Issue 57 of Now Then Manchester is here, and is full of bees! There are bee sculptures all over the city right now, and I love seeing them both in real life and on the site.
For this month's Word Life I set the theme of "Heroes", and was sent some lovely writing. We have poetry by Ann Christine Tabaka, Selin Candan, Alice Spencer, Robert Pelgrift, Abigail Elizabeth Ottley and Tyler Robert Sheldon.
There are also listings for various events happening over summer in Manchester, from writing workshops to spoken word nights to film-inspired performances.
I was very happy to read some of my poems at Open Mic Poetry, at the Old Courts in Wigan. This was my first visit to this monthly event, which is hosted by poet Louise Fazackerley, and I was made to feel very welcome.
The line-up was diverse - some writing was comedic, some emotional, and I appreciated the chance to hear it all. I met new people, and the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. I was also thrilled to discover I had won the poetry competition, which had the theme of "Growth".
It was a lovely evening and I hope to return in the future.
I had a great first visit to the Mancunian feminist spoken word night Stirred, which this month had the theme of Pirates and Adventurers.
I read some of my poems - about women and about the sea - and enjoyed hearing the amazing work of the other performers. I met Kate Garrett and Amy Kinsman - writers I knew online through the journals we edit (Foxglove, Picaroon, Riggwelter) - in person, and they were lovely.
I also met some new people, and the event had a cosy and welcoming vibe. I am very glad I made the journey - one complicated by train issues and weather - to the Three Minute Theatre.
I look forward to attending, and reading at, more spoken word events, in Manchester and beyond.
I have been Editor of the Word Life section of Now Then Manchester for a year and a half now, and something I have been wanting to do is to curate an issue devoted to showcasing LGBTQ+ writing.
I waited because I hoped to make as many people as possible aware of Word Life, so they knew to submit their work. I also reached out to people who may not usually share their writing through magazines, through getting in touch with the LGBT Foundation, who helped spread the word.
Now, after a lot of work, Issue 56 is now here, and I am very proud and happy. It features my poem "Raspberries" as well as writing by Emily Cave, Naomi Sampson, Frankie Blaus, Jasmine Taylor, Caitlin Johnson, Roma Havers and Leah Johnson.
As always, the page also has listings for literary events and workshops in Manchester, so if you live locally, perhaps you could try something new or practise a skill.
Well, to say the last couple of months have been hectic is an understatement. However, I succeeded in submitting all of my essays and translations, got my degree (an Integrated Professional Masters in Languages, in French and Spanish) and will be graduating this month!
I have also been working on my writing and other creative projects, and some exciting things have happened, with more on the horizon.
I was part of Open Mind Manchester's Mind Full of Art project to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing; my poem "Soap" appeared in the exhibition and the anthology.
I have continued to edit the Word Life section of Now Then Manchester; May's issue had the theme of "Friendship" and June's the theme of "Nature".
I have added some posts to my travel blog, Neither Here Nor There, so feel free to have a read and share my adventures in Galicia. Foxglove Journal is also going strong; have a look if you fancy some poetry and prose.
I am now looking forward to a summer of creativity - I have work coming up in Strix, The Lampeter Review, Coast to Coast to Coast, Novelty, Marble Poetry, Confingo, Far Off Places, the Young Identity Anthology and the New North Poets Anthology. I hope to do some poetry readings, too.
Thanks for reading, and following my writing journey.
Issue 55 of Now Then Manchester has arrived. As usual, I curated Word Life and this month I chose the theme of "Nature". My poem "Sara" features, as well as work by Caitlin Johnson, Peter Burrows, Ann Christine Tabaka and Joan McNerney.
There are also listings for all kinds of literary events in and around Manchester.
I am very happy that the article was shortlisted for Best Article, in the Media Awards section of the 2018 Students' Union Awards.
I was also shortlisted for Best Placard in the Communities Awards section, with the placard I made for the Reclaim the Night march. You can see its two sides above. It sadly disappeared after the march - if you have any idea where it could be, please let me know.
Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted or a winner at the Awards. For me this was a great way to celebrate my six years of studying at the University of Manchester, writing for The Mancunion and taking part in community projects.
Thanks to everyone who has supported my writing, art and other creative missions. I am very excited to see what the future will hold.
I am very happy that my poem "Before breakfast" has been chosen for publication in The Cardiff Review. It will be in the Spring 2018 issue, which is also their first Queer Issue and is now available to pre-order.
March and April were slightly surreal months this year, starting very cold and ending very warm. In Manchester we seemed to switch overnight from snow and ice to sun and blossoms.
I worked hard towards my degree and celebrated my twenty-fourth birthday and Earth Day. I tried new baking and film clubs, enjoyed the LGBT Foundation's Sugar and Spice Festival, and I feel I grew a lot. I also saw some writing milestones and achievements.
I performed at Verbose, a monthly spoken word night in Manchester, and read some of my poems at the Women on Top event at the LGBT Foundation. My poem "Soap" was featured in Open Mind Manchester's Mind Full of Art exhibition and anthology.
I took part in my second residential at Highgreen Arts in Northumberland, part of my prize for being chosen as a New North Poet at the 2017 Northern Writers' Awards. I was mentored by Clare Pollard and did a workshop with Antony Dunn, and overall, it was a lovely weekend.
I was very happy to have my poem "Soap" chosen for inclusion in Open Mind Manchester's Mind Full of Art project. The poem was featured in an exhibition on mental health and wellbeing at the University of Manchester, as well as in the Mind Full of Art anthology.
Our mental health is so important, and all too often in today's society it is neglected. Helping to raise awareness about it was an honour.
Highgreen is an elegant and comfy old manor house. The five New North Poets and our mentor, Clare Pollard, spent many an hour sitting around the fire doing writing activities and discussing and reading poetry. We also had a full-day workshop with the poet Antony Dunn, which was very useful.
I walked a lot, and found the local nature calming and inspiring. We enjoyed delicious veggie food and divine desserts - apple crumble, chocolate brownie, poached pear. We had lightning one night, which in the total darkness of the countryside was very dramatic. I would later write a poem about it.
Overall, it was a lovely weekend in great company. I hope to do more residentials in the future.