Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Flash in the Pen New Welsh Review launch Microfiction Competition

In celebration of the forthcoming 100th edition of Wales’ foremost literary magazine, NWR is launching a mircroficiton competition which will be judged by writer Cynan Jones. The competition welcomes very short stories of only 100 words and the first prize includes £100, kindly donated by Granta Books, plus a packed hamper of books from Welsh publishers and writers worth over £200. The winning entry will also be published in NWR 101 in the autumn. Entries are welcome from writers across the UK.
Cynan Jones will announce the winners on Tuesday 28th May at a NWR 100 party on the Hay Festival site, sponsored by the Rendel Chair at the Department of English and Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University.

Publishers who have donated to the prize hamper are as follows: Granta Books, Seren Books, Cinnamon Press, Honno Press, University of Wales Press, Alcemi, Parthian Books, Bloodaxe and NWR.

Closing date for entries: Friday 10th May 2013.

You can find more out about the competition here.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Invite to Tender from Literature Wales - Writing Workshops themed on Dylan Thomas

Literature Wales is the national organisation for developing literature in Wales, and part of its vision is to develop the creativity and literacy skills of children and young people. To mark Dylan Thomas’s centenary in 2014, Literature Wales, funded by Welsh Government will launch a new project called Dylanwad / Developing Dylan which will form part of the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations taking place in 2014.
Commission to develop workshops and teaching pack

Literature Wales is looking for a contractor to devise six new one-hour creative writing workshops (for Key Stages 2, 3 & 4, in Welsh and in English) themed on Dylan Thomas’ work.

Literature Wales invites applications for tender to devise six one-hour workshops (for Key Stages 2, 3 & 4, in English and in Welsh) that will reflect current curriculum requirements in Wales, including those of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework. Each workshop will be specifically tailored to the relevant Key Stage, ensuring proper provision for differentiated learning and allowing children and young people the freedom to explore. All six workshops will introduce Thomas’ characters, anecdotes, themes, poetry and prose.

Applicants (or sub-contractors) must be fully bilingual as the workshops will need to be devised in Welsh and in English. Workshops cannot be translated like-for-like – Welsh and English language content should reflect contrasting cultural and linguistic traditions.

This commission can be applied for alongside the complementary commission to develop cross art-form day workshops (see below), or it can be applied for in isolation.

Deadline for applications: 5.00 pm on Friday 3rd May 2013

Click here for more information on the application process and requirements of the tender.


Commission to develop a new cross art-form day workshop

Literature Wales is also looking to commission a contractor to develop a new cross art-form day workshop for disaffected and disadvantaged children and young people.

Literature Wales invites applications for tender to devise a new cross art-form day workshop themed on Dylan Thomas. The day workshop will target disaffected and disadvantaged children in Key Stages 3 & 4 (i.e. suitable for ages 11-16). In order to increase the accessibility of Dylan Thomas for disadvantaged and disaffected young people, the day workshop will focus on the development of literary ideas rather than the practice of creative writing. The workshop could focus on Thomas’ love of cinema, his documentary propaganda film scripts during the Second World War, his screenplays, his characters, anecdotes, themes, poetry and prose.

Applicants (or sub-contractors) must be fully bilingual as the day session will need to be devised separately in Welsh and in English. The day workshop outline cannot be translated like-for-like, although the general perameters for the two can be the same.

This commission can be applied for alongside the complementary commission to develop one-hour workshops and teaching packs, or it can be applied for in isolation.

Deadline for applications: 5.00 pm on Friday 3rd May 2013

Click here for more information on the application process and requirements of the tender.



To launch the call for submissions for their latest project, the Young Curators’ Forum is proud to present a free creative workshop with Fenland Poet Laureate Leanne Moden and Lead Young Curator Brandon Mattless.

The project has been made possible with support from local arts organisation Atelier East and the Cambridgeshire based charity, Young Lives.

The workshop is suitable for adults and children over 11, and participants will be invited to use museum artifacts as a creative springboard, writing short stories, drawing pictures and composing poems based on their response to the objects and displays.

Leanne and Brandon will lead a series of activities designed to help get the creativity flowing, and there’ll also be plenty of time to look around the museum for inspiration.

The workshop runs from 10:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday 11th May at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Museum Square, Wisbech. Participation is free, but places are allocated on a first come, first serve basis, so please call the museum on 01945 583817, or email info@karen-harvey.co.uk to book your place.

The Young Curator’s Forum will also be putting together a booklet of creative work celebrating the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, and they’d like to hear from you.

Submissions can be in the form of poems, short stories or drawings, but all must be based on or inspired by the collections at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum. Adults and children of all ages are welcome to enter. Please send your submission to infor@karen-harvey.co.uk with your name, contact telephone number, and the name of the museum artifact that inspired you. The closing date for submissions is Friday 31st May 2013.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Guest Post by children's poetry blogger Sylvia Vardell "Blast from the Poetry Past:1974"

Blast from the Poetry Past: 1974

Shel Silverstein published his first of several irreverent works, 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' in 1974. It would become the bestselling children’s poetry book ever. (There's also a CD of selected poems performed by Shel himself and a 30th anniversary edition with additional poems.) When I taught sixth grade (back in 1976!), this was THE ONE book I always said I would want to have with me if I were stranded on a desert island with my students!

