Tag Archives: literature festival

Hay Festival Goes Digital



I have had the pleasure of attending online festivals since Lockdown began and I haven’t managed a timely blogpost for any of them. You will note that Hay events started on the 18th with the schools programme – the full programme is available and tickets for all events are FREE. You can watch missed events for 24 hours and after that pay a small fee to watch on Hay Player.

For those of us who have experienced it for real, it is not the same – however it has opened it up to a wider amount of global audiences and it is wonderful that access is free.


HAY culturewhisper

© Culturewhisper

Here is more information: Source hayfestival.com


Hay Festival Digital #imaginetheworld runs 18–22 May with our Programme for Schools featuring fabulous authors including Cressida CowellPatrice Lawrence and Onjali Q Rauf. From 22–31 May, Hay Festival Digital takes place online with interactive events from more than 100 award-winning writers, global policy makers, historians, pioneers and innovators, celebrating the best new fiction and non-fiction, and interrogating some of the biggest issues of our time.

Attending Hay Festival Digital 2020 online is completely free and couldn’t be easier. Simply browse the programme below as you normally would and, if an event interests you, click the Register link to save your spot. Your virtual seat will be confirmed by email, and we will even email you again ten minutes before the show to remind you the event is about to start. You can chat with other audience members and ask questions of the speakers, just as you would at a real Hay Festival event.

Here’s more information on how to register

All our events take place at the BST advertised. If you are accessing from a different time zone it will still be possible to replay for free up to 24 hours after the event. Following this all events will be available on Hay Player.



Resting, Writing and Working


I have decided after all the buzz of WLF (Literature Festival) I would take some time off events this week. rest thai

We are close to Summer – just 3 weeks and a day, left at work and I am pretty much taking on work full time. I need the energy for the day job – can’t wait to get into the summer writing projects though and days and days of artistic freedom.

There are events all over this week but I am resting until the weekend. I also have swollen glands so best to keep voice use to the minimum – day job.

I have been busy writing since my writing day yesterday, typewriter admin is all up to date and I have the next week’s assignments all mapped out. Fitting in around everything else I have to achieve. I have written 4 new poems all for submission pieces. I have two more that are building up to being something (I have 3 weeks to work on those). I had to proof my poem for the latest edition of Hark Magazine, harkJuly issue.

I am getting excited about working with the Poetry Army poetryarmy in less than a fortnight and making it to Ledbury Poetry Festival before then. There was a tempting offer last night involving one of the late night events but I decided not to volunteer (despite the temptation of accommodation, travel expenses and tickets) as it was an event after midnight – it wasn’t facilitating the event which worried me – more organisation of the food and refreshments. Another time maybe. I am still hoping to make it and catch a few performances this weekend.

I am also trying to write one or two short stories, I have less than 2 weeks to complete – so I might save them for something else if they aren’t quite ready. My next writing day was Friday but I have accepted some more work so now I have just half a day to work through the projects.

I need to re-energise and work on my writing and find that I have plenty of time for both after work if I am not trying to make it to events as well!


And on that note – bed calls! Be gentle on yourselves – seek balance – inspiration doesn’t work on an empty tank.


The Launch of the Literature Festival


If you have been reading the blog lately you will have realised that I have had a busy fortnight (10 days) with my first Literature Festival of the year! (Despite having noted Literature festivals on a calendar in the Spring.)

blf logo

I had hoped to post live the daily feed from the festival events and successes. The laptop mouse control put pay to that… but we are back online with a shiny new USB mouse, very well behaved balanced on the armchair arm for most of the time. (I keep trying to use the laptop one and then I remember the new one next to me! Shhhhh, don’t tell him, he might stop working as well!)

My photos were taken from a smart phone with intention of atmosphere rather than clarity and (as with the rest of the photos on the blog) I own the copyright.


The Launch

The launch night of the festival was a great atmosphere to revel in. I have missed most Literature Festivals I planned to go to this year, so I was happy not to miss one held so locally.

lit2 The launch night was also an opportunity to watch performances from the current Poet Laureate Stephen Morrison-Burke and find out who had won the coveted position of City Laureate for 2013/14. Congratulations to Joanna Skelt.lib9

They also announced the Young Poet Laureate – a title I wish they had awarded when I was younger. Congratulations to Lauren Williams. lit

I went alone, but as I have heard a few times in the past week… the poetry world is a small one and I soon bumped into people I had met at Sarah Leavesley’s book launch (back in September).


As it was National Poetry Day I was delighted to be at a poetry event and I hadn’t been to the new library since it opened, I treated myself to a tour and a browse. Loved it, so new, shiny and exciting… sometimes I have struggled with library modernisation, loved the lib5old system of tickets and stamps, but this new space is incredible and despite size and modern interior, still feels welcoming.

