who celebrated her birthday with us on Sunday but whose actual birthday was Monday.

I opened my set with this poem.1 scottish poet

 

Great night, next gig is Wednesday!