Friday 29 June 2012

Love Your Local Bookshop Week (30th June - 7th July)

Next week
(30th June - 7th July) is Love Your Local Bookshop Week. Bookshops are simply the most amazing places, they can be portals into new worlds or experiences, filled with wonder, delight, joy and amazingly knowledgeable booksellers! They are vital community centres and anyone who lives in a town without one will know just how lucky those who have them locally are. So cherish, love and above all buy from your local bookshop and, next week, join them with celebrations across the country with readings, fun filled events, promotions and activities. Kicking off the week there are incredible events tomorrow across the country from Ian Rankin working behind the tills in The Edinburgh Bookshop to a one day celebration of books and bookshops in London at Love Charing Cross Road. And it's also National Reading Group Day, a great excuse to gather your friends together and talk books or find an established reading group in your area.

To find out what's happening at your local bookshop, pop instore or visit their website (and you can click here to search for your nearest independent bookseller).

(Thanks to World Book Night for this information.)

Guest Blog from poet Pete 'Cardinal' Cox - June 2012

An odd month as I had a gig Im in no hurry to repeat After several months in hospital, hospice and nursing home a friend died. They and their partner werent religious in the slightest and as I am used to public speaking, I was asked to conduct the funeral service. For three years Id been Poet-in-Residence for a local cemeterys Friends Group (writing poems for the meetings and creating poetry trails through the grounds) and have been to funerals of variable quality. At my grandfathers, for instance, the vicar got his name wrong! So I immediately had in mind the sort of service I thought Carol would have liked. She had been a fan of Oscar Wilde so my first thought was to read The Selfish Giant, but the most important thing to remember about a funeral service (especially at Peterborough crematorium, one of the busiest in the country) is that you have to keep to the time. Over-run and the next family after you wont understand, theyll have their own pressures so wont appreciate any sloppiness on your part. Instead of the fairy tale I went with a poem by Wilde and (as she was a big fan of history) a quote from Marcus Aurelius about living a good life and never mind what the gods think. I collected stories from friends and her work colleagues and wove together a suitable eulogy. Before the start of the service the undertaker took me through the controls, how to start the music, how to close the curtains etc. and we had lift off. Fair to say it wasnt your average funeral service. The coffin was brought in to 'The Post-Horn Gallop', followed by the theme to 'Blackadder'. After I had said my pieces and thanked friends, nursing home staff, undertakers, etc. we said our farewells to 'Im On Fire' by Kasabian. Afterwards, people thanked me (including one of the crematorium staff, who also asked if they could contact me if they needed my services again) but as I said, Im in no hurry to do another. 
Later in the month I attended an open mic night at the Stamford Arts Centre in Lincolnshire. Good night, only been going a couple of months and embracing all styles and abilities, as a good open mic should. As I was leaving this woman shouted at me You were fantastic. We really, really enjoyed it which Id have appreciated more if shed been at the poetry session and hadnt just been mistaking me for an actor in a play shed been to see. Still, Ill accept any good review, even if it was intended for someone else.

Also in the month Id been asked if I could read some poetry at an event and it was convenient and there was going to be cake, so I agreed. Nice thing was at the end the organiser said they could pay me. Hadnt been expecting it so it was a bonus.

Last month I mentioned a couple of pieces of bad news from the small-press scene, so this month I thought Id finish with a more positive note. Poetry Cornwall is a great little magazine that Id recommend you perhaps buy a sample copy with a view to either subscribing to or submitting work to. Professionally produced it takes poetry in English, dialect and Cornish from around the world, includes features on editors and a brief review section. For full details go to the website at
Peter Cox

Thursday 28 June 2012

Stamford Shakespeare Season 2012

“One of England’s premier alfresco theatre venues” The Stage

“One of the finest things to do this summer” The Sunday Times

The Stamford Shakespeare Company present an annual season of plays in June, July and August at Rutland Open Air Theatre in the grounds of historic Tolethorpe Hall, Little Casterton PE9 4BH, just off the A1, two miles north of Stamford.

