Tuesday, 29 May 2012

‘The Queen’
By Richard Brassey
Published by Orion Books on 5th April 2012
RRP £4.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9781444001273
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

This is a great little book, one I had a lot of fun reading with and without my daughter! It really reminds me of the Horrible Histories series, but it’s a much more friendly version, cram-packed with facts and brilliant illustrations. 

It’s ideal for primary school children who want to learn more about our monarch in an interesting, informative and entertaining way. After reading ‘The Queen’, readers will know much more about her from quirky facts, such as her grandfather’s nickname for her and her likes and dislikes, to historical facts, such as her family tree and how many Prime Ministers she’s seen during her reign.

My daughter really liked the illustrations and learnt from the book as we read it together. She now knows much more about the ‘lady on money and stamps’ and it’s great that she’ll be celebrating the Jubilee with an insight to Elizabeth II’s reign.

Whether you read this book in preparation for the Diamond Jubilee or after the event, it’s brilliant book that makes understanding our current monarchy much easier for children.
Richard Brassey has also written and illustrated other books about historical figures, such as Robin Hood, Elizabeth I and Henry VIII that you'll also enjoy. 'King Arthur' is out this summer too!

Highly recommended for readers aged 5+

Magma Poetry Competition 2012 is launched

Following the launch of the Magma Poetry Competition in 2011, Magma Poetry is delighted to announce that the competition will now run each year.

 This year's competition will open for entries on 16th October 2012, and as before the competition will have two contests.

 The Judge's Prize is for a poem of 11 to 80 lines. All poem entries of 11 to 80 lines will be entered for the Judges Prize which this year will be judged by award-winning poet Gillian Clarke.

The First Prize £500
Second Prize £200
Third Prize £100

The Editors' Prize celebrates the short poem and is open to poems of up to 10 lines. The Magma Editors' Prize reflects the magazine's unique rotating editorship and poems of up to 10 lines will be judged by a panel of Magma Editors who will select a variety of poems for 'special mentions' as well as choosing first and second prize winners.

First prize £500
Second Prize £200
plus 10 Special Mentions £10 each.

As part of the prize, all 15 winners will have their poems published in our Spring Issue 2013 and be invited to read alongside Gillian Clarke at Magma's prize-giving event early next year.

Here are some details: The entry period for poems opens on 16 October 2012 and closes on 16th December 2012. Entry fee is £5 per poem or £15 for four poems, except for Magma Poetry magazine subscribers who pay £3 per poem or £10 for four poems.

Full Rules are here, and information will be found on Magma's website at www.magmapoetry.com/competition.

 Magma is excited that its competition is now an annual event and the team on the Editors' Panel is looking forward to reading your 10-line poems, as well as receiving your poems of 11 to 80 lines for the Judge's Prizes. The entry period does not open until 16th October, so plenty of time for the poets among you to get some great poems written.

For further information please contact Magma directly at news@magmapoetry.com.

Literature Wales at Hay Festival 31st May to 10th June 2012 - Events

The Gwyn Jones Lecture:
Between Caradoc and Rachel by Jon Gower

Thursday 7th June 2012, 1.00 pm
Digital Stage at Hay Festival
Tickets £5.25
[Event 319]

The Welsh Academy, the Society of Writers which forms part of Literature Wales, has organised the Gwyn Jones lecture series for over a decade. The organisers are delighted to bring you another important lecture in this series, this time by short story writer, historian, novelist and publisher Jon Gower, a Welsh Academy fellow who grew up in Llanelli. Jon will focus on what's been going on in the Welsh short story during his lecture at this year’s festival.

To book tickets call the Hay Festival box office: 01497 822 629
or visit the Hay Festival website: http://www.hayfestival.com.
Literature Wales’ Writing Squads
workshops at Hay Festival 2012

A day of activities for members of the Young People’s Writing Squads will also take place on Thursday 7th June at Hay Festival. Welsh Academy member, Elen Caldecott will lead two workshop sessions with the Powys and Merthyr Tydfil Writing Squads. Elen writes contemporary adventure stories for children and young people that see ordinary people do extraordinary things. Her new book, 'The Mystery of Wickworth Manor' will be available in bookshops from July 2012.

For more information on Young People’s Writing Squads contact Literature Wales:
029 2047 2266 / post@literaturewales.org

Hay Festival Wales
Imagine the world

Thursday 31st May – Sunday 10th June
Hay on Wye

For 25 years Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders. Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. Hay now runs 13 festivals across five continents at which the re-imaginings of international writers gathered together, cross cultural and genre boundaries, and foster the exchange of understanding, mutual respect and ideas.

The Telegraph Hay Festival 2012 will host over 750 events, from literature to philosophy, music to science, history to humour and everything in between. Legendary conductor Simon Rattle will be in conversation with the BBC’s Tom Service; Tim Minchin talks to The Telegraph’s Sarah Crompton; Tom Watson and Martin Hickman discuss hacking with Helena Kennedy; and Maryam d'Abo and Hugh Hudson talk to Paul Broks about their film Rupture.

In celebration of the festival’s silver jubilee, festival director Peter Florence will launch Hay 25, a playful questionnaire for the festival audience set to reveal the way we live now.  Twenty five questions – ranging from ‘what makes you laugh?’ to ‘what piece of writing has most changed your heart and mind?’ – have been set by a panel including Stephen Fry, Margaret Atwood, Jung Chang, Eric Hobsbawm, Laura Restrepo and Jeanette Winterson.

Hay Fever, the Hay Festival's programme for children and families, is back with a bang and ready to party in the spring sunshine. With over 200 events and activities, children of all ages can fuel their imaginations for the whole nine days of the summer half-term. For younger children, Justin Fletcher star of CBeebies brings jokes and songs for his live show and Hay Fever are celebrating Fireman Sam's 25th birthday as well as their own. There are events with Matt Haig, Lauren St John, Marcus Sedgwick, Cressida Cowell and Tony Robinson. Hay’s teen programme HF2 features music, master classes, Melvin Burgess, Russell Kane and Maggie Stiefvater.

