The Year in Brief...


And what a year it’s been. Busier than ever it seems.

Edited highlights.

Glorious meetings with writers and talking with them about their books in front of audiences at Beverley and Ilkley literature Festivals. The moment when the lights when up at an event in Ilkley and I realised that I knew about twenty folk in the audience, two of whom from college days of nearly fifty years ago

Reading from latest collection ‘Cinema Stories’ and previous collections everybloodywhere [see google maps] from Ledbury Poetry Festival [where I met up with an old friend and his wife], to Cardiff to Sheffield, Haworth and Rochdale and even in Leeds, sometimes in the company of my estimable co-writer Matthew Hedley Stoppard, and sometimes on my own. The journeys themselves have often been particularly memorable, coming back to Leeds by the replacement buses [three I think] from Ledbury to Shrewsbury on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and evening through astonishing countryside. The next parts of the journey were just as beautiful as I took the train from Shrewsbury to Manchester and then another on to Leeds.

Working in schools continues to delight, and I would like to celebrate the work I carried out in Otley primary schools, and then Headingley primary schools [as part of the Headingley Literature Festival]. Only this morning in Headingley I bumped into a parent who had been at an assembly I had taken showcasing children’s writing. The prompts I use to stimulate the young people ranged from dragons, to Beowulf and to a tin-plate rhino [pictured]. In each school I wrote a poem using the same focus. It may be that there’s a collection of poetry for children developing there.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very lovely end to 2016, and best wishes for 2017.