A stage set in an enchanting glade, a company of fine actors, stunning sets and gorgeous costumes, the magic of Tolethorpe begins the moment you take your seat on a warm summer evening in one of Europe's finest open air theatres. 

Comfortably seated and protected from occasional summer showers, beneath a permanent all-weather canopy it's the perfect setting to enjoy the works of the world's greatest playwright. Enjoy all the comfort of an indoor theatre with the charm of an open air setting in what everyone calls the complete Tolethorpe Experience.

There is nothing more enjoyable for a theatre visit on a summer evening than a picnic on the lawn... or a pre-performance meal in one of the two elegant restaurant rooms in the historic hall... a quiet drink in the sun-filled, spacious bar... or a stroll through the delightful garden where others have walked for the past 1000 years.

Book a Poet highly recommends visiting Tolethorpe to watch a play, it's a magical setting that makes for a pleasant, culture-filled visit!

For further details please visit

National Shake the Dust Weekend

Thursday 5th – Saturday 7th July | Southbank Centre

Three unmissable days of spoken word, featuring some of the most celebrated spoken word artists performing today, including Saul Williams, Kate Tempest, Lemn Sissay, Dizraeli and the Small Gods and many more. Plus films, music, FREE events and the UK‘s biggest ever youth poetry slam! The Shake the Dust Champions, young poets from across the UK, will join forces with Southbank’s London Literature Festival to share a stage with top spoken word artists.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Book review - Whisper by Chrissie Keighery

'Whisper' by Chrissie Keighery
Published by Templar Publishing
RRP £6.99 (paperback)
ISBN 9781848775466
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

15-year-old Demi’s life is turned upside down forever, when she is left profoundly deaf caused by a sudden illness. After struggling at mainstream school, where despite her friends’ best intentions, she is left out, and she’s falling behind as she can’t keep up even with Jules as her interpreter. Demi decides to attend The College for the Deaf and here a whole new world is opened up to her. Meeting new friends, having new experiences and finally achieving again at school, she can even dream that one day she can still become a lawyer.

Demi’s story has it’s ups and downs, from her trying to fit in with her hearing friends as well as her deaf friends, from her learning to cope with being deaf and still living with a hearing family and in a hearing world, to meeting a hearing boy and understanding that she can be loved despite her deafness.

This is a beautiful book, and for some this is reality and it’s an eye-opener. It’s quite a personal story and in places you almost feel like you are intruding too much into Demi’s silent world. There are moments of realisation and sadness for her loss – not being able to continue at mainstream school and how to dance when you can’t hear the music or hear people to talk to at a party or how she can't control her volume when speaking. The discrimination, ‘audism’, that she and her friends face. On the other hand there are moments of delight, such as Demi and Ethan, Demi realising that deafness hasn’t closed all the doors she thought it had, from seeing her world from her friends and families’ point of view and Demi’s nephew Harry, who is quite simply a little star. His closing sentence of the novel is one of the best I’ve read … “ ‘It doesn’t matter if she’s deaf,’ he says. ‘My aunty Demi can listen with her eyes, and whisper with her hands’.”.

Utterly fantastic and a must-read. Highly recommended for readers aged 11+
The Wicked Young Writers’ Award, established by the long-running West End musical Wicked, today presents its free Wicked Young Writers Assembly featuring Michael Morpurgo, former Children’s Laureate and award-winning author of War Horse

The unique creative writing resource for schools is designed to motivate and inspire original ideas for writing within the classroom. The videos show Michael Morpurgo discussing his creative process, an exclusive talk with Wicked cast members Rachel Tucker and Chloe Taylor, plus an exclusive reading of Outlaw: The Story of Robin Hood (Harper Collins Children’s Books) by Michael Morpurgo.

Teachers can download or stream the Assembly online at:

Michael Morpurgo says of the Wicked Young Writers’ Award: “With the encouragement of their teachers and families I hope the excitement of the Wicked Young Writers’ Award will see original and creative writing coming through and hopefully instill in them a passion to become the authors, script writers, poets and dramatists of the future."

The webcasts are accompanied by a bespoke curriculum-linked creative writing resource developed in association with the National Literacy Trust. The downloadable frameworks explore the writing process and suggest possible themes and approaches support teachers in bringing together a variety of work on narrative with the view of entering pupils’ pieces of writing for the award.