On Thursday 7th June festival goers will also have the chance to hear Young People’s Laureate for Wales, Catherine Fisher, discuss her bestselling novel Incarceron with fellow authors Lindsey Barraclough and Michelle Harrison [Event HF114].

For more information on the Hay Festival and to book tickets, visit the festival website: http://www.hayfestival.com.


Thursday 31st May - Sunday 10th June
Hay On Wye

HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, is back in the glorious setting of Hay on Wye.

Produced by the Institute of Art and Ideas and held annually, HowTheLightGetsIn brings together philosophers, writers, musicians, politicians, artists and commentators for thought-provoking debate, incisive solo talks, film screenings, live performance, infectiously danceable music and lively parties.

The talks programme this year will explore the 2012 theme 'Uncharted Territories: Progress for a new era', and the music programme, Festival Live, now covers six stages with bands, singers and acoustic artists along with comedy, cabaret, film showings and even live art.

This year’s festival is set to be bigger than ever before, with no fewer than 410 events, 6 stages, 165 speakers and 150 bands. The spectacular line up includes: Michael Eavis, Nigel Lawson, Luce Irigaray, Brian Eno, Michael Nyman, Tim Crane, David Blunket, Emmy the Great, Anne Pigalle, Gabby Young, Dan Le Sac, Polly Higgins, Bjorn Lomborg, James Lovelock, Man Like Me, Shona Foster, Kites and many more.

Hay Poetry Jamboree

Thursday 7th - Saturday 9th June
Oriel Gallery of Contemporary Arts
Salem Chapel, Bell Bank, Hay on Wye
Entrance to 7.30 pm events £5.00 / £3.00 concessions
All other events £2.00 / £1.00 concessions

The Hay Poetry Jamboree returns in 2012 with another packed programme of events:

Thursday 7th June

6.30 - 7.30 pm: Festival Launch Reception
7.30 - 9.15 pm: Andrea Brady and John Powell Ward

Friday 8th June

11.00 am - 12.00 noon: Jeremy Hilton, Steven Hitchins and Waterloo Press present Simon Jenner & David Pollard
2.00 - 4.00 pm: Caroline Goodwin, Harry Gilonis, Laurie Duggan and Philip Terry
5.00 - 6.00 pm: Andrew Duncan Lecture - "Port of Souls; or, Landscape, Inheritance, Myth"
7.30 - 9.15 pm: Harriet Tarlo and Peter Larkin

Saturday 9th June

11.00 am - 12.00 noon: David Greenslade and Keith Hackwood
2.00 - 4.00 pm: Nerys Williams, Tim Atkins, Sophie Robinson and Jeff Hilson
7.30 - 9.15 pm: Ulli Freer and Tony Lopez

Plus: Art in the chapel, Nervous Energy in collaboration with Elysium Gallery presents From Womb to Tomb, From Paradise to Purgatory.

For more information and bookings contact:
goodbard@yahoo.co.uk or goby-goodby@ntlworld.com

Supported by Literature Wales, Waterloo Press,  Poetry Wales,
Swansea University College of Arts & Humanities and CREW
By Samantha Wynne-Rydderch
Published by Picador Poetry on the 7th June 2012
RRP £9.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9780330544665

While Banjo opens with a clutch of fine lyrics, elegies and set-pieces, at the heart of Samantha Wynne-Rydderch’s new book is a remarkable tale of darkness and light, music and silence. Celebrating the centenary of Captain Scott’s arrival at the South Pole in 1912, Banjo gives us new psychological insight into the lives of the early Antarctic pioneers, as well as an extraoridinary account of the role played by music in surviving the long Antarctic winters. Banjo is Samantha Wynne-Rydderch’s most accomplished collection to date, and further evidence of a writer of great imaginative versatility.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

‘Department 19’
By Will Hill
Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books
RRP £6.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9780007354467

In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised – and they're not wooden anymore.

When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency.

Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against …

A thrill-packed, horror story that is most definitely worth your time to read, that is if you can handle the horror, action, the battle of good vs evil …

Recommended for ages 13+

Brighton Festival's Vibrant Visual Event led by artist David Bachelor

HOUSE Festival 2012

Across Brighton & Hove; Phoenix Brighton Regency Town
House, University of Brighton
Exhibition Dates: 5th – 27th May 2012
Guest Curator: Celia Davies
Lead Artist: David Batchelor

Prominent contemporary artist David Batchelor, along with Tim Brown & Anna Deamer,

Robin Blackledge, Deb Bowness, Caroline Le Breton, Helene Kazan to alter Brighton’s artistic landscape in its annual visual art festival.

HOUSE 2012 has announced a major commission and exhibition David Batchelor’s work. Batchelor as lead artist, influences the selection and development of 5 smaller satellite commissions that make up HOUSE Festival 2012. With significant funding from Arts Council England, HOUSE 2012 promises to be the most ambitious visual arts festival in the city to date.

Working in and beyond the gallery walls, HOUSE 2012 presents a carefully curated exhibition of international artist David Batchelor’s work, alongside 5 new commissioning opportunities developed by HOUSE. Collectively, these projects artists will make interventions on the streets of Brighton over the month of May, exploring themes of domesticity, the urban and everyday, bringing attention to the overlooked and ordinary. Artwork will be positioned in Phoenix Gallery, domestic spaces, artist studios and unexpected locations across Brighton & Hove.