This same year, scholar Ann Terry conducted a touchstone study of the poetry preferences of elementary school students finding a predilection for rhyme, narrative, and humor. Her study is still cited as the baseline for where to start in sharing poetry with children.

Contemporary Connections
Even though he passed away, Silverstein’s poetry continues with this posthumous collection:

Silverstein, Shel. 2011. 'Every Thing On It'. New York: HarperCollins.

And for more humor and outrageousness, check out Katz, Katz, and Katz:

Image credit: JohnLund.com
Katz, Alan. 2008. Oops. McElderry.
Katz, Alan. 2011. Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking. Simon & Schuster.
Katz, Bobbi. 2001. A Rumpus of Rhymes:  A Book of Noisy Poems.  Dutton.
Katz, Bobbi. 2004. Pocket Poems. Dutton.
Katz, Bobbi. 2009. More Pocket Poems. Dutton.
Katz, Bobbi. 2009. The Monsterologist; A Memoir in Rhyme. Sterling.
Katz, Susan. 2002. Mrs. Brown on Exhibit: And Other Museum Poems. Simon & Schuster.
Katz, Susan. 2004. A Revolutionary Field Trip: Poems of Colonial America.  Simon & Schuster.
Katz, Susan. 2007. Oh, Theodore! Guinea Pig Poems.  Clarion.
Katz, Susan. 2011. The President’s Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About U.S. Presidents.

What’s up with those funny Katzes?!

A huge thank you to Sylvia for letting us use this post from her blog as a guest post on ours. Sylvia has a range of posts at http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.co.uk looking at poetry from the 19th Century to the present day - great reading, we recommend you go over and take a look yourself! 

You can find out more about Shel Silverstein here.

You can read a selection of Shel Silverstein's poetry here - 'Whatif' being a favourite of ours!  

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Piers Secunda - "A Retrospective" at the Updown Gallery, Ramsgate, 21st June - 27th July 2013

“Making a record of the time in which you are alive is, I believe, the most important thing an artist can do.” Piers Secunda
Ten years of work presented in a unique retrospective of artwork by compulsive risk-taker and groundbreaking artist Piers Secunda

Updown Gallery is delighted to present a major solo exhibition by pioneering artist Piers Secunda, featuring important works made across a period of ten years. Piers Secunda – A Retrospective runs 21st June – 27th July 2013 at Updown Gallery, Ramsgate. This large new commercial gallery counts a major Bridget Riley retrospective and '60 Years of Peter Blake Prints’ amongst its first exhibitions.

Since 2009, when Secunda and his interpreter encouraged soldiers from the Chinese Army (PLA) to shoot some works for him on a firing range near Shanghai, the artist has travelled around the world to gather bullet holes, both cast and shot. The China works started an ongoing series which continues to run, and which in 2010 took him to Kabul, Afghanistan, to mould Taliban bullet holes from suicide bomb sites. The resulting works have been described by art book publishers Phaidon as “the most compelling works to have come out of the Taliban conflict.”

This wide-ranging exhibition will cover Secunda’s renowned “Bullet Hole” series – in which his practice incorporates bullet holes shot and cast in some of the world’s most notorious danger zones, including Afghanistan and the no-go neighbourhoods of Kingston, Jamaica – to his most recent assemblages and crude oil silk screens.

The comprehensive showcase provides an insight into an extraordinary and stunning studio practice, which records some of the most important social and political practice conversations of our time.

The works in the retrospective range from simple moulded forms to intricately detailed, hand-held objects with multiple moving parts, such as the Chinese Puzzle Balls – the common theme across the exhibition being that all the works are made out of paint.

Over 17 years Secunda’s artistic practice has evolved around the use of paint as a sculptural medium, and has resulted in highly complex structures created from paint alone. It is the combination of innovative techniques within a powerfully symbolic setting that sets this method apart. Secunda’s work is often steeped in forgotten histories and laced with geo-political references, such as printing with crude oil, ultimately producing work full of rich narratives – while simultaneously pushing paint to its absolute limits.

“I have always been bothered by the physical restraints of the canvas. For me it limits what a painting can be, so I've disposed of it and I handle the paint on its own – by default the paint behaves like a sculptural material.” Piers Secunda

In June 2012, Secunda went to Jamaica to mould bullet holes made by the Jamaican police and army during the drug wars which erupted in Kingston in 2010 at the cost of some 200 lives. With unprecedented access to cartel heads, gang leaders and local hit men, Secunda was able to record the recent violence in his art - and even persuade the criminals to shoot surfaces from which to create his work.

Secunda’s work in both Afghanistan and Jamaica can be seen in his extraordinary short films:
Afghanistan:          http://www.pierssecunda.com/film-01.html
Jamaica:                 http://www.pierssecunda.com/film-03.html

Increasingly aware of how contemporary lives are entirely facilitated by oil, and setting out to record the petro-chemical age with the oil itself, Secunda was able to make crude oil behave like paint and began to screen print images in 2009. The works portray the defining moments of the petro-chemical age – using oils from the locations portrayed in his prints.

The crude oil project will span Secunda’s lifetime – and will cover the key moments in the defining material of our age. His project reveals little-known world-changing moments such as the first discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia in 1937 (Dammam No. 7, left), an event which dramatically changed the balance of both politics and economics.