Now in its third year, the “prestigious award” (The Times) recognises excellence in writing, encourages creativity, and helps develop writing talent in young people between 5-25 years old nationwide. The Award is spearheaded by Michael Morpurgo, receives patronage from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and works in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

This year's Wicked Young Writers’ Award is currently accepting entries and the closing date s Tuesday 31st July 2012. Schools and individuals can download entry forms and find tips on entering the Wicked Young Writers’ Award at

The Wicked Young Writers’ Award is separated into five age categories as follows: 5-7, 8-10, 11-14 and 15-17, and an individual Gregory Maguire Award for 18-25 year-olds.  Young people from across the UK and Northern Ireland are free to submit entries to enter a piece of writing on a theme or subject of their choice, written at home or at school.  Teachers are encouraged to enter writing on behalf of pupils through a schools’ entry form and online Teachers’ Resource featuring exclusive video tips for inspiring and encouraging writing in the classroom. 

Through its For Good programme, Wicked champions and supports a range of causes borne out of the themes of the musical: Teach The Difference, a partnership with St John Ambulance, draws on the values of lead character Elphaba to produce a uniquely engaging way of teaching first aid in the classroom; Wicked Day, an annual free afternoon of family fun, celebrates the show to raise environmental awareness in support of The Woodland Trust’s “More Trees, More Good” campaign; spearheaded by Michael Morpurgo with patronage from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, the yearly Wicked Young Writers’ Award encourages creativity to develop writing talent and literacy in young people nationwide. Wicked is also proud to be an official partner of The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying, and the charity Mousetrap Theatre Projects, with whom the show has worked over the past 5 years to enable thousands of under privileged and special needs children to experience the show.

For further information on this competition and the For Good programme, please visit

Interview with Helen Mort, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Judge for 2012

How has winning the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, an amazing 5 times, influenced your poetry?

It isn’t an overstatement to say that winning the Foyle Award changed my life, because it changed my sense of what was possible through poetry. After attending the winners’ Arvon course at Lumb Bank, I came back determined to make writing the focus of my life, and I did. As a young writer, you’re full of uncertainty and in some ways those uncertainties don’t vanish (‘am I good enough? Do I have anything new to say?’) but winning Foyle gave me a single certainty to counteract those doubts: the belief that poetry IS important. That certainty has steered my course ever since! In terms of writing itself, the Arvon courses I was lucky enough to go on as a result of winning Foyle encouraged me to read widely – I was introduced to the work of poets I would never have come across otherwise. I think reading has to be the basis of all writing, so those influences have been tremendously important.

As a judge this year, what will you be looking for in the winning poems?

I’ll be looking for poems that take me aback: the kind of poem that would creep up and move my chair when I’m not looking, or trip me up when I least expect it, only to catch me just before I hit the ground. Poems that surprise the reader and have obviously surprised the writer too. I also value sincerity in poems. That doesn’t mean they have to be true, because often the ‘truth’ of an experience or feeling is best captured by a kind of pretence. But they should come from the heart. As Ted Hughes said, it’s important as a writer to distinguish between things you’re merely curious about and things which are a deep part of your life.

Do you feel there is enough being done to encourage and support both young poets as well as those further along in their career?

I think there are a wealth of opportunities for young writers today, it’s almost hard to know where to begin: initiatives like the Young Poets’Network or the Young Writers’ Hub
( ) offer support to new poets whilst competitions like Foyle and the Eric Gregory Awards offer a platform for them to get their writing noticed; it’s important that the emphasis isn’t always on competition, I think, because so much of writing is far removed from that. The best thing about winning Foyle for me was the chance to meet and work with other writers, both my own age and older. I think it’s important that young writers interact with writers further along their careers, whether that’s in a mentoring capacity or more informally, because those dialogues introduce both writers to new ideas and material.

Do you feel poetry is shedding its somewhat old-fashioned and traditional stereotype and becoming more appealing to a wider audience?

