Happy July! I am settled in my new job and greatly enjoying life in Manchester. I have been taking part in a number of creative events, from meeting the recent US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, to being a member of the newly-formed International Foundation of Us, and having my jumper and scarf become archive items.
In May I took part in my second film-making weekend in Sheffield with the Writing Squad, and this time I had a starring role! I hope you enjoy Five New Messages
and my acting debut as Catherine, the hotel cleaner.
I reviewed The Space Between
by Meg Grehan for North West Libraries' Time to Read blog - I hope you enjoy reading about one of my favourite books.
I received a free ticket to see Siri Hustvedt at Manchester Literature Festival, as a member of the Festival's YA Steering Group. On a gorgeous spring evening, I headed to Deansgate Waterstones to hear Siri read from her new book, Memories of the Future
, and then discuss it with Katie Popperwell. Siri is clearly incredibly intelligent, with her own way of seeing the world and fascinating ideas about time and memory. It was a thought-provoking event.
I then attended the launch of Manchester Metropolitan University's journal aAh!, at which my friend Laura Potts performed her poetry. It was lovely to hear her, and we enjoyed a meal out afterwards.
The next day was the Northern Publishers' Fair at Manchester Central Library. I learnt about so many presses and publications, and met some cool people. I had a nice chat with Jo Clement, Editor of Butcher's Dog Magazine, and bought Issue 11, which I read in one sitting and really enjoyed.
I took part in two spoken-word nights in three days, with Verbose on Monday and Bad Language on Wednesday. It was intense, but fulfilling and fun. May's Verbose had the theme of Zodiac, and I shared my poem "Dogteeth"
, among others. My set at Bad Language included "Blood ghazal"
. At both events I chatted to some new people and had a good time. I also discovered Levenshulme and its colourful bee!
Again through the Manchester Literature Festival Steering Group, I was offered the chance to see Tracy K. Smith in conversation with Jackie Kay at the Central Library. It was an incredibly rainy June night, but for a couple of hours my world was lit up by incredible poetry and a great chat between two amazing women. I met both afterwards and got my books signed. They were so sweet and really uplifted me.
I attended a Writing Squad workshop at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, at which we decided to start the International Foundation of Us
. We reviewed books we love
- guess which is mine! - catalogued our possessions
and made podcasts
in which we discussed our creative inspirations and work. We also ate a lot of chocolate and grapes. It was a gentle and memorable day.
The poem I wrote during the Writing Squad Lunch Poems
workshop in Leeds earlier this year is also now online - I hope you enjoy "Sweet"
So, that was my spring, writing-wise. I'm hoping to keep the energy going for a positive, creative summer. I already have some new and exciting things lined up, from mentoring to festivals to radio to poetic film, so watch this space!
Thanks for reading.