Piers Secunda – A Retrospective also features several assemblage works and editions. Secunda’s assemblages are unique works in paint. They have been part of the practice as it has evolved over a decade and a half. Varying in size from an 8cm ball to a 1m cube consisting of every rejected work from his studio over a period of a decade, the works push the limits of his practice and show us the potential for paint’s diversity. 

You can find out more about Piers' work here.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Emily Wilding Davison Centenary: writing competition

A national writing competition has just been launched as part of the Emily Inspires! programme of events to mark 100 years since the death of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison from injuries sustained when struck by the King’s racehorse at Epsom Derby and to commemorate her Northumberland roots. The writing competition is run by audio entertainment site listenupnorth.com in partnership with Northumberland Libraries.

Judges include writers Wendy Robertson, Michael Chaplin and Janet MacLeod Trotter. There will be first, second & third prizes for both national and best of Northumberland entries and the winning entries will be read out over the Emily Inspires! Centennial weekend in Morpeth (13-15 June) and recorded for listenupnorth.com. For more information go to www.emilyinspires.net.

Monday, 22 April 2013

London Literature Festival Event - Sylvia Plath's 'Ariel' - Sunday 26th May 2013, Southbank Centre

Sylvia Plath died 50 years ago leaving a black binder of poems that was to become her final, posthumously published collection, Ariel.

Now 40 leading female poets and performers read one poem each from the restored edition of the final unedited manuscript in an evening introduced by Plath's daughter, Frieda Hughes.

The readers are - Maureen Beattie, Emily Berry, Lily Bevan, Samantha Bond, Emily Bruni, Kirsty Bushell, Anna Chancellor, Gillian Clarke, Julia Copus, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Imtiaz Dharker, Amanda Drew, Noma Dumezweni, Ruth Fainlight, Kate Fahy, Vicki Feaver, Deborah Findlay, Stella Gonet, Haydn Gwynne, Victoria Hamilton, Anastasia Hille, Joan Iyiola, Phyllis Logan, Amy McAllister, Lizzy McInnerny, Pamela Miles, Amy Morgan, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Siobhan Redmond, Miranda Richardson, Jo Shapcott, Jean Sprackland, Gerda Stevenson, Juliet Stevenson, Harriet Walter, and Susan Wooldridge.

'In these poems… Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created.' (Robert Lowell)

You can book your tickets here.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Strangest Thankyou, a debut poetry collection by Richard Thomas

The Strangest Thankyou
By Richard Thomas
Published by Cultured Llama
RRP £8 (paperback)
ISBN  978-0-9568921-5-7

The Strangest Thankyou is the refreshing debut poetry collection from Richard Thomas, published my Cultured Llama in November 2012:

‘Richard Thomas’s debut poetry collection embraces the magical and the mundane, the exotic and the everyday, the surreal rooted in reality.

Grand poetic themes of love, death and great lives are cut with surprising twists and playful use of language, shape, form and imagery. The poet seeks ‘an array of wonder’ in “Dig” and spreads his ‘riches’ throughout The Strangest Thankyou.’

Richard says of The Strangest Thankyou, ‘Strangeness is delivered daily by the edicts of life. It comes with bewilderment, intrigue and colour and it produces daily poetry. For that I feel the least I can do is say ‘thankyou’, and, at most, return the poetry to the source that inspired it in the form of my first book of poems, The Strangest Thankyou.’

And with that, the collection has been receiving high praise around the UK:

‘…Did I mention ‘journey’? This book takes me on one. It begins with a journey, in ‘Nature’, and a choice: “towering grey pylons” or the “sweet abstract of trees.” The poet longs to be part of “gentle nature… take your oath and make a grand old oak.” The poet’s affinity with Nature- or a longing for that affinity- reappears throughout the book...’ - Reflections

‘…There's a clear sense of literary tradition in his work, whether that of the 20th century, as in the obvious 'surreal connection', or with an earlier romantic mode of writing. In 'Good Reason to Die' for example, there's a strong hint of an Elizabethan influence yet this is presented with such a down-to-earth 'lack of flourish', which is both very funny and strangely moving…’ – Stride Magazine

‘…The writing here is absorbing, unpredictable and recognisable; the young poet has found his voice during the writing of these pieces and it is one you can imagine chatting to over a coffee or pontificating with about space, with both a tongue in cheek and hand on its chin; marvelous…’ – Message in a Bottle

‘…a mature and well crafted poetic voice in a well thought-out, cohesive book.  The collection comes across as a piece of work that sits well together and displays the full voice of a poet with a burning talent, through some of the imagery used in the poetry and technically…’ – Kettle and Yarn

The Strangest Thankyou is available for £8.00 from: www.culturedllama.co.uk, online retailers and your local bookshop.

Find out more about Richard and keep updated: www.richarchristopherthomas.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Goodbye from NALD (The National Association for Literature Development)

The National Association for Literature Development (NALD) has disbanded after twenty years of active work on behalf of readers, writers and literature development workers.

Starting its life as the National Association of Literature Development Workers, the organisation has seen governments, arts councils, policies, strategies, fashions and fads come and go. At its heart, however, the belief that reading and writing could change lives, and that those who worked with readers and writers could benefit by sharing knowledge and resources, remains unshaken.

The current Board of Directors believes just as passionately that talent, access, opportunity, excellence, diversity and plurality are crucial values for those working in the literature sector. However, the means to promote, secure and advance these values have changed and continue to change, and NALD is no longer the best way of servicing the sector and the people working in it.

