Monday 30 August 2021

A summer of writing, pride and magic


I hope you are having a nice summer, or whichever season it is with you. This has been a unique few months for me - very, very hot and sunny, with some incredible experiences, and moments of real magic. I have grown in confidence, and know myself better. 

 I enjoyed some big writing moments, from being published in Lighthouse and reading at the launch, to being featured on the Eat the Storms podcast, to taking part in Writing Dance and getting braver and freer when it comes to moving my body.

 There is so much more that I am proud of - read on to learn more!

Grants and commissions

My DYCP grant from Arts Council England is allowing me to spend some quality time on my poetry and performance skills. I have had my first sessions with each of my mentors, Caroline Bird and Rommi Smith. They have been really helpful, and I am excited to see what I can achieve in the coming months.

 I am enjoying working on my piece for Dibby Theatre's First Dibs project. Our Monday night study sessions have come to an end, and we are busy preparing our work for the showcase, The Assembly, which will take place in November, at HOME. Do consider coming along!

Writing Dance

Last year, I was selected for the Writing Dance project with Yorkshire Dance and The Writing Squad. Back in December 2020, we did some Zoom sessions, exploring writing and movement. My article on this experience, "Teamwork, freedom, and surprising myself", was published by Yorkshire Dance.

 After working virtually, it was really special to be able to meet in person for a week in July, at the Yorkshire Dance studios. Travelling to Leeds every day was a big change, and an adventure. 

 In time, I felt really at home at Yorkshire Dance - one memorable lunchtime, there was a thunderstorm outside, and I felt so cosy and safe in the studio. 

 I met lovely people, and was able to work in several different pairs and groups, to create a series of really diverse mini-projects. I enjoyed exploring new ways of moving, and I'm looking forward to further developing some of what I wrote.

 Overall, the Writing Dance week was, for me, a successful return to in-person collaboration, and I left feeling hopeful and empowered.

Proud publications and podcasting!

I've been part of a number of publications - and a podcast! - this summer, and I love that there has been a running theme of Pride and queer celebration.

 Exploring my identity, comforting readers who may be struggling, and fighting for justice and acceptance - it is so important, and is what I want to be doing as a writer.

 My essay "Becoming myself in the city" was commissioned and published by Aurelia Magazine, as part of their Future Hope series with Manchester International Festival. 

 In the essay, I look back over my time in Manchester, my coming out, and how walking in the city has helped me to take back control and work out what I want in life. I hope you enjoy it.

 A dream came true when my poem "The second time I am diagnosed with PCOS" was published in Issue 22 of Lighthouse, a magazine that had been on my radar for many years.

 I performed at the launch, which was a really nice evening. I am really keen to raise awareness around PCOS - especially as a queer voice.

 It was lovely to have my short story "Siren" published in York Literary Review 2021, and to attend the launch night. "Siren" is a coming-of-age story inspired by some of my own experiences, and my love of the Indigo Girls.

 My poem "Footseeds", about accepting both my height and my queerness, was published in the Pride issue of The Adriatic, with a perfect illustration by Kelsee Porter.

 My poem "This Pride" was published in the gorgeous A Pride of Lines zine from Coin-Operated Press. In the poem, I think back on my first two Manchester Prides (2018 and 2019), and the huge difference between them.

 I was delighted to have three poems - "Fishtails", "Like Christmas", and "Encore" - and a fiction piece - "A starfish is rejected" - published in Giving Room Mag, in their Queer Nostalgia issue. 

 I also have three poems in the first issue of with confetti. I hope you enjoy "Argo", "I've learnt I love women", and "Relief"

 It is an honour to be here at the beginning of this new queer platform, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they create next.

 My poem "Tomato season" was published in July's Visual Verse. I responded to the below image by Maria Victoria Rodriguez. and also thought about growth, and how personal and individual it is.

 I also have a poem in August's Visual Verse. "The sherbet day" was inspired by separation, distance and memory, as well as by this image by Veronica Lissandrini.

 I have enjoyed curating Foxglove Journal, and sharing my poem "Carnota", about one of my favourite places. 

 I visited when I was living in Galicia, and it was so beautiful there. I hope to return one day.

 Last, but very much not least, it was great to be invited to be a featured poet in the Eat the Storms podcast, and especially the Pride Party issue

 I enjoyed sharing my work, hearing friends read, and discovering some queer writers who were new to me. It was a warm, gentle evening.

 Coming up: I have a poem about desire and loneliness in the next issue of Under the Radar, which I can't wait to share. Watch this space!

Workshops and events

As well as the Lighthouse launch, I attended Sale Out Loud and shared some of my new poems with the lovely, supportive crowd there.

 I attended a fascinating Writing Squad workshop by Lenni Sanders, where I was introduced to flarf poetry, and we worked on a group poem about tadpoles, which was really fun.

 I attended Poetry Business workshops with River Wolton - who combined poetry with meditation, Suzannah Evans - who had us thinking about the future, and Andrew McMillan and Warda Yassin, who had us focusing on everyday objects and memory.

 I'm looking forward to an autumn of more Writing Squad and Poetry Business workshops. I am also hoping to run more workshops myself, so if you would be interested in attending, or in hosting me at a group or organisation, please do get in touch!

Baking, theatre, and languages

The Village Bakers had our first social back in-person, in Manchester Gay Village. It was wonderful to see many of my friends again, as well as some new faces. 

 I loved writing about the social - and many other exciting baking shenanigans - in our Summer Newsletter. It also includes my poem "Donuts at Southport".

 I also had a great time touring Oldham Coliseum Theatre as part of the Pathways creative group. It is a beautiful building, and I hope to stay involved in projects there.

 A languages update: I am enjoying refreshing my Mandarin Chinese on Duolingo. At the moment, I am working on subjects such as shopping, food, and hobbies. I am looking at hopefully taking the HSK Level 2 exam soon (I did my Level 1 a few years ago following my visit to Beijing).

 Thank you for sharing my writing journey with me - I hope you have enjoyed this update! 

 Hope you have a nice September.

 Speak soon,


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