I think it’s sometimes unhelpful to talk about a division between ‘traditional’ poetry and newer means of engaging audiences (such as the UK’s thriving performance scene) because they’re all part of the same art, but yes, those stereotypes do still exist and I hope that the variety of guises poetry comes in nowadays do help to make people more open minded about what poetry is. We all recognise poetry (and good poetry) when we encounter it, but it’s very difficult to turn that into a definition of poetry. Perhaps that refusal to be pinned down is part of poetry’s strength: it sneaks in when we aren’t looking, disguised in a second hand coat, and takes our breath away.

Can you recommend any poetry collections for 11-17 year-olds?

First of all, don’t be put off by thinking anything’s ‘too difficult’ for you when it comes to poetry. I’d recommend reading (and hearing) as much of everything as you can, but here are a few collections that I particularly enjoyed as a teenager or have found inspiring more recently:

Simon Armitage, ‘Zoom’ – one of the first collections I read, Armitage’s inventiveness always makes me do a double-take and I still savour the images in his first collection, like the car horn 'moaning / softly like an alarm clock under an eiderdown' in the chilling first poem ‘Snow Joke’.

Tim Burton, ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’ - shows how much fun you can have with poetry if you want.

Jo Shapcott, ‘Phrase Book’ - great narratives, Shapcott can give voice to anything. Her poems are a good example of how poetry enables strange and magical transformations.

John Hegley, ‘The Adventures of Monsieur Robinet’ - I always go back to John Hegley's work because he makes me laugh, whilst also making me think.

Kay Ryan, ‘Odd Blocks’ - Kay Ryan has a very unique way of looking at the world and honouring its peculiarities.

Ian McMillan, 'I Found This Shirt' - one of my favourite poets, Ian McMillan is committed to showing us how truth is stranger than fiction and he's a great example of how you can get witty and startling material from the world around you.

A huge thanks to Helen for answering our questions. For further information on 2012's Foyle Young Poets competition please visit

Interview with Christopher Reid, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

As a judge this year, what will you be looking for in the winning poems?

Pretty much what I’d be looking out for in any poem: signs of imagination, of feeling, of original thought, of a sense of form, of a musical ear.

Do you feel there is enough being done to encourage and support both young poets as well as those further along in their career?

If exams didn’t govern everything in school life, if the curriculum allowed space for the sort of wide, deep and curiosity-led reading that is the surest grounding for any writer’s career, there might be hope. 

Do you feel poetry is shedding its somewhat old-fashioned and traditional stereotype and becoming more appealing to a wider audience?

Poetry is and always had been in a state of self-renewal. The motivation for renewal comes mainly from the young, dissatisfied with what their elders have handed down to them, but whether this leads to a wider audience, or merely a different one, I couldn’t be sure.

Can you recommend any poetry collections for 11-17 year-olds?

'The Rattle Bag', edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes and 'Emergency Kit', edited by Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney, will introduce new readers what some of our finest poets consider some of the finest poems in English.

Do you have any words of advice or tips for budding poets?

Keep working at the art and enjoying it – simultaneously.

A huge thanks to Christopher for answering our questions. For further information on 2012's Foyle Young Poets competition please visit

Tuesday 26 June 2012

The world’s poets are coming to London Tues 26th June – Sun 1st July 2012

Poetry Parnassus Festival
Meet them and hear them during the Poetry Parnassus Festival at Southbank Centre. There are more than 100 FREE events, activities and workshops happening throughout the festival. The world’s most exciting poets, rappers and spoken word artists are gathering for this huge event that will make history as the largest poetry festival ever staged in the UK.

Keep checking the website for further updates or pop along on the day to find out what’s on.

Rain of poems Tuesday 26th June 9pm

One hundred thousand poems by 300 contemporary poets from 204 countries will be released from a helicopter over Jubilee Gardens during Poetry Parnassus as the sun sets. The Rain of Poems will be carried out by the Chilean arts collective Casagrande in collaboration with Southbank Centre. It will be a spectacular sight, to which everyone is invited.

Jubilee Gardens is the greens space just behind the London Eye, next to the Southbank Centre, close to Waterloo Underground. The Rain of Poems may be postponed until the following day if there is bad weather, so do check the website before you set off.