We received hundreds of applications from you to put our remaining funds to good use in the sector and we're very excited about the eight projects we have chosen for the NALD Futures Fund, which will together make up the NALD legacy. Among the projects, there's reader development, talent encouragement, research, new partnerships and the creation of new work. Details can be found here.

We would like to thank all those many, many people who have been active in NALD’s work over the past two decades. There are too many to name individually here but the Board’s particular thanks go to Steve Dearden for his two crucial stints as Director in the course of the company’s history.

The National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) will be broadening their remit to include more literature development opportunities. You can follow them on Twitter here, sign up to the weekly bulletin here, and contact Wes Brown w.brown@nawe.co.uk to share your news for the sector.

We hope that the networks, enthusiasm, professional development opportunities and passion for what we do that NALD championed for so long continues to be felt by the coming generation of literature development workers.

Source: Press release

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Fresh Look for Symmetry Pebbles (Poetry & Art Magazine)

Symmetry Pebbles is a webzine publishing fresh, exciting and pioneering contemporary poetry and art. Founded in 2011 by editor, Richard Thomas, the publication has already made a stir, racking up an impressive following of subscribers and contributors.

Symmetry Pebbles prides itself on having published work from all corners of the globe, the standard of which has been award-winning: ‘One Winter’ by American poet Rodney Nelson was given a Poetry Kit Award for Richard’s editorial selection and publication of it.

The free publication has been solely run by Richard for over two years now, with a focused idea to expose new, experimenting talent. Originally producing free downloadable e-zines for subscribers, Symmetry Pebbles has made a few changes to its format lately.

Richard recently become a father and so has simplified his publication in order to keep it going, publishing new work on a regular basis. Now, running in a ‘webzine’ format, users can find everything within the simple website layout. Symmetry Pebbles is regularly updated with poetry, art, reviews, articles and essays. A featured poet and featured artist are appointed intermittently with a full interview and examples of their work.

Why not head over to www.symmetrypebbles.com and check it out now, you can also subscribe for free monthly updates and other exclusive subscriber-only goodies.

Symmetry Pebbles is continuously seeking new submissions. If you’re a poet and think your work would fit in with the SP vibe then send no more than three poems, along with a one-line bio to submissions@symmetrypebbles.com. Similarly, if you would like to submit artwork of any kind, send no more than three JPEG’s of your work to the address above, with your one-line bio and web address if you have one.

And Symmetry Pebbles is always welcoming new contributors of poetry book reviews and poetry related articles. If you are interested in reviewing books, or have an interesting idea for an article or essay, email editor@symmetrypebbles.com with your writer’s CV and an example of your work. Or, alternatively, should you have already written a review  (up to 850 words), article or essay (up to 1000 words) and you are looking for publication of it, send it to the above address and we’ll see if it fits in with the SP ethos.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Oundle Literature Festival

Friday 19th April : Peter Murphy talks about his new book "A Higher Duty"    

Peter Murphy was born in 1946. After graduating from Cambridge University he spent a career in the law, as an advocate and teacher, both in England and the United States. His legal work included a number of years in The Hague as defence counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal. He lives with his wife, Chris, in Cambridgeshire.

A Higher Duty is the first in an exciting new series set in 1960s London, detailing the prejudice and scandals of working at the Bar at this time.

Four barristers in two fiercely competitive chambers represent the opposing sides of a bitter divorce. Intrigue, hypocrisy, blackmail and long concealed murder result in a deadly game of double bluff.

Peter’s own experiences obviously add greatly to the atmosphere and accuracy of the book. His work has been compared to the BBC drama Silk and ITV's Kavanagh QC.

Peter Murphy is at St Peter's Church, Oundle at 7.30pm on Friday 19th April. 

Anne de Courcy tells us about her latest book "The Fishing Fleet: Husband Hunting in the Raj" - Friday 3rd May  
Anne de Courcy is a well-known writer, journalist and book reviewer. In the 1970s she was Woman’s Editor on the London Evening News until its demise in 1980, when she joined the Evening Standard as a columnist and feature-writer. In 1982 she joined the Daily Mail as a feature writer, with a special interest in historical subjects, leaving in 2003 to concentrate on books, on which she has talked widely both here and in the United States.

The Fishing Fleet was the name given to the countless young ladies that travelled to India during the Raj in search of excitement and adventure.

A hectic social life greeted them on arrival, with tiger-shooting, parties and balls, and with men outnumbering women four to one, romances and marriages were frequent – but after the honeymoon life often changed dramatically.

Anne de Courcy explores the reality of life for these young adventuresses on the other side of the world, and with the help of diaries and letters rescued from attics she brings this forgotten era vividly to life.

Anne de Courcy is at St Peter's Church, Oundle at 7.30pm on Friday 3rd May.


Saturday 18th May : Jason Lewis, explorer and author, who will be talking about the first human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth, described in his trilogy "The Expedition".         

Jason Lewis is an award-winning adventurer, author, and sustainability activist specializing in human-powered expeditions.

In 2007, he became the first person to circumnavigate the Earth without using motors or sails: walking, cycling, and inline skating five continents, and kayaking, swimming, rowing, and pedalling a boat across the rivers, seas, and oceans. Taking thirteen years to complete, the 46,505-mile journey was hailed “the last great first for circumnavigation” by the Sunday Times.

Jason will be talking about his new book which is called "Dark Waters" and is the first part of a trilogy entitled "The Expedition".