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, South East, which is supporting HOUSE 2012 with more than £90,000 in funding, said: ‘We are very proud and excited to be supporting HOUSE 2012. This year’s programme, with its association with renowned British artist David Batchelor, represents a significant leap for the organisation and for the visual arts in Brighton. HOUSE 2012 will resonate for many people: the theme of domesticity provokes us to think afresh about the everyday and commonplace; and the sitting of commissioned work in the streets and public spaces will reach new audiences both within and beyond the gallery walls. Creating new ways for people to experience the
arts lies at the heart of The Arts Council’s mission and our support for HOUSE recognises that exciting potential.’

Internationally and critically acclaimed British artist David Batchelor is lead artist for HOUSE 2012 and will exhibit his largest presentation of artwork in this country yet, with several new commissions, including a major new co-commission in conjunction with Brighton Festival. Fittingly for a vibrant coastal town, Batchelor is primarily concerned with colour within the urban environment. For HOUSE 2012 he draws connections between Sicilian street festival decoration and the vernacular of Brighton’s infamous Regency architecture. For many years Batchelor has looked to the streets for inspiration. Using everyday objects of the modern urban environment – from salvaged light boxes to neon signage – his works celebrate the ordinary, the lurid and trashy while being in themselves mesmerizingly beautiful. His latest site specific installation draws on traditional festival decorations encountered in Palermo will be presented at Hove’s Regency Town House – a grade 1 listed terraced House undergoing major restoration. Palermo Remix makes a point of connection between the artist’s current
fascination with festival illumination and the building’s architectural period details, where Regency details feature in decorative motifs. It also plays on the idea of the public and domestic, the familiar and overlooked and touches on the famed hedonism of the city’s Regency past. Alongside these new commissions a selection of work is to be sensitively sited in the Regency Town House basement, an extraordinary domestic setting, that still echoes its past, in a warren of servants quarters and rooms. Here Batchelor’s work will have interplay with the character of its surrounding environment, providing moments of both subtlety and brilliance.

The 5 satellite commissions draw on the idea of the domestic, overlooked and everyday and are related to Batchelor’s work. They are developed to be shown in and around the city.

White Blob

Since HOUSE festival began in 2009, this curated and programmed festival – originally partner to Artists Open Houses has established itself as a trailblazing annual event. Taking place across sites within the city, an interest in the threshold between private and public space is inherent to the character of HOUSE.

David Batchelor

Underlining a practice primarily concerned with colour in the urban environment, Batchelor’s critical concern is with how we see and respond to colour in an advanced technological age. Working with everyday items with a range of light-industrial materials: steel shelving, commercial light boxes and neon tubing, Batchelor produces installations which at once celebrate the lurid and the ordinary.

Other HOUSE 2012 Commissions:

Tim Brown & Anna Deamer

CINECITY Director and artists and production designers Tim Brown & Anna Deamer, will present a visual adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s darkly comical novel, Hangover Square.

Emulating the hallucinatory quality of the book, full-scale recreations of two domestic interiors will mimic pivotal and memorable Brighton scenes within the novel. Two contrasting domestic rooms, a smart Brighton hotel and a climatic crime scene complete with audio sound-scape will be situated in the main gallery spaces at Brighton University in Grand Parade. Full of period details, this immersive installation offers connections and clues to reconnect with the literary masterpiece anew.

Robin Blackledge

Robin Blackledge is an artist who repositions domestic, functional consumer packaging as aesthetic consumer totems. Inspired by mass produced packaging products that occur in our everyday lives, Blackledge recasts from plastic food packaging in concrete; rendering purely functional objects as works of art. The resulting beguiling totemic structures will be displayed in his studio, found in unexpected places in the street and at Phoenix Gallery.

Deb Bowness

Deb Bowness bridges illusionary interior design and fine art. Using wallpaper as a means to furnish Brighton’s iconic streets, Bowness will create a paper trail across the city of small and surprising Trompe-l'œil interventions to explore domestic displacement. Bowness will investigate pictorial space within space with everyday and abandoned items.

Helene Kazan

Lebanese artist, Helene Kazan will debut her film and related installation, Masking Tape Light Intervention: Lebanon 1989, for HOUSE 2012. Generated from single archive photograph of the domestic kitchen of a house she once lived in Beirut, Kazan has montaged 1680 images into a four-minute stop frame animation. Taken at a decisive violent point of conflict in Beirut in April 1989, the film runs politically charged implications alongside the mundane of the domestic space, in a very personal account of the home as shelter.

Caroline Le Breton

Caroline Le Breton will make a political response to the theme of HOUSE 2012. Counter to a house representing security, Le Breton will imply financial instability through an installation that brings domestic anxiety, outside. Bringing the inside outside, large, room sized carpets, become sculptural interventions on a green in central Brighton. Stenciled and cut out by the artist, the carpet templates will feature a key message from the artist for all who pass to read. Once the carpet has been sited for a few weeks on the grass, the carpet will be lifted. Underneath each stencil, the grass will die, leaving each powerful statement to remain on the grass once the carpets are removed.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Platform: New fiction by North East writers

Tynemouth Station: Monday 4th June, 11am-4pm

Platform is a book of eight short stories with Tynemouth station at their heart which has been created by North Tyneside Council and New Writing North to commemorate the renovation of Tynemouth Metro. The stories have been specially commissioned from writers Sean O’Brien, Kitty Fitzgerald, Anne Liddon, Sheree Mack, Rob Walton, Pauline Plummer, Noreen Rees and Richard Rippon. 

From Saturday 19th May, The Journal will be publishing the stories each week in their usual short story slot. Pick up your copy of the book either at the launch on 4th June, when you can also meet some of the authors and get your book signed, or in libraries across North Tyneside after 4th June.