I spent time in the rivers and oceans book areas making a pictorial record for my National Poetry Day effort, the theme was ‘water’.

You can see my poem here

I had another adventure returning to my car, I tripped over on a cobbled street, falling face first onto all fours, trying to catch my glasses, I threw my handbag and all the papers to the floor… a nasty gash on my knee that still hurts and jarred shoulders.

Which was a great shame as I had an epically brilliant night!

Back in the Fountain – On writing and Catching Up


I am home from work early and for the 1st time in over a fortnight I have time to write! Back in my poetry skin, trying to find a level balance for my soul. I am trying to produce new work for Friday night and sort out my open mic material for next week, as well as checking all the missing links from my writing action plan after not being online!

AWF Writer banner

Due to the laptop mouse dying a death and Mr G having to order a new one (thanks for surplus money in the billing account!) I have fallen way behind on posts.

October has been a truly active month for me – maybe the most active so far. I finally made it to a Literature Festival, performed open mic for the 1st time in 15years, booked two more open mics one for the end of October and one for November, wrote, attended workshops and bought more ‘Writing’ books and poetry books.


In addition my paperwork having finally been collated and paid for (took 4 weeks) I was able to start teaching on supply. For what is commonly called the ‘dead’ term, where work is scarce I have done okay by one of the agencies. I managed to get a PPA role that secures 4 days a month, this guarantees mortgage payments and in addition to these days I have managed 1- 3 more a week on top. This month I will have made the same as I made in the part time position I had before the summer, which kept me busy 5 days a week and over weekends too.

This is a great success and a weight off my mind.


I have got to grips with balancing this dual life of poet and teacher (note which comes first!) and I am loving the freedom, creativity, positivity I gain from this change I have risked making! Let’s hope it is always this good or better.

I am posting missing threads about the seminars, performances and experiences of recent weeks separately and then linking them back up here;

The Other Side of Chaos Seminar – Margaret Silf

Birmingham Literature Festival – Launch and Laureates

Birmingham Literature Festival – BBC Radio 4 Poetry Please

Birmingham Literature Festival – Art in the Heart Book Launch Ikon Gallery

Birmingham Literature Festival – Benjamin Zephaniah Film Screening To Do Wid’ Me

Birmingham Literature Festival – Postcard Poets

Birmingham Literature Festival – Jane Commane Workshop



Worcester Literature Festival WLF –

Birmingham Literature Festival –

Birmingham Literature Festival –

Have fun reading the catch up, it has ironically been one of the busiest periods this year and I couldn’t blog about it in real time as I had hoped!

It’s great to be back, splashing around in the fountain!

I am in Love… with my NEW Life!


Oh my goodness, I am so happy. Everything is falling into place.

I have so many blog posts to write tonight… I still need to tell you all about the Margaret Silf seminar, my wonderful Sunday at the Literature Festival including chats with Roger McGough and Jo Bell, amongst others. New discoveries I have made (in the world of writing) -I am not going to bore you with my new discovery of how choc-ca-block the main roads are before 8a.m, or how much my ankles hurt after being on my feet all day! New purchases (or treats) I have made … buying those glossy magazines really broke the spending seal on my purse. 😉

I have been booked for three days work this week – and due to the heavy traffic (not mentioned as a new discovery above) I made it to work by the skin of my contractual time teeth! Only to discover that they had already covered my position… no fear, there are always options in these situations… and my reward…. I have spent the whole day in Nursery with 3 and 4 year olds, hence the aching ankles (also not mentioned as an new discovery) making yourself 2 feet tall by stooping down all day is no mean feat – and due to my Lit Fest knee injury (acquired when I fell over after the launch) I found using my knees a painful experience. I learnt many moons ago wincing in front of little children is not a good idea and tends to send them into panicked concern.

I had a lovely day (even if I have only just got rid of the pink paint!) and they wanted me back tomorrow – I would have loved that, but Tuesday’s are already covered by my 1 day a week part time position. Spending a second day with Nursery would have been amazing. Especially as now I have discovered a back road route and I know all of their names. Never-mind, some time in the future perhaps.

I got home to find that Mr G had bought 2 more beautiful flowering plants for the garden (my memory of Latin is no good – so I will have to check the labels and add the names in!) He spent all afternoon sorting out the big porcelain sinks we have for bedding plants yesterday whilst I was enjoying myself with words and poets and radio recordings. Tonight we spent an hour planting more bulbs and shrubs, It will look amazing when it all flowers in the spring – can’t wait to share photos.

Here is one of the pots of compost and bulbs. (upload to come)

Tonight I have an A5 list (yes I have reverted back to paper) of things I have to do – including getting activities ready for tomorrow and parking/ directions for the evening (next instalment of the Lit Fest, a book launch at the gallery.) So I am now going to go and do as much as I can and hope to have time to add all those exciting posts before bed.