During his journey he survived a terrifying crocodile attack off Australia’s Queensland coast, blood poisoning in the middle of the Pacific, malaria in Indonesia and China and acute mountain sickness in the Himalayas. He was hit by a drunk driver and left for dead with two broken legs in Colorado and incarcerated for espionage on the Sudan-Egypt border Sudan-Egypt border…

“An epic journey that few can rival… I admire Jason's tenacity so much.” Bear Grylls

Jason Lewis is at St Peter's Church, Oundle at 7.30pm on Saturday 18th May.
Tickets £7 (£5) from Oundle Box Office 01832 274734

Any queries about specific events, please contact Helen Shair at oundlelitfestival@hotmail.co.uk or telephone 01832 274134.

See the full programme and past events at www.oundlefestival.org.uk


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Impac Literary Award shortlist announced

 The shortlist includes Haruki Murakami and past winners Michel Houellebecq and Andrew Miller.

The award, worth 100,000 Euros (£81,000), is open to novels in any language provided they have been published in, or translated into, English.

Last year Jon McGregor won for his third novel, “Even the Dogs”.

This year's list includes “City of Bohane” by Irish author Kevin Barry, five novels in translation, one British and three American novels.

Miller's book “Pure”, set in a Parisian cemetery in the run up to the French revolution, was named Costa Book of the Year last year.

He won the Impac prize in 1999 for his novel “Ingenious Pain”.

Controversial French author Houellebecq - who was awarded the prize in 2002 for his novel “Atomised” - has been nominated for his work “The Map and the Territory”, which features himself as a fictitious character.

Full list of nominees

    “City of Bohane” by Kevin Barry (Irish)
    “The Map and the Territory” by Michel Houellebecq (French)
    “Pure” by Andrew Miller (British)
    “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami (Japanese)
    “The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka (Japanese American)
    “The Tragedy of Arthur” by Arthur Phillips (American)
    “Swamplandia!” by Karen Russell (American)
    “From the Mouth” of the Whale by Sjon (Icelandic)
    “The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am” by Kjersti Skomsvold (Norwegian)
    “Caesarion” by Tommy Wieringa (Dutch)

'High quality'

Murakami's book 1Q84 was described in its nomination as "a gripping, intelligent and unusual read with characters and situations that fascinate and challenge the reader".

"This is a list of high quality literature that includes five novels in translation which readers might not otherwise get the opportunity to read", said Dublin Lord Mayor Naoise O'Muiri. "I am delighted to see an Irish author on the list."

The 10 titles were nominated by public libraries in Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands and the USA.

Dublin City librarian Margaret Hayes said: "This is the highest number of books in translation on the shortlist since the award began and it is wonderful to have novels from Japan and Iceland as well as France, The Netherlands and Norway.

"I urge readers to get stuck in and enjoy the humour and sadness, history and fantasy, teenage and elderly angst on this year's shortlist."

The five member international judging panel will pick a winner to be announced on 6th June.

The award is organised by Dublin city libraries on behalf of Dublin City Council.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Unforgettable Literary Adventures: 2013 Literature Wales' Literary Tourism Events Programme

“What a truly amazing day. It was magical to be in that landscape, and to hear breathtaking words about it while we were there. It was a really spectacular experience that will live long in my memory” 2012 Audience Member

Further, faster and bumpier than ever before, Literature Wales’ 2013 Literary Tourism Events Programme will take you on horseback, bicycle, canoe or on foot, to explore the Wild West, the legends of Arthurian and Medieval Wales, Submarine Swansea, Neolithic Anglesey and the ghosts of Ceredigion.

Located across Wales and beyond, these experiences take you to the heart of the places and themes which inspired and forged the nation’s creative writers – from old favourites such as RS Thomas, Dylan Thomas and Dafydd ap Gwilym, to current greats such as Rachel Trezise, Dannie Abse, Niall Griffiths and Joe Dunthorne. Sparkle on the Taf Estuary, soar with the birds of Ynys-hir, wobble on the tracks of Waldo Williams, rock out in prehistory with a legendary punk musician, and re-visit a teenager’s Swansea - you don’t have to be an experienced rambler, cyclist, horse-rider or canoeist to take part. Just bring yourself, sturdy shoes and plenty of anticipation.

Look out for special Thomas tours: to mark the RS Thomas 2013 Centenary, and to whet your appetite for the Dylan Thomas Centenary celebrations in 2014.

Literature Wales CEO Lleucu Siencyn said: “What could be better than getting outside to play in Wales’ stunning landscapes, whatever the weather? Literature Wales’ literary tours offer so much – they’re fun, sociable, quirky, active, interesting and totally unique. Why not take the chance to explore this landscape in the company of some of Wales’ best writers”

Tour highlights (English language) include:

Saturday 18th May – Literary Ogmore
Cross the River Ogmore on horseback with writers Tom Anderson and Kate North, and listen to the iconic Dannie Abse talk about his love for this part of the Glamorgan coastline. 

Saturday 15th June – The Wild West
Spend a Saturday evening with some of Wales’ finest and most sociable writers: Niall Griffiths, Cynan Jones and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch invite us to their favourite Ceredigion pubs to enjoy readings over drinks.

Friday 21st June – Neolithic Literary Anglesey
A Midsummer Day hike taking in five outstanding prehistoric monuments through the fantastical, archaeological and mystical eyes of punk rock musician Rhys Mwyn and writer and storyteller Fiona Collins.