The Story of Lovers Rock - Event in Leicester

V Jay Theatre Productions in conjunction with African Caribbean Centre in Leicester presents the film 'The Story of Lovers Rock' showing at 4pm and 8pm, Saturday 2nd June 2012, After Party 10pm-1am.
- Special Guest -
The Story of Lovers Rock is a documentary film that tells the story of how “Lovers Rock” music defined a generation in the late 70s and 80s hugely impacting on British Pop Culture. The film which was released in cinemas across the UK in 2011, it was produced and directed by award winning director/producer Menelik Shabazz; this marks a return after a 30-year absence.
*** Buy tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment!! ***
For more information visit www.vjaytheatre.net/events/ 
Booking tickets from V Jay Theatre Productions tel 07786 853232
- Also Tickets available from OUTLETS below -
Kala Bash (African Caribbean Centre) 
Tel 07933 520 599

Cecelia’s Hair Styling For Men & Women

(10 Eveington Road)
Tel 0116 254 2661

Excellence! Hair by Mondella
(37 Sparkenhoe Street)
Tel 0116 221 0300

Stabana’s Cultural Products
(119 Charles Street)
Tel 0116 251 4393

Chaplins Hair Couteau
(71 Braunstone Gate)

Tel 0116 222 3680

Dinefwr Literature Festival - Info from the Organisers

Full music line-up confirmed for
Dinefwr Literature Festival




Friday 29th June – Sunday 1st July


Super Furry Animals’ front man Gruff Rhys and Julian Cope are joined by a stellar line-up of established artists and up-and-coming talent at the inaugural Dinefwr Literature Festival – to be held at the National Trust’s historic property in the heart of Carmarthenshire, west Wales this summer.

Gruff Rhys / Credit: Mark James
Included on the bill for this three-day bilingual festival is singer-songwriter Emmy the Great; the Mercury Music Prize-nominated producer and singer Ghostpoet, and The Staves, three sisters from Watford, fresh from supporting Bon Iver’s US tour.

Unique to the Dinefwr Literature Festival is a packed programme of home-grown musical talent including
Georgia Ruth, singer and harpist, recently voted Best Female Artist of the Year by Radio Cymru; Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, three brothers raised in north-west Wales who have topped the Welsh language charts; Jodie Marie, the hotly-tipped twenty-year-old from Pembrokeshire recently signed to Decca, and the irrepressible Mr Phormula, the Welsh beatboxer, rapper, producer and BBC Radio 1 regular.  Also performing is the blues singer and poet Steve Eaves who writes and performs exclusively in the Welsh language.
     Jodie Marie / Credit: Jenny Zarins                  Ghostpoet / Credit: Ashley Bingham     
The cultural collective Caught by the River will be delivering a mix of talks and music throughout the weekend.  Guests include: The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess who will be reading from his recently published autobiography, Telling Stories; Pat Long talking about the History of the NME which examines British indie and underground media and rock culture since the Second World War and Richard King will be talking about his book, How Soon Is Now, a landmark survey of the record labels that make up the backbone of the independent music industry. They are joined by Jeb Loy Nichols, an award-winning musician, writer and artist living and working in mid Wales, whom Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the ‘high priest of country cool.’
In Chapters, the Cardiff-based music and literary revue, will be hosting a special nature-themed event led by Richard James, (once of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) and writer John Williams (author of the Cardiff Trilogy, biographer of Shirley Bassey). The In Chapters band will also be performing as part of this event, featuring the all-star cast of Eugene Capper, Ed Mugford, the esteemed producer Iwan Morgan, Rhodri Viney and Richard James himself.

Brautigan Book Club / Credit: Lucy Pawlak
As well as headlining on Friday night, Gruff Rhys joins H. Hawkline and Martin Carr in a rare collaboration at the Brautigan Book Club’s Saturday night event. Together they will be performing The Brautigan Suite, a selection of new songs created in celebration of the American Beat writer and counterculture icon Richard Brautigan.
Another exciting discussion will be on ‘Datblygu and the Welsh Music Scene’, to coincide with Datblygu’s thirtieth birthday celebration this year. One of John Peel’s favourite Welsh bands, the experimental pop duo influenced a wave of new Welsh artists during the 80s and 90s. The panel will include the award-winning producer Dyl Mei, ex NME writer Iestyn George and Datblygu film maker Owain Llŷr.
The live music for this year’s festival is curated by SŴN’s John Rostron and BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, who together promote music in Wales. With its dedicated camping field, outdoor entertainment, stalls and excellent local food, the festival promises an eclectic mix of high quality literature, comedy, visual arts and music in celebration of the written word and the mythical landscape of Dinefwr Park and Castle.
For the full line-up of music, literature, comedy, theatre and events for children
visit the festival website: www.dinefwrliteraturefestival.co.uk



To book your ticket call 0844 888 9991

Friday - £25  / Friday Line-up

Saturday - £35    /  
Saturday Line-up

Sunday - £25  /  Sunday Line-up

Weekend - £65 /
Weekend Line-up

Both weekend and day tickets are available for the festival. Adult Weekend passes are £65, with a discount for National Trust and Literature Wales members.

Adult Day Tickets start at £25; children under 5 go free, and weekend and day tickets for children aged 6-16 are £10 and £5 respectively.
Camping tickets are an additional £20 per tent for a maximum of four people sharing.
To book your tickets on line click here to visit the Ticketline website
For further information and to book tickets contact Literature Wales:
029 2047 2266 / post@literaturewales.org

2012 Short Story Competition - Rubery Book Awards

2012 Short Story Competition
Judge: Booker shortlisted author
Clare Morrall
1st prize £500
(approx 805 US$; €609)
2nd prize £150
(approx 241 US$; €182)
3rd prize £50 
 (approx 80 US$; €60)
Closing date 31st October 2012.
Entries can be on any subject but must not be longer than 3000 words. Entries can be posted or emailed to us. Please see the website for more details www.ruberybookaward.com


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Latitude Poetry Club, Norwich

Latitude Poetry Club

Simon Armitage, Molly Naylor and Simon Mole 

Host - Luke Wright

Wednesday 23rd May 2012, 8PM 

Price: £12 / £10

Norwich Arts Centre
St. Benedict's Street

Contact: 01603 660 352

Publicity material for this event says:

A bit of Latitude Magic in Norwich
Norwich Arts Centre, supported by Apples and Snakes, presents
Latitude Poetry Club

Luke Wright, host and co-curator of Latitude's Poetry Arena, brings a bit of the Latitude magic to Norwich Arts Centre for this new monthly club.

