2010-10-24T18:39:56.614+01:00Come and find me at my new home here...
2010-10-13T08:19:54.321+01:00An (old-ish) article of mine about the joys of Getting Lost has just appeared on the Psychologies Magazine website. Really happy to have it out there where I can find it because I am quite the expert at getting lost myself....!!
2010-10-11T14:16:39.982+01:00Expensive this one, but it is highly respected.
2010-10-05T10:19:58.109+01:00I'm very pleased that one of my short stories, For the Sake of the Children, first published in Night Train was chosen for the Chamber Four Fiction Anthology, a selection of 'outstanding stories from the web during 2009/2010'.
2010-10-03T18:21:11.834+01:00THE TROUBADOUR POETRY PRIZE.Here's a copy of the email I've just received in case you're interested in this excellent poetry prize:Dear PoetsSome last-minute reminders in the run-up to our 2010 deadline as you're deciding which poems/how many to submit...- shortest turnround of any major competition: poems in on/by Fri 15th Oct, winners know by Mon 22nd Nov, results by e-mail to everyone else after announcement on evening of Mon 29th Nov;- no sifters/chuckers-out, both judges read every poem;- not just £1000 top prize but 22 other prizes and the chance for every prizewinner to read at Troubadour Prize Celebration on Mon 29th Nov;- every submission, whether one poem or ten, supports our fortnightly Monday night readings in London's liveliest, longest-running and best-loved literary landmark venue, now surviving without Arts Council support and relying increasingly on poets around the country and around the world to keep literature 'live' in London.Do feel free pass on the word to anyone you know who's writing and who mightn't be on our newsletter lists. And many thanks to all those of you who've already submitted.Best wishesAnne-Marie___4th Annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2010Judges: Gwyneth Lewis & Maurice Riordan(Both judges will read all poems).1st prize £1000, 2nd £500, 3rd £250, plus 20 @ £20 eachplusSpring 2011 Coffee-House Poetry Season Ticketplusprizewinners' Coffee-House Poetry readingwith Maurice Riordan & Gwyneth Lewisfor all winning poetson Monday 29th November 2010 at the TroubadourSubmission deadline: Friday 15th October 2010See www.coffeehousepoetry.org/poems for previous winners & winning poems, 2007-2009;See below or www.coffeehousepoetry.org/prizes for judges, rules and submission details.___Judges:Gwyneth Lewis was the first National Poet of Wales (2005) and her words appear over the Wales Millennium Centre, opened in 2004. Educated at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, a bilingual school near Pontypridd, and at Oxford, Columbia and Harvard Universities, she has written oratorio as well as having written on clinical depression and 'Two in a Boat - The True Story of a Marital Rite of Passage', inspired by a sailing journey during which her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Her poetry collections in English include 'Parables and Faxes' (1995), 'Chaotic Angels' (2005) and 'A Hospital Odyssey' (2010, all Bloodaxe).Maurice Riordan (b. Lisgoold, Co, Cork, 1953) is the author of three collections of poetry, 'A Word from the Loki' (Faber, 1995, a PBS choice), the Whitbread shortlisted 'Floods' (Faber, 2000) and 'The Holy Land'(Faber, 2007) which received the Michael Hartnett Award. A Next Generation poet, he has been Poetry Editor of Poetry London and is currently Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University, has translated the work of Maltese poet Immanuel Mifsud ('Confidential Reports', 2005), has edited and co-edited anthologies on science, space and ecology, and has edited a selection of Hart Crane's poems for Faber's 'Poet to Poet' series (2008).___Rules:General: Entry implies acceptance of all rules; failure to comply with rules will result in disqualification; competition open to poets of any nationality over 18 years; no competitor may win more than one prize; judges' decision is final; no individual correspondence will be entered into.Poems: Poems must be in English, must each be no longer than 45 lines, must fit on one page of A4, must be the original work of the entrant and must not have been previously broadcast or published (in print or online); prizewinning poems may be published (in print or online) by Troubadour International Poetry Prize and may not be published elsewhere for one year after Friday 15th October 2010 without written permission. No limit on number of poems submitted. No alterations accepted after submission.Fees: All entries must be accompanied by fee of EITHER £5/ 6EURO/$8USD per poem, if fewer than 4 poems, OR £4/ 5EURO/$7USD per[...]
2010-09-28T17:07:39.118+01:00I'm delighted to welcome Sue Guiney to the blog today. Many of you will know her work already - poet, dramatist, blogger and novelist. Her latest book The Clash of Innocents comes out at the end of this week, and looks fascinating: Against the backdrop of Cambodia’s violent past and the beginnings of its new Tribunal for 'justice', a story of displaced souls unfolds. In Cambodia, innocents are everywhere. Everyone is innocent, or so they would like to believe – everyone, except the few who, for their own private reasons, take on the guilt of the many.I took advantage of Sue's good nature (plus the fact that she was available because of promoting the book, she's the busiest person I know!) to ask her to write about something that fascinates me - how the writer can be an entrepreneur too. Here's what she says.....Thanks, Sarah, for giving me this chance to visit your blog. And thanks also for giving me this opportunity to put down in a (hopefully) coherent fashion the lessons I’ve learned from my rather meandering and, admittedly, iconoclastic approach to my career.I’ve wanted to be a writer since I knew how to read. My first piece written for public (ie my class of fellow 7 year olds) was an adaptation for “the stage” of my favourite novel at the time – I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember its name, but I know it had something to do with mice. But it took me well into my forties to begin to believe I could write anything worth showing to anybody else. My first publications were a short story and a poem, both in the same year, in different magazines. I was 44. But here I am today, eleven years later, with 2 novels and a poetry play published, another poetry collection completed and a full-length