Saturday 6th July – Submarine Swansea
Joe Dunthorne’s brilliant novel Submarine was quickly adapted into the hugely popular feature film starring Craig Roberts. Join both for a screening and foray into the places from Joe’s teenage years, the book and the film.

Saturday 20th July – Dylan Thomas’ Taf Estuary and New York Treat
Ride the eddies of Dylan Thomas’ life by canoe with Jeff Towns and John Goodby. If paddling isn’t your thing, share an evening of jazz and boutique New York food with Daniel G. Williams.

Saturday 14th September – Medieval Literature and Arthurian Legends at St. Asaph and Holywell
Follow the winding paths of the north-eastern corner of Wales with Raluca Radulescu, delving deep into the literary footsteps of King Arthur.

The 2013 programme runs from April to October 2013 with ticket prices starting from as little as £7.00 (£6.00 concessions). All tours work in partnership with other national organisations.

To request a brochure, book a place or for more information, contact Literature Wales on: post@literaturewales.org / 029 2047 2266.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Bestselling adult fiction author Roddy Doyle is one of this year's contenders for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, the oldest (established in 1936) and most prestigious accolade for children's writing in the UK. Nominated for A Greyhound of a Girl - an Irish family saga spanning four generations - a victory for Doyle would be an extremely rare feat; having scooped the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, Doyle would be one of only two authors to have claimed both prizes, thereby cementing his reputation as one of the leading novelists for both adults and children. Penelope Lively is the other.

 Hoping to thwart the veteran novelist's chances are three debut authors: R.J. Palacio with Wonder, her critically acclaimed story about facial disfigurement; Sarah Crossan, whose The Weight of Water gives a voice to an Eastern European girl struggling to come to terms with life in Britain; and Dave Shelton, with his unconventional adventure story, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat. The eight-strong shortlist of books, typified by challenging themes and epic storytelling, also includes: In Darkness, set in the horrific aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, by publishing director Nick Lake; Midwinterblood, an unsettling love story stretching across 
centuries, from award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick; gripping WW2 spy-thriller Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein; and Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner's dystopian novel which won last year's Costa Children's Book Award.

The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 shortlist in full:
  • The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan, Bloomsbury
  • A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle, Marion Lloyd Books
  • Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, Hot Key Books
  • In Darkness by Nick Lake, Bloomsbury
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Bodley Head
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, Indigo
  • A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton, David Fickling Books
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Electric Monkey
Whoever emerges triumphant at the awards ceremony in June will be a first-time winner of the Carnegie Medal and will join a roll-call of previous victors that reads like a who's who of children's writing - from Meg Rosoff, Terry Pratchett, and Philip Pullman, to C.S. Lewis, Noel Streatfeild, and Arthur Ransome, the first-ever recipient of the award. 

Today also sees the announcement of the shortlist for the celebrated CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, which rewards outstanding illustration in a children's book - the only prize of its kind in the UK. This year's shortlist includes previous double winners Helen Oxenbury and Emily Gravett, both looking to secure a place in the history books with an unprecedented third win. Oxenbury, who won her first Kate Greenaway Medal 44 years ago, pays homage to the late Maurice Sendak in her latest title, King Jack and the Dragon, with illustrations of a boy and beasts that are reminiscent of characters in Sendak's classic, Where the Wild Things Are. Gravett, who first took the prize in 2005, is this year nominated for Again!, which features a riotous splash of bright green and red and her trademark heavy pencil typography. 

Hoping to win for the first time, a host of up-and-coming and established illustrators make up the remaining six nominees on the shortlist. Highlighting the enormous range of style in contemporary children's illustration, this year's titles feature: a muted palate of earthy crayon in Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back; rich colour contrasted with inky black and white in Chris Mould's Pirates 'n' Pistols; traditional paintwork in Black Dog by Levi Pinfold; bold digital drawings in Chris Haughton's Oh No, George!; anarchic crayon in Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb, one of Children's Laureate Julia Donldson's illustrators; and, fittingly, watercolour, in Salvatore Rubbino's Just Ducks!

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013 shortlist in full:
  • Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb, Macmillan Children's Books
  • Again! by Emily Gravett, Macmillan Children's Books
  • Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton, Walker Books
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, Walker Books
  • Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould, Hodder Children's Books
  • King Jack and the Dragon by Helen Oxenbury (illustrator) and Peter Bently (author), Puffin Books
  • Black Dog by Levi Pinfold, Templar Publishing
  • Just Ducks! by Salvatore Rubbino (illustrator) and Nicola Davies (author), Walker Books
The winner of the 2013 Kate Greenaway Medal will be in illustrious company; previous winners of the Medal include Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes, Janet Ahlberg, Lauren Child and former Children's Laureates Quentin Blake and Anthony Browne.

Karen Robinson, Chair of the Judging Panel for 2013 and Youth Libraries Group Chair elect, said: "Frequently authors and illustrators refer to the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals as the awards that they 'most want to win' - they are perceived to be the gold standard of the children's book world. Judged by a panel of children's librarians, the shortlist meetings are notoriously impassioned and long, with this year's proving no exception. 