We start with a bang - Simon Armitage, arguably Britain's greatest living poet, and winner of The Sunday Times Author of the Year, a Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award.

Support comes from Molly Naylor and Simon Mole.

When: Wednesday 23rd May, 8pm
Where: Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Arts Centre, St. Benedict's Street, Norwich NR2 4PG
Tickets: £12 / £10
Info: www.norwichartscentre.co.uk / 01603 660 352
Booking: www.norwichartscentre.co.uk
Event website

Poet Craig Bradley's Big Welsh Charity Walk for ClicSargent

On Monday 14th May Craig will be setting off on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path Walk to once again raise money for the fantastic charity ClicSargent (www.clicsargent.org.uk). He will be walking 186 miles aiming to finish on Saturday 26th May.  Along the way he will be calling into 8 primary schools to perform in assembly raising money as he goes (and again he will be camping on school playing fields, getting up early and scaring the cleaners!).
It would be fantastic if you could sponsor Craig - please visit his just giving page www.justgiving.com/craig-bradley.  Any donation, no matter how big or small, will be greatly appreciated, every penny counts.  Last year on the Coast 2 Coast Walk Craig raised an amazing £1,500 in total which is brilliant!
Craig has checked the weather forecast and he expects a flurry of blisters and an outbreak of backache!!


Monday, 14 May 2012

View Tube's Final Exhibition - ends 16th May 2012

The final exhibition as part of View Tube Art’s Sparked series sees renowned poet and playwright Lemn Sissay (MBE) showcase his poem Spark Catchers is on show at the View Tube, Stratford. Overlooking the Olympic site this exhibition runs until 16th May and is free to view.

Following the success of Lemn’s first public reading (on Saturday 14th April) Lemn will come back for one last time and on Saturday 12th May as part of View Tube's Family Fun day, including free art workshops for young people.

The view Tube Manager, Paul Shaw, has organised the day as a closing party for View Tube, which shuts its doors for the summer on May 17th, reopening in September 2012.

Pictures from the exhibition can be seen via this link http://www.flickr.com/photos/theviewtube/sets/72157629798992447/with/7

Pictures from the last family day can be seen via this link http://www.flickr.com/photos/theviewtube/sets/72157629465648538/

As part of Winning Words, Lemn was the first poet of five commissioned to write new poems for permanent installations on the Olympic Park, and was inspired by the history of the site. Spark Catchers is a striking poem referencing the pioneering industrial action which took place at the Bryant and May match factory, which still exists today on the edge of the Park in Bow, East London, near where he lives.

Sparked is a series of exhibitions and free family art workshops as part of the View Tube Art programme, funded by The Legacy List, celebrating and raising awareness of the Art in the Park commissions from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).

Exhibition dates: 30th March – 16th May 2012 (free)

Wales Book of the Year 2012 Shortlist Announced

On Thursday 10th May at a star-studded event at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon, Literature Wales announced the nine English and nine Welsh-language titles which have reached the Wales Book of the Year Award 2012 Short List.

This year, categories are introduced for the first time. Three titles have been short-listed in each of the three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction (Welsh Short List below). The three poetry collections to have reached the short list are Catulla Et Al (Bloodaxe Books) by Tiffany Atkinson, a collection of poems which summon up the sensual and scandalous spirit of the Latin poet Catullus, with one foot in a recognisable “real world” while still bending it out of shape; Deep Field (Bloodaxe Books) by Philip Gross, a collection of deeply felt and deeply thought poems about the poet’s father’s loss of his several languages, first to deafness, then profound aphasia; the third publication in this category is Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe Books) by Gwyneth Lewis, a highly inventive collection that puts nature writing in a spin and launches into flights of avian fancy or fantasy on several levels.

The three titles in the Fiction category this year are Wild Abandon (Hamish Hamilton) by Joe Dunthorne, a novel which delves into the lives of brother and sister Albert and Kate on their communal farm in South Wales, which involve preparation for the end of the world and a 10k sound system;  The Keys of Babylon (Seren) by Robert Minhinnick, a collection of interlinked short stories which look all over the world at people who are on the move, searching for a better life, and comes to a crescendo as the individual narratives are drawn together at the same hour on one momentous day; and The Last Hundred Days (Seren) by Patrick McGuinness, the author’s first novel which takes the reader to Bucharest in 1989, a world of danger, repression and corruption, but also of intensity and ravaged beauty.

Creative Non-Fiction
The three titles in the Creative Non-Fiction category are Ghost Milk (Hamish Hamilton) by Iain Sinclair, a work which explores the grandest of Grand Projects – the giant myth that is 2012’s London Olympics as the author deems it, and a statement on the throwaway impermanence of the present; The Vagabond’s Breakfast (Alcemi) by Richard Gwyn, a memoir which is an account of his “lost” years; of addiction and reckless travel; love and fatherhood; recovery; living with viral hepatitis, and the life-saving gift of a liver graft. Last, but not least, is Byron RogersThree Journeys (Gomer), a part reminiscence, part gazetteer, part portrait gallery, and turns on Byron Rogers’s experiences of growing up in, and leaving, Wales.
Spencer Jordan, Chair of the English-language Judging Panel said:

“The quality of the writing has been astounding. Submissions have come from some of the biggest names in fiction. But we’ve also had the best of the ‘new’ writers. Actually arriving at just three authors in each category has been a monumental task. But, with a lot of discussion, and reading, we’ve done it. Looking at the nine short-listed books, what emerges is the breadth of the work. Wales Book of the Year should be about passion, ambition and talent, and the short-listed authors have it in bucket loads.”
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said:

“The Wales Book of the Year 2012 Short List reflects the quality of the writing that is published here in Wales today; three categories and eighteen authors who deserve recognition for their work. This Award gives a voice to those who write diligently and quietly throughout the year so let’s celebrate their achievement and most importantly, read their words.”
The titles on the Welsh-language Short List are, in the Poetry category Siarad Trwy’i Het (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) by Karen Owen, Waliau’n Canu (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) by Ifor ap Glyn, and Rhwng Gwibdaith a Coldplay by Gerwyn Wiliams. The three titles in the Fiction category are Neb Ond Ni (Gomer) by Manon Rhys, Y Storïwr by Jon Gower and Pantglas by Mihangel Morgan, and in the Creative Non-Fiction category the three titles are Kate: Cofiant Kate Roberts 1891 – 1985 (Y Lolfa) by Alan Llwyd, John Morris-Jones (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru) by Allan James and Hen Enwau O Arfon, Llŷn ac Eifionydd (Gwasg y Bwthyn) by Glenda Carr.

The Wales Book of the Year Award Winners will be announced in the Awards Ceremony at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff on Thursday 12th July 2012 at 7pm. On the night of the ceremony the judges will announce a winner from each category, each taking home a cheque for £2,000, and one of the three will then be deemed winner of the Wales Book of the Year Award 2012 and will win an additional £6,000. 

For more information and to book tickets contact Literature Wales:
029 2047 2266 / post@literaturewales.org

Friday, 11 May 2012

‘I Spy with My Little Eye’ book review

‘I Spy with My Little Eye’
By Edward Gibbs
Published by Templar Publishing
RRP £6.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9781848777149
(The book review is by Lilly, aged 3 and her mum)
‘I Spy with My Little Eye’ is just cool! With die-cut holes in each page giving the reader a visual clue to what lies on the next page, plus a written clue as to what the animal maybe, makes for a really enjoyable interactive reading time with your pre-schooler.

With lovely illustrations and lots of colours and animals used in the ‘I Spy’ game, it’s a lovely edition that brings a classic car journey game into the home!

Lilly says ‘I spy with my little eye something green … a tree … the leaves … no the frog! Let’s do the red page now!” She was very enthusiastic at playing I Spy with the book as we already play this in the car with colours (we’re just building up to spying with letters!) and she really liked peering through the holes to view the animal. She also thought the eyes spying were quite hilarious! This kind of book that offers more interaction between parent and child gets our vote and I know we’ll be reading this book a lot!

Highly recommended for pre-school readers

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Peterborough Arts Festival is back for 2012

The full line up for the Peterborough Arts Festival, organised by Vivacity Culture and Leisure and sponsored by Perkins Engines Company Limited, has now been announced.

This year’s Festival, which takes place from 30th June to 8th July, is set to be a magical feast of entertainment: from headliners Hard-Fi in Central Park, to Helter Skelters and Giant Elephants in Cathedral Square, to some of the best talent from the Edinburgh Festival at the Key Theatre. Whatever your taste in music, art, culture and entertainment, there’s bound to be something for you and your friends and family to enjoy. 

Peterborough Arts Festival kicks off with a Victorian Circus extravaganza in the city centre. On Saturday 30th June, Cathedral Square will be transformed by a multitude of extra-ordinary performances and entertainment. Come and be amazed by wonderful, bizarre, magical and hilarious performances popping up all over the Square to celebrate the Festival opening, featuring artists from around the world: Cirk Isis will be astounding crowds with their acrobatic trampoline act. Walking giants – a mechanical elephant and a giant Fire bird – will be witnessed touring the city centre. Or, you can get a different perspective on the city from the top of a Victorian Helter Skelter.

Then make your way over to the Key Theatre to experience the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing The Complete World of Sports – every sport ever played on every continent in the entire history of the world, in less than two hours …

Festival Plus returns for the second year with a week of dance, music, theatre, master classes and much more, from 2nd – 6th July. This year, Peterborough gets the opportunity to experience a taster of the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival material: leading comedic conjuror and star of the BBC’s The Magicians, Pete Firman, performs brand new material for his forthcoming Edinburgh appearance, as does Peterborough’s very own Mark Grist. Maison Foo will also be performing their Edinburgh Festival sell-out show, Memoirs of a Biscuit Tin, a topsy turvy tale for grown-ups. The week will end with the Key Theatre opening its doors to a Through the Looking Glass experience, with unexpected performances taking place in every corner.
The Peterborough Arts Festival also provides the back drop to the Olympic Torch Relay celebrations on the city’s Embankment on 3rd July, organised by Peterborough City Council working in partnership with Vivacity and Voyager Academy. World renowned Close Act will provide an unforgettable welcome to the Olympic Flame, and there will be an exclusive performance of the specially commissioned Song for Peterborough by schools and communities from across the city with the Peterborough Male Voice Choir. More information about the Olympic Torch Relay can be found at www.peterborough.gov.uk/OlympicTorchRelay.
The grand Festival Finale returns to Central Park on 7 – 8 July for a weekend of epic entertainment!

The fun begins on Saturday 7th July at 12 noon with the Demon Barbers turning traditional Morris dancing on its head with their memorable Time Gentlemen Please. Visitors can have a go themselves at the Big Dance Workshops taking place throughout the weekend.
Families will enjoy a visit to a vast (50ft!) inflatable whale, where they might encounter a shipwrecked Pirate and real live Mermaid, or a visit to the Monster Take Away, where you can create your very own custom monster. At the other end of the scale, you can visit the Insect Circus Museum to behold the Liberty Beetles and Cheeky Ladybirds!

Throughout the weekend, there will be entertainment in every corner, from live literature, acoustic performances, music workshops and art displays.