Other Free Poetry Parnassus Activities

Free activities you might particularly enjoy include Poems on the Underground Writing Workshops (1pm-2pm daily), the Poetry Takeaway where poets will write you a poem to order while you wait (Noon – 5pm Daily) and the Emergency Poet (Noon-5pm from the 28th-1st) who will prescribe you a personalised reading list.

For further information please visit

Celebrating 15 years of Harry Potter magic - fascinating facts

Fifteen fascinating facts about the first Harry Potter novel

1. The Signature edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is 1.5cm thick. A stack of 9,000 copies would be as high as the London Eye.

2. A stack of 1 million copies would be 15,000 metres tall which is almost twice the height of Mount Everest!

3. The Signature edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is 19.7cm long. If you laid all the copies sold throughout the world end to end they would stretch further than the distance from London to Sydney.

4. The new Olympic stadium has a seating capacity of 80,000. You would be able to fill the stadium 1,125 times if you were to give everyone seated one copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ from the amount sold worldwide.

5. There are 223 pages in the Signature edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. If you were to read a page a day for fifteen years you would be able to read the entire novel 24 and a half times.

6. If you were to read a page every hour for fifteen years you would be able to read the entire novel 589 times.

7. An anagram of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is - He hopes hard not to prosper at Slytherin.

8. There are 1,100,086 words in the entire Harry Potter series. ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ contains only 7% of the entire word count with 77,674 words.

9. Bloomsbury’s initial hardback print run of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ in 1997 was a tiny 500 copies.

10. The name Harry Potter appears 29 times in the main text of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, whilst Voldemort appears more often with 38 mentions!

11. The sign for Platform 9 and three quarters is the only thing to appear on both the original and new covers of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. It appears on the front cover of the original and the back cover of the latest edition.

12. Harry doesn’t say anything in the first chapter of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ as he is only a baby. His first word in the novel comes in the second chapter and is ‘nearly’.

13. Harry enters Hogwarts in Chapter seven of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and the first teacher he meets in the school is Professor McGonagall.

14. Harry and Ron meet for the first time on page 70 of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ between platforms nine and ten at King’s Cross. Harry meets Hermione for the first time on page 79 as they travel on the Hogwarts Express.

15. In a recent poll for Bloomsbury Professor Severus Snape was voted the favourite Harry Potter character from the books. Harry came in fourth place after Hermione Granger at No.2 and Sirius Black at No. 3.

The search for UK and Ireland’s biggest HARRY POTTER fan

From an idea born on a train journey, to its creation in a small cafe in Edinburgh Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the book that started a global phenomenon. Rejected by many publishers and with an initial hardback print run of 500 copies, it has now sold over 90 million copies worldwide. It is the book that put Harry’s destiny in motion and created a whole new generation of readers. It is hard to think now that before 1997 none of us knew about Hogwarts, Quidditch or Voldemort (who was voted as the favourite literary villain in a recent Bloomsbury poll).

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury is launching a nationwide competition to find the UK’s biggest HARRY POTTER fan.

Bloomsbury is inviting fans to write a letter of no more than 50 words explaining why they love HARRY POTTER. We are looking for the most creative, clever and entertaining reasons and, while the word limit is set to a strict 50 words, entrants are encouraged to draw, doodle and make their letters as elaborate as possible.

HARRY POTTER fans can only enter by visiting a local bookshop or library and posting their letter in the specially designed postboxes. Over 1800 bookshops and libraries have already signed up to take part. The competition will run from Tuesday 26th June to Tuesday 31st July 2012, after which we will name the UK and Ireland’s biggest HARRY POTTER fan. The winner and runners up will be announced on Saturday 1st September 2012.

The competition is an ideal opportunity for fans to show how much they love HARRY POTTER as well as supporting their local bookshop or library. Details of how to enter and a list of participating bookshops and libraries can be found on the website:

 Good Luck!