"Masterful storytelling is in evidence in the Carnegie list, with powerful narratives leaping out and pulling the reader in. Big themes such as family death, disfigurement, genocide, and the devastating aftermath of the Haiti earthquake are handled with honesty, style and beauty.
"Meanwhile there is much to admire, ponder, and laugh out loud at on the vibrant Kate Greenaway shortlist, which features a stunning range of illustration styles in titles from the established, through to the rising stars of picture books.
 "Within these fantastic shortlists rest the children's classics of the future. I urge everyone to head to their local library and enjoy them all!"

The winners for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal will be announced on Wednesday 19th June 2013 at an afternoon ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London. The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library and the coveted golden medals. Since 2000, the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal has also been awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize. 

About the CILIP Carnegie Medal
The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually, was established in 1936, in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919). A self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA, Carnegie's experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that "If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries." He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English speaking world and, by the time of his death, over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries. 

About the CILIP Kate Greenaway MedalThe Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her beautiful children's illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

 Source: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk

Monday, 8 April 2013

Guest Blog from Pete 'Cardinal' Cox, Poet

Right at the beginning of March I went over to Wisbech for the final of the second Fenland Poet Laureate competition that was held at the glorious local museum. Every time I go there I find something new, this time it was a miniature portrait of Chang and Eng, the original Siamese Twins. No idea what that was doing in Wisbech. Usually with these competitions there are a few that you think are good and a few middling ones so you’re left thinking anyone of those four or five could be winners. Not at this final though, all twelve finalists were top rate and I was so glad not to have been a judge. For those who received Highly Commended certificates I can only say that they were very unlucky, in many other competitions they’d have easily got in to the top three. The winner was Leanne Moden who I’d seen perform at Verbal Remedies as part of the We Love Words festival in Peterborough last September. A name to keep an eye on.

The previous Fenland Laureate, Elaine Ewart, has a blog at flightfeather.wordpress.com Well worth having a perusal of.

Couple of weeks later and I was persuaded to be part of the judging team at a poetry at one of Peterborough’s Academies. In the thirty years since I left Stanground Comprehensive I’ve not had many reason’s to pass through the portals of any secondary schools, so when I was offered the chance to have a look around the Academy to while away some time I thought I would. Dance Studio. Recording Studio. Computer suite with sixty machines. I think our school had a photograph of a computer…Times do change. The competitors were pupils in the Academy and were split between rappers and more traditional poets. So not easy to judge, and the book I mentioned in the February blog post (Poets Ranked by Beard Weight) was of no use what-so-ever. The best thing about the slam was that it had been organised by the pupils themselves and that is encouraging.

On Good Friday I performed a poem as part of the City Centre inter-denominational service.  When I’d been initially asked I thought I could probably write something about Hot Cross Buns, but then, when working on that I started to wonder about Judas. Did he have free-will? If he didn’t, and Jesus’ crucifixion is supposed to be part of some plan, then Judas doesn’t deserve his place at the lowest point of Hell in Dante’s Inferno. If he did have free-will, what might have happened if Jesus hadn’t been crucified? I raised these points with the minister who’d invited me to take part and he was able to p
rovide me with some theological pointers and point out that that wasn’t what they wanted in my poem and could I do something about Jesus’ cry on the cross of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…”

Which I did and people seemed happy with, which isn’t bad for an agnostic like me.

Then the next day was the Find Me Keep Me give-away day that I’d mentioned in my last blog. As well as the Poetry A-Team there were art teams, craft teams, a music team and a theatre team. In the run up we’d scratched our collective noggins as to how we were going to give poetry away. One idea was to produce poetry beer mats so we could include a poetry pub crawl as part of our activities. Then we thought about sticking poems to old postcards and putting them into books in charity shops. A third idea was for a limited number of t-shirts, each with a poem on. As we’d have the poems, we thought we’d produce a poster featuring all six poems from each of the six poets as a limited edition anthology. Last idea was for a poetry lucky dip, just a decorated box that people could reach their hands into and to take a poem.

Ok, due to problems with timings with printers some of those ideas didn’t happen (but still could in the near future). I certainly spotted a couple of people with the poetry posters (A1 sized, decorated by members of the art teams) and the poetry lucky dip proved popular, though apparently one person returned their poem as they didn’t think it was suitable. My favourite though were the poetry postcards in the charity shops, as people will be continuing to find these for weeks, if not months, as the books are slowly bought.

For more details about the Poetry A-Team (and a photo of me in a dress) go to http://www.creativepeterborough.com/poetry-team/

Friday, 5 April 2013

Author Patrick Anderson Jr.’s Short Story Collection “Boiling Point” out now!

Author Patrick Anderson Jr.’s Short Story Collection “Boiling Point” Explores the Side Effects of Emotion Repression

Miami author and resident, Patrick Anderson Jr., recently released "Boiling Point," a 155-page short story collection that explores the actions of some extremely angry individuals. From a psychotic hit-man questioning a priest/mark on the meaning of life, to an abandoned astronaut staring at his lifeless planet, to an Iraq War veteran returning home to find everything he ever knew has changed, the characters in Boiling Point are all teetering on the edge.

“The overarching theme of the collection is something I didn’t really notice I was exploring until I saw the stories together,” says Anderson Jr. “It concerns this human divide between barbaric and civilized behavior in modern society. Like, we try so hard to stay refined, especially those among us who consider ourselves educated. We debate, pontificate, and try to use logic as much as possible throughout everyday situations, straining to control what’s going on inside of us, pushing our emotions away until they’re stacked in the garage of our minds like hostages. But eventually, given enough pressure, people always crack. Boiling Point explores those breaking points in the context of the characters within each story and the … unusual situations they find themselves in.”