Headliners Hard-Fi round off Saturday’s fun with some of their much-loved hits plus new material from their newly released album. Sunday’s programme is kicked off with the award winning Peterborough Male Voice Choir and Peterborough Voices. Don’t miss the renowned Orchestra Da Camera, who will be performing music from all corners of the British Isles to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee on Sunday evening. Bring a picnic and enjoy a magical end to a magical Festival!

The 2012 Festival is sponsored by Perkins Engines Company Limited as part of their own 80th anniversary celebrations which take place this year. Perkins employees will participate directly in many parts of the Festival, with art, dance, poetry and music workshops and performances taking place at Perkins Eastfield facility in the lead up to the event. There will also be a dedicated Perkins exhibition within the Festival Community Zone in Central Park, which will celebrate the company’s eighty year heritage and involvement with Peterborough, and invite people of all ages to take a ‘hands on’ approach to engineering.

The Arts Festival is also supported by funding from Arts Council England, with the aim of growing the Peterborough Festival into a world class platform for artists and providing a strong arts focus for the city.

Lisa Helin, Vivacity’s Cultural Development Manager, commented:
‘This year’s line-up is the strongest ever, and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase such a range of artists in Peterborough. With the support of the Arts Council, we’ve been working closely with partners such as Norwich Arts Centre and SeaChange Arts in order bring in talented new musicians and leading international artists alongside more established names. We expect attendance to be the biggest ever, creating a fantastic profile for arts and heritage within Peterborough.’

Ennodio Ramos, Perkins Sales and Marketing Director, added:
‘We’re delighted to be working with Vivacity on this year’s Peterborough Arts Festival. We hope many of our employees and their families will take an active role in the two-week festival, which is going to be a great event for our city.’

The full programme of acts is available in the 2012 Festival brochure, available from
the Key Theatre and venues across the city, or via the dedicated Festival website, www.peterboroughfestival.co.uk. Ticketed events are now on sale from the Key Theatre Box Office on 01733 207239.

Rosie Garland 2012 Mslexia Novel Competition Winner releases new poetry collection

Being told you have cancer is a life-changing event. Rosie Garland, writer and performer, didn’t need any tissues when she was told, but later used poetry to come to terms with the disease, treatment and slow recovery.

Her account is not at all melodramatic or tearful, but paints vivid pictures, and her poems have a dynamic and rhythmic uplifting beat, especially when things get tough. Most importantly, she shows how any disease – and cancer especially – attacks your humanity and more specifically your femininity.

Rosie Garland, based in Manchester, is a poet, writer and performance artist. She published four solo poetry collections and her award-winning short stories, poems and essays have been widely anthologised. In March 2012 she won the inaugural Mslexia Novel Competition with her first novel, The Palace of Curiosities and within weeks landed a six-figure book deal with HarperCollins.

Rosie’s new poetry collection Everything Must Go, ISBN 978-1-907320-22-4, 51 pages, is being published by Holland Park Press: http://hollandparkpress.co.uk/book_detail.php?book_id=33.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Ted Hughes Young Poets Award 2012

The Ted Hughes Young Poets Award 2012 is now open for entries.

Theme - Stages

Judge: Andrew McMillan.
  • First Prize: £100
  • Runner-Up: £50
in each of three age categories: 6 – 10 years, 11-14 years, 15-18 years.

Poems should be no longer than 40 lines.

Entry for the Ted Hughes Young Poets Award is free of charge, but each poem should be accompanied by an entry form.

The prize for the poetry competition will be awarded on Friday 19th October at The Ted Hughes Festival 2012.

Closing date for entries: Friday 6th July 2012.

Information and a downloadable entry form can be found at http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/readers/writing-competition/index.html

If you would like a hard copy of the leaflet, please send an sae to Anna Turner at Central Library, Northgate, Halifax, HX1 1UN.

For the Ted Hughes Young Poets Award please remember to include your age on the entry form.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Just finished reading...

Just finished reading 'Jane Austen Stole my Boyfriend' by Cora Harrison - sequel to 'I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend.' A great, curl-up-on-the-sofa read!

A little mystery is so becoming in a hero, don't you think?
Jane Austen wants to meet a hero worthy of her extraordinary imagination: a gentleman who is dashing and daring and handsome and brave. Jane and Jenny are spending the season in Bath and there are plenty of dances, rumours and scandals to entertain them. But Jane is in danger of becoming the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons... 
Based on real events, the book sheds light on a real romance between Jane Austen and Harry Digweed - the author has found new evidence to support her theory that Harry was the real love of Jane's life. Recommended for age 11 plus.

Published 2nd Feb 2012 by Macmillan Children's Books. £5.99 (softback)
                                           ISBN: 9780330509541

Book a Poet has also just reviewed Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge. 

To review books and keep up to date with latest titles, check out our book review section at Book a Poet

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Featured Poem May 2012

"If The World Were a Village of 100 People" by Victor Richards

In the world today, 6 billion 300 million people live.
If this world were shrunk to the size of a village,
What would it look like?

If 100 people lived in this village …

52 would be women

48 would be men
30 would be children
70 would be adults,
Among those 7 would be aged.

70 would be non-white,

30 would be white.

61 would be Asians,

13 Africans, 13 from North and South America,
12 Europeans, and the remaining one from the South Pacific.

33 would be Christians,

19 believe in Islam,
13 would be Hindus, and
6 would follow Buddhist teaching.
5 would believe that there are spirits in the trees and rocks and in all of nature,
24 would believe in other religions or no religion.
17 would speak Chinese,
9 English,
8 Hindi and Urdu,
6 Spanish, 6 Russian and 4 would speak Arabic.
That would account for half the village.
The other half would speak Bengal, Portuguese,
Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, or some other languages.

In such a village, with so many sorts of folks,

it would be very important to learn to understand people different from yourself,
and to accept others as they are.

