WRITING DOWN DEEP – an Alchemy of the Writing Life

The talk on February 25 by Jan Fortune as she launched her book on writing was totally inspiring, and had the audience spellbound with its insights, suggestions and ideas – leading to a plethora of questions from the floor.

Jan’s son Rowan, himself an author and editor, interviewed Jan, giving a framework to the evening.

Digging deep, letting the story take you, becoming your story, not being bogged down by ‘end gaining’, writing with joy and freedom, being generous to (and curious about) yourself and your characters, using exercises and journalling…

I for one will definitely read the book and take Jan’s advice!

Jan and Rowan in full flow…

University Poetry Challenge

I couldn’t resist using this title, but what we had the evening of February 4 was not a competition between the University of Greenwich and Goldsmiths. It was an opportunity for us to appreciate the students’ skills with words and for the students to read in front of an audience – something which some had not experienced before. All showed great courage, writing confidence (and many were confident readers, too), a touching solidarity with each other and a wide range of interests and focus, from the very intimate and personal to the fate of whales (which felt equally intimate and personal…). The students had been asked by Cherry Smyth and Blake Morrison to submit a few short poems each, and poet extraordinaire Sascha Akhtar had kindly agreed to select three winner for each university. And to perform some of her poetry at the beginning, while Cherry and Blake did so at the end, after a lively students’ open mic session.

The prizes (book tokens) were presented by Sascha, who commented on the chosen poems. With infinite thanks to PnSEL (Poetry network South East London), who channelled a donation from an anonymous donor to in-words to make it all possible. A memorable evening with a large and very appreciative audience.

Some (rather poor) images of Sascha and some of the winners below. More to follow.

Events

It has become a cliche, but we are indeed in uncharted territory and none of us can predict when previously normal activities will resume. My message is: stay at home, stay well, stay fit. Assume that all the events below are going to be rescheduled to new dates in the autumn and winter if at all possible. I am leaving them where they are for the moment to whet your appetite… All the very best to you all.

April 28

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

TWO GIRLS AND A BEEHIVE
Rosie Jackson and Graham Burchell will launch Two Girls and a Beehive, their collaborative collection of poems, due to be published by Two Rivers Press (Reading) earlier that month. The poems follow the life and explore much of the work of visionary artist Stanley Spencer, as well as giving voice to his complex personal life and the relative invisibility of artist Hilda Carline, his first wife. With projected images of the artist’s works.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

May 12

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

Readings by the wonderful Chrissie Gittins and Wendy French

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome

June 23

West Greenwich Library
146 Greenwich High Rd
London SE10 8NN

NIGHT WATCHED
Celebrating the Solstice with Graham High‘s poetic look at the Astronomers Royal, the inimitable voices of NJ Hynes and Simon Barraclough plus music by Alexis Bennett.

Door opens at 7 for a 7.30 start. All welcome