Cinnamon Press Book Launch, September 10

Jan Fortune and Carole Strachan treated us to a very different evening, as they ‘interviewed’ each other about their latest works of fiction, how they differ from, or fit in with, their previous ones, what inspired and inspires them, their editing process, their love for and empathy with the characters they invent and their ways of tackling that most difficult aspect of fiction-writing: endings.

Carole’s works gain strength and credibility from her familiarity with the world she portrays, that of opera – and with the geographical areas in which the plots unfold. And yet she adds dynamic devices like varying points of view, quite a bit of mystery and suspense and different time frames.

Jan’s latest work is the third of her trilogy, and she assured us that there won’t be a fourth in the ‘series’, although her next book will have as protagonist a very minor character from the trilogy. She also uses different points of you and her story fluctuates withing a span of a thousand years and hugely different places.

The Truth in Masquerade and A song of Thyme and Willow (Carole’s) and This is the End of the Story, A Remedy for All Things and For Hope is Always Born (Jan’s) are available from Cinnamon Press (

Photos by Adam Craig


Thursday 24 June at 7.30 on Zoom

‘Family, Animals and Other Things’ (with apologies to Gerald Durrell)

Join me to hear the very different voices of Neetha Kunaratnam, Gordon Meade, Gillie Robic and Sarah Westcott.

Please email if you wish to book. The event is FREE by invitation.

Neetha Kunaratnam was born in the UK, son of Sri Lankan Tamil parents, and has had work published in Acumen, Agenda Broadsheets Online, Magma, Poetry Review, Stand, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Wales, Orbis, The North and The Rialto. Recent work has appeared in Poetry London, Bath Magg and Rabbit (Australia). He was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for 2007 (adjudicated by Alan Brownjohn) by Poetry Review, gained his MA in Creative Writing in 2008 from Royal Holloway University of London and studied under Andrew Motion and Jo Shapcott. He appeared in Off the Shelf (2016) published by Picador UK and edited by Carol Ann Duffy. Neetha’s first collection Just Because was published by Smokestack Books in 2018, and highly commended in the 2019 Forward Prize.

Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet based in the East Neuk of Fife. In the past, he has been the creative writing fellow at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, the writer in residence for Dundee District Libraries, and the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Dundee. He has read from his work in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. His ten collections of poems include, Les Animots : A Human Bestiary (Cultured Llama 2015), The Year of the Crab (2017) and, more recently, Zoospeak (Enthusiastic Press 2020).

Gillie Robic was born in India and lives in London.  She attended the Sorbonne and l’Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and the Central School of Art (Theatre Design) in London.  She is a poet, voice artist and puppeteer, designer and director.  Her poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK and the US.  Her two collections, Swimming Through Marble and Lightfalls, were published by Live Canon 2016 and 2019 respectively and can be bought from More about Gillie on

Sarah Westcott was a news journalist for twenty years and now teaches poetry at London’s City Lit and elsewhere. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Poetry Review, POEM, Magma and Butcher’s Dog, on beermats, billboards and buses, and in anthologies including Best British Poetry and The Forward Book of Poetry. Last year her poems were installed in jukeboxes in Belfast and Paris and baked into sourdough bread. Sarah’s collections, Slant Light and Bloom, have been published by Pavilion Poetry. Her debut pamphlet, Inklings (Flipped Eye), and her poetry in general have won her several awards and residencies. For signed copies of her books, you can contact her directly (free p&p) or you can order them from the publisher

Monday 8 November at 7.30pm on Zoom

Memorial Event: ‘A Celebration of the Life and Work of Richard Stoker (1938-2021), British composer’

Many of you will have attended past in-words events held in cooperation with Gill Stoker. I am deeply touched that she has asked me to host a memorial event to remember and celebrate her husband Richard on what would have been his next birthday.

This event is by invitation only.
If you knew Richard, or know his music, and would like to attend, please email for further details.