Opportunities for young writers

I was recently interviewed by Wes Brown, editor of Cadaverine Magazine, a website for young writers.

As Wes says, ‘The Cadaverine is designed for young adults - people aged between 16 and 25. We want to attract students, casual readers and those who enjoy reading but might not have had access to contemporary literature. It’s also for young writers of this age group so they have a forum to showcase their unique and often overlooked talents.’

Check out their great website (and an interview with me).

Endlessly creative

I spent the day in Hipperholme Grammar School, a small but perfectly formed school, just outside Brighouse in West Yorkshire, working with Year 8 in the morning, and Year 7 in the afternoon. The young people I worked with were charming, engaged and endlessly creative.

Life in the old dog

Some poetic forms seem to be the gold-standard by which others are judged. The sonnet is one of them.   A bit of a ‘free verse bloke’ by nature, I make occasional forays into the world of rhyme and metre almost as if to prove that I can ‘do’ rhyming and metrical poetry (see 'Ask Me What I Remember' in Coma Songs). I’m delighted when I read these poems out in performance and it seems that I have used rhyme and metre subtly enough for my audience not to have noticed it consciously, but to have experienced, perhaps, a heightened sense of the poem’s cohesion.  But  I had always imagined that the sonnet form was slightly beyond my reach; perhaps I was a bit too coarse-grained to write a convincing one. 

National Poetry Day

I’m really looking forward to National Poetry Day on October 4th.  I’m usually to be found working in libraries and schools, running workshops and performing, to celebrate the day.  Every year the day has a different theme;  this year it’s ‘dreams’, and I’ll be working in two Rotherham libraries, running a writing workshop in Rotherham Central Library in the afternoon, and performing as part of an open-mic session in the early evening at Wath Library. 

Check out the details on my forthcoming events page and, if you are local, do come along.  It should be fun. 

My 'new life' as a writer

Sometimes I’m stunned by what I still consider to be my 'new life' as a writer. What started ten years ago, with a chance meeting with one of my sister’s friends, award winning playwright and poet Char March, has resulted in my present busy career as a free-lance writer.

Barnsley building site

One Thursday morning in June, I  found myself on a building site in the middle of Barnsley in the pouring rain.  It was the beginning of work on a public art commission with designer  Dave Appleyard.  Our task was to take two formidably ugly electricity sub stations on the Mandela Gardens site, and change them into something of which the local community will be proud,  bearing in mind that this is a very public space in the heart of the town  The site visit, in monsoon conditions, was made more comic by me having to wear size 9 protective boots on my size 11 feet.  I tottered around like a little old Chinese lady with bound feet.  

We visited two local primary schools over the following weeks to develop ideas for the designs, and also get words from the young people themselves, which would cover the final structures.  The children from Pipers Grove and Doncaster Road Primary Schools really came up trumps with some fabulous designs and evocative words, full of pride in their home town, describing why Barnsley is such a special place.  The final poem The Ballad of Barnsley was constructed by me in the last week or so, using the pupils’ words as building blocks.  I’ll keep you posted as to when the structures are in place, and let you share the poem when it finally goes public, over the next months.