But consider this

Of the 100 people in this village,
20 are undernourished,
1 is dying of starvation, while 15 are overweight.
Of the wealth in this village, 6 people own 59%,
- all of them from the U.S.A. -
74 people own 39%, and 20 people share the remaining 2%.
Of the energy of this village,
20 people consume 80%, and 80 people share the remaining 20%.
75 people have some supply of food and a place to shelter 
from the wind and the rain, but 25 do not.
17 have no clean, safe water to drink.
If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and spare change somewhere around the house,
you are among the richest 8.
If you have a car, you are among the richest 7.
Among the villagers, 1 has a college education, 2 have computers, 14 cannot read.
If you can speak and act according to your faith and your conscience without harassment, imprisonment, torture of death, then you are more fortunate than 48,
who can not.
If you do not live in fear of death by bombardment,
armed attack, landmines, or rape or kidnapping by armed groups,
then you are more fortunate than 20 who do.
In one year, 1 person in the village will die,
but in the same year, 2 babies will be born.
So that at the year’s end, the number of villagers will be 101.

Someone once said: ‘what you send out comes back to you again’.

So SING from bottom of your heart, DANCE with your body waving free,
and LIVE, putting your heart and soul into it.
And when you love, love as though you have never been wounded, even if you have.
And love the fact that you, and others, live here, in this village.
Perhaps, if enough of us learn to love our village
it may yet be possible to save it from the violence that is tearing it apart.

© Victor Richards 2012. All rights reserved.  Please do not use without the poet's permission.

'Village of 100 People' is taken from Victor's one-man play 'I Spy Through the World's Eye'.

'I Spy Through the World’s Eye' is a performance about connecting people around the world. It is also a story reflective of today’s society and future generations. Opening the door and focussing on modern-day lives and current affairs, as well as drawing references from other cultures.

All of these plays are available from £300 plus travel expenses. All the plays are suitable for family viewing. Victor is based in Leceistershire but will travel wherever his shows are wanted! For further information, to book a show or to book Victor for a workshop or other event please contact info@bookapoet.co.uk.

Friday, 4 May 2012

How to write a Diamante Poem – Free Poetry Writing Workshop

Poetry Writing Workshop Difficulty Rating - Easy
The diamante, or diamond poem, is a poetic form made up of 6 lines, using only 13 words and it forms the shape of a diamond. The poem starts with one subject as its theme and this flips to a different subject, the exact opposite of the starting subject, to end the poem. The diamante poem is a modern style of poetry, developed by Iris Tiedt in the 1960s. It can be written on any theme.

The diamante poem’s structure is as follows:

Line 1 – One noun
Line 2 – Two adjectives or synonyms of the first noun
Line 3 – Four words, two are usually present participles (ending in –ing) of the first noun, the other two are usually present participles of the exact opposite
Line 4 – Three adjectives of the opposite of the first noun
Line 5 – Two present participles of the opposite of the first noun
Line 6 – One noun, which is the opposite of the noun used in line one

To make the diamond shape centre the poem.

Example of a diamante poem:

                                                                Bright, Warm
                                               Heating, Dazzling, Lighting, Glowing
                                                           Cold, Dark, Distant
                                                             Waxing, Waning

Challenge yourself by writing several diamante poems that create one large poem, using each diamante as a stanza. It then becomes harder in difficulty rating and is a twist on classic forms that also use this technique, such as a Renga.

© Copyright Lynsey Evans, Book a Poet Ltd. www.bookapoet.co.uk.

Southbank Centre Poetry Library current competition and events

Latest Competitions:
  1. Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize 2012 | Closing Date: 19-May-12
  2. Proverse Prize 2012 | Closing Date: 31-May-12
  3. The Psychiatry Research Trust Poetry Competition2012 | Closing Date: 31-May-12
  4. Earlyworks Press Poetry Competition 2012 | Closing Date: 31-May-12
  5. Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition | Closing Date: 20-Jun-12
Competitions for Children:
  1. The Ted Hughes Young Poets Award | Closing Date: 06-Jul-12
New Magazines:
  1. Dead Ink
  2. Asterisk *
  3. Incandescent
  4. Under the Radar
  5. Camarillo Review, The
New Events:
  1. LONDON SE19: Beyond Words | 01-May-12
  2. LONDON N10: Writing Parenthood Workshops | 01-May-12
  3. LONDON SE1: Special Edition: Oxfam Young Poets Anthology | 02-May-12
  4. LONDON E1: Audre Lorde's Legacy | 03-May-12
  6. LONDON NW8: John Hegley and Some Other Poets | 04-May-12
  7. CHEPSTOW NP16: Poetry on the Border | 05-May-12
  8. MANCHESTER: Poets and Players | 05-May-12
  9. LONDON NW3: Katabasis | 08-May-12
  10. LONDON EC2: Leah Fritz | 09-May-12
  11. LONDON N10: Themed Creative Writes Workshops | 09-May-12
  12. LONDON N6: Poetry at Lauderdale House | 10-May-12
  13. LONDON WC1: The Pre Raphaelites | 11-May-12
  14. WELLS-NEXT-THE-SEA: Poetry-next-the-Sea | 11-May-12
  15. LONDON W1: Jazz Verse Jukebox | 13-May-12
  16. LONDON SE8: Pete (the Temp) Verses Climate Change | 14-May-12
  17. LONDON E8: Creative Writes Workshops at Leluu Super Club | 15-May-12
New Exhibitions:
  1. Poetry of Unknown Words | 09-Mar-12 to 25-May-12
Latest News:
  1. Crater Press at the Poetry Library | 25-Apr-12
  2. Access to Library during Royal Festival Hall Closure | 25-Apr-12
  3. Metre magazine now available to read online | 17-Apr-
Courtesey of The Poetry Library - info@poetrylibrary.org.uk.