Friday 22 June 2012

Book Review - 'The Bees' by Carol Ann Duffy

‘The Bees’
By Carol Ann Duffy
Published by Picador
RRP £14.99 (hardback)
ISBN 9780330442442
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

‘The Bees’ is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection since she was appointed the Poet Laureate in 2009. Her previous collection ‘Rapture’ won her the T.S. Eliot Prize.

What I love about Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry writing style, is that it’s uncomplicated, it’s not trying to be something it isn’t – her poems are accessible, which makes them all the more wonderful. You don’t have to be an academic to understand or appreciate her craft, you don’t even have to know a thing about poetry to enjoy the words, how they are compiled, their message to you. That’s a rare skill and a beautiful one.

‘The Bees’ covers many themes, from politics and history, to musings on love and life in general. There’s heartfelt elegies to friends and family, mixed with thought-provoking verse and witty stanzas making a gem of a collection that any poetry lover will enjoy, and will want to share with others.

Current Tours with Book a Poet

  • The Isle of Wight: The prize-winning children’s poet, James Carter, will be touring schools in the Isle of Wight from the 17th - 20th September. James is available for full days with KS1, KS2 and pupils from Year 7. He also runs Gifted & Talented days, as well as INSET poetry days for primary teachers (half and full days available). A full day is £500.

  • Somerset:  From 26th to the 30th November, the talented and creative poet Terry Caffrey, is on his ‘Food for Thought’ tour. With emphasis on fun, Terry facilitates workshops for all ages and abilities – with over 3,500 school visits under his belt, Terry is a firm favourite across the UK. He can offer workshops for KS1, KS2, KS3, Special Schools, G&T plus INSET days for teachers. With Somerset’s economy centred around agriculture and food production, plus its historical sites this makes great inspiration for writing poetry! A full day with Terry is £550.

  • Oxford: In Spring 2013 poet and children’s author Kenneth Steven will be visiting schools in and around Oxford. Dates TBC – contact us now and we’ll email you with all the information as soon as it becomes available. A full day with Kenneth is £360, half days are £250 and 90 minute sessions are £180. As Kenneth is based in Scotland his visits to England sell out quickly, so do get in touch as soon as you can.

  • South Wales: James Carter and his guitar (called Keith) are available for workshops for KS1, KS2 and Year 7 for a handful of dates throughout June and July. Contact us for further information.

Other Workshops Planned

  • Drama & Poetry Workshops: the talented poet, Victor Richards, is running workshops throughout Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. His unique method means children don’t have to use pen and paper; they can create their own poems, practice, memorise and perform it all at the same time! Half day workshop is £150, full days £250 per class (plus travel). Get in touch to book now to book a class for your school!

Further tour information for Roger Stevens and Mixy will follow shortly.

Visit our home page at to download further tour information or drop us an email at

Thursday 21 June 2012

‘My Tourist Guide to The Dinosaur World’ - new title from Dorling Kindersley

Written and Edited by Sam Priddy
Published by Dorling Kindersley Books
RRP £8.99 (large hardback)
ISBN 9781409376309
Reviewed by Lynsey Evans

This is more than just a dinosaur fact book! Making the reader the tourist, you prepare for travel to the dinosaurs in a well-thought out time machine and learn about pre-historic Earth then the first life forms. Here kicks in all the amazing pictures and facts about all sorts of creatures from pre-historic fist and insects to the dinosaurs themselves.

As a tourist you can hunt a giant dragonfly, fish with a Nothosaurus, have a tree-top tour with a Barosaurus, hunt with a T-Rex, see a stampede of Triceratops before witnessing the end of dinosaurs as the Ice Age comes. As a tourist you can end your tour here or check out the Ice Age – big dinosaurs maybe long gone, but small mammals and insects have taken over the world. Under the sea the awesome Megalodon reigns – 20 times bigger than a Great White Shark, it’s a predator to be reckoned with! Back on land see the amazing woolly mammoths and camp with the first humans. Whatever you decide to do, check out fellow tourists’ ratings on the activities.

This is a really fun book that has your absorbing facts left, right and centre without even realising. The tourist idea is excellent, bringing another level to the book and making sure that the children who read this find it easy to engage with the content and who knows what it will inspire their imaginations to do!

DK books also all support Key Stages 1, 2 and / or 3 of the National Curriculum.

Highly recommended for readers aged 7+

Awarding Literary Achievement at the Royal Welsh College

Join us for the Wales Book of the Year 2012 Award Ceremony

Thursday 12th July 2012, 7.00 pm
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Tickets: £10 (includes wine reception and canap

To book your ticket contact Literature Wales:
029 2047 2266 / 

Join us at this year's Wales Book of the Year Award Ceremony at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff as we celebrate some of the best books published in Wales in 2011. This special event offers a chance to congratulate in person the writers and the publishers who have given us these exceptionally good reads. 
2011 Winners Ned Thomas and John Harrison         
Last year Ned Thomas and John Harrison each walked away with a cheque for £10,000. This year, Literature Wales will announce a winner in three categories (both English and Welsh): Poetry (in English, the Roland Mathias Prize), Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction, with each category winner taking home £2,000 followed by an overall winner who will win an additional £6,000.

Don't forget to vote for your favourite of the nine books on the Media Wales website. By casting your vote, you will be in with a chance to win two tickets to the ceremony.
There is also a Kindle up for grabs! - for a chance to win, simply send us a picture of yourself with one of the Short-Listed books in an interesting place to or via Twitter @LitWales.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Middlesbrough Literature Festival kicks off 23rd June

On Saturday 23rd June, The Black Light Engine Room will be opening the Unconvention segment of the Middlesbrough Literary Festival. There will be lots of poets performing before they hand over to Above The Parapet, who are celebrating what would be the centenary year of Woody Guthrie. This is being held at the Reference Library in Middlesbrough’s Central Library and starts at 12pm and is free to all. Any poets who would like to perform should contact

Closing the festival, a week later on Saturday 30th June from 6pm until 9pm at Middlesbrough Central Library, will be the launch of Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie's new pamphlet collection, Kids (Mudfog Press). The evening will feature a multimedia performance of poems inspired by and reflecting upon Charlie Chaplin's 1921 classic The Kid, accompanied on piano by Anton Flint. Plus music from the Mark Boden Flamenco Trio, Simon Stephenson and Kale Houlsby. 

For more information about these and all the other events at the festival, go to

A Pint of Poetry at Peterborough Arts Festival this July

The weekend of the 7th and 8th July will have a shed-load of poetry entertainment in the Spoken Word tent, run by Mark and Keely. This year should be loads of fun, but, more importantly, It's a chance showcase spoken word to the rest of Peterborough.

On the Saturday we've got some of the best spoken word artists in the country, including local artist, Max Melton. We've also got Poets Vs Rappers and the awesome Harry Baker to bring it all to an end. Incredible stuff!

The Sunday is really exciting as well. We've got two original commissions, an hour long Hammer and Tongue Slam, Voyager Academy's Slam team (who are AMAZING!) We've got Mark Neil as our headliner as well - phew!

Saturday 7th July 2012

12-1pm         Pint of Poetry 
1.-1.20pm      Superbard 
1.20-1.40pm Rob Auton 
1.40-2.00pm Max Melton 
2.05-2.30pm Salena Godden
2.30-3pm       Sanity Valve
3-3.30pm  Locality
3.30-4.30pm Rappers V Poets 
4.30-5pm       Harry Baker - (the current National, European and World Slam Champion).

Sunday 8th July 2012

12-1pm                 Pint of Poetry
1-1.20pm               Tina Sederholm
1.20-1.40pm         Steve Larkin
1.40-2.05pm          Lucy Ayrton
2.05pm-2.20pm First commission (Leanne Moden)
2.20pm -2.40pm Second commission (Pint of Poetry regular, Alex Tyler!)
2.40pm-3.00pm    Voyager Academy youth slam team
3.00pm-4.00pm Hammer and Tongue Slam
4.00pm-4.30pm MC Mixy 
4.30pm-5.00pm Mark Niel

These are all absolutely brilliant acts, and some have never been to Peterborough before. We're really looking forward to seeing you down there, pints in hand!

Summer, Mark and Richard,
The Pint of Poetry Team