Originally published in various magazines, including Prick of the Spindle, Sex and Murder Magazine, Ghostlight Magazine, Existere Journal of the Arts, The Washington Pastime, Writes for All Magazine, The Medulla Review, The Washington Pastime, and The Worcester Review (in which one of the stories in the collection—“Deserted”—was nominated for a Pushcart prize), each of the 10 darkly humorous stories in Boiling Point illuminate the human divide between civilized and barbaric behavior, and prove that—no matter the person—there’s only so much we can take before we break.
“Boiling Point” is available in print at Lulu.com, and in eBook format at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.com.
About Patrick Anderson Jr.
Patrick Anderson Jr. received his BA in English from Florida State University and his MFA in Creative Writing from University of Central Florida. Aside from the stories in “Boiling Point”, he has also pieces published in Silverthought, Miambiance, Midwest Literary Magazine, Bacopa Literary Review, and The Florida Review. A native of Miami, Patrick currently teaches English courses at Miami Dade College. Visit his website at www.PatrickAndersonJr.com

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Kate Tempest Wins 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work

Judges Maura Dooley, Ian Duhig and Cornelia Parker have presented the 2012 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry to Kate Tempest for 'Brand New Ancients' - an hour-long spoken story told over a live orchestral score.
Making the announcements, the judges said: “Our brief was to find the most exciting contribution to poetry this year. We judges were unanimous in feeling that Kate Tempest fulfilled this with knobs on! Lorca wrote that ‘a play is a poem standing up’ – Kate’s poem stands up in every way. Kate Tempest has created here an ambitious, unforgettable mythology and made us look at the world afresh. Kate’s work is full of promise for the future of poetry.”

The £5,000 prize is gifted by Carol Ann Duffy, funded from the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen. Kate Tempest was presented with her prize by Carol Ann Duffy at an award ceremony at the Savile Club, London, on Wednesday 27th March 2013, alongside the winner of the National Poetry Competition 2012. Now in its fourth year, the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry is awarded annually to recognise excellence and innovation in poetry. It is one of the only awards to acknowledge the wide range of work being produced by poets – not just in books, but beyond. Read more about Kate Tempest and Brand New Ancients here.
The judges considered work in a wide variety of forms for the award – from radio-plays and installations to books and sound works – including a number of interdisciplinary collaborations. Seven poets were then shortlisted alongside Kate Tempest: Colette Bryce, Roy Fisher, Ruth Padel, Mario Petrucci, Denise Riley and Tamar Yoseloff. For more information on the Shortlist click here.

Thanks to the Poetry Society for this news.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary – PHILIP REEVE revealed as fourth author in Puffin ebook series

Eleven Doctors. Eleven months. Eleven authors. Eleven stories.
A year long celebration for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who!

23rd April 2013

EBook RRP £1.99
ISBN: 9781405912129

The fourth instalment in a sensational series of stories celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is written by Philip Reeve, award-winning author of the Mortal Engines, Here Lies Arthur and Goblins.

Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi TV show in the world and celebrates its 50th anniversary on 23rd November 2013. To celebrate, Puffin – in partnership with BBC Worldwide – is publishing an exclusive series of eleven ebook short stories each based on one of the Eleven Doctors, priced at £1.99 and released on the 23rd of each month from January to November 2013. Each story is written by a different author, bringing together some of the most exciting names in children’s fiction, from commercial blockbusters to literary award-winners. These authors will each bring their own interpretation and reimagining of their chosen Doctor to create a unique Doctor Who adventure in their own inimitable style.

On 23rd January Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer launched the series with his story based on the First Doctor, A Big Hand for the Doctor, followed by Michael Scott’s Second Doctor adventure, The Nameless City, and Marcus Sedgwick’s Third Doctor story The Spear of Destiny. The authors of the subsequent eshorts will continue to be unveiled on the BBC Worldwide Doctor Who Facebook page on the first Tuesday of every month throughout the year. A promotional video featuring the author will be released on the 11th of each month on the BBC Worldwide Doctor Who YouTube channel.

Philip Reeve commented: ‘I started watching Doctor Who during the Tom Baker era and so to me he is the ‘real’ Doctor, and it was a huge honour to be asked to write about him. I tried to imagine myself to a Saturday teatime, circa 1979: a new Doctor Who story was about to begin – where would the TARDIS materialise and what would be waiting for it?’ 

When the Fourth Doctor takes Leela to visit an immense tree space station known as the Heligan Structure, little do they know that the tree has been asleep for centuries, dreaming of vengeance against a man in a blue box… As the tree awakes, the Time Lord and his companion soon discover why they are such unwelcome guests.


Philip Reeve was born in Brighton and worked in a book shop for many years before becoming a full-time illustrator and then turning to writing. His first novel, Mortal Engines, won the NestlĂ© Smarties Gold Award (2002), the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for both the Branford Boase Award and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. He has since won many more awards and accolades for his works including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2006 and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for A Darkling Plain and the 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal for Here Lies Arthur. His most recent titles are GOBLINS (2012) which was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and its sequel GOBLINS VS DWARVES (2013). He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son, Sam. For further information and to explore the author’s own curious world visit www.philip-reeve.com.