How has your Monday been?

Radio Four Poetry Please


I am excited about returning to the City Literature Festival this afternoon for another dose of Poetry. I am watching some Radio 4 programmes being recorded. lib5 There are two editions of Poetry Please, a special edition of With Great Pleasure with Paul Farley, and a recording of The Echo Chamber.

We are delighted to welcome three wonderful BBC Radio literature programmes to the Birmingham Literature Festival. Join us for recordings of two editions of Poetry Please, a special edition of With Great Pleasure with Paul Farley, and a recording of The Echo Chamber.

Presented by Roger McGough

Roger McGough Poetry Please Roger McGough introduces poems inspired by the canals and waterways. Including readings of poems commissioned from poet Jo Bell, the UK’s first Canal Laureate, and from poets Liz Berry and Paul Farley.

In our second edition of Poetry Please, Roger McGough introduces a rattlebag of poems requested by listeners of Poetry Please.

These editions of Poetry Please will be recorded for broadcast in October on Radio 4.

With Great Pleasure & The Echo Chamber

With Paul Farley

Paul Farley Echo Chamber Poet Paul Farley talks movingly about the poetry and prose that has accompanied him through his life. This edition of With Great Pleasure will be recorded for broadcast in January 2014.Following With Great Pleasure, poet Paul Farley will be recording features for a future edition of BBC Radio Four’s contemporary poetry programme, The Echo Chamber.


Literature Festival Launched


lit7 It was lovely to be at the launch this evening at the NEW library in the City. It was a wonderful evening and I enjoyed great performances by the former Poet Laureate –lit2 Stephen Morrison-Burke.

This year congratulations go to Jo Skelt, lib9 who also treated us to some of her poems!

After which I spent an hour or so visiting the new library, taking photos and working on my National Poetry Day Water poem!


The Universe Conspires – Literature Festivals, Tickets and Shelves


inkspill with stars After stepping back into my writing skin yesterday I was delighted to receive ‘writing related’ post too! A brochure for a Literature Festival. I eagerly read the entire programme, folding the corners of the pages to mark the events I was most interested in attending.

Then that little voice in the back of my head chirped up. I had set aside my slimming club money this year (I can do it by myself if I really try) to cover the cost of all workshops and writing classes. Especially necessary after starting to work part time for the first time in 16 years! Not to mention the 1.5 mortgages (oppps, I just did!) This budget was blown by May when I booked my final classes with Clare Belle. I was beginning to resign myself to the panic that even the wonderful free events would not be free after travelling to the city… when my angel stepped in and banished the voice of madness, inkspill Freereminding me I have just had £50 birthday money and that I no longer want to buy ‘things’… after years of decluttering enough is enough. The stockpile in this house will be used – enabling a frugal existence until I start to earn. The last thing I want to do is restock it!

I have decided to spend my birthday money on a workshop in the middle of October – a seasonal ‘pick me up’ before running our own Writing Retreat – AWF Banner

I also found an interesting show around Christmas time – beats a pantomime hands down.

After yesterday’s online banking fiasco I attempted to book all my festival tickets onlineadmission-ticket-icon… to no avail…. tried twice. My card was declined. (Annoying when you know there are funds available!) I ended up calling the box office – I tried them earlier on this morning and was just held in a queue of two, until I lost patience with the repeated message and hung up! This time at least I was number 1 in the queue – I went through the 9 events I am trying to book tickets for and in the end…. my card was declined. I think it was to do with addresses. I tried my old one, it still didn’t work. Miffed I opted to send a cheque (got to find my cheque book) but at least this wavers the £1.00 booking fee…. see I am an expert in frugal already! imagesCAJBX1JQ

On the writing front I am keeping the passion of yesterday alive and plan to write (offline) this evening. I have shelved the comedy scriptwriting after finding out there was an expensive registration fee – three days is not long enough to develop performance writing, however – the ideas are not wasted and will be recycled and prepared as a script ready for next year – where I am sure I can find places to fit it. type

I realised yesterday that this year I have built up a body of work – most of which hasn’t made it past the editor but could feed in elsewhere or may even be highly suitable for another publication. I need to get organised. Mr G and I have spent the day sending messages backwards and forwards regarding furniture purchases for storage (the exciting life we lead…. I am still loving it and the novel value!) and on my quest for the perfect pieces I came across an amazing invention. I have never seen one before.

A bookcase designed to hold lever arch files and folders in there own cubby hole spaces! So tidy and PERFECT for writers, teachers, coaches, workshop facilitators, tutors and people like me who are all of the listed. We may even have room for the ‘Home ‘ files in there too.

I know where my 1st pay cheque is going!

Happy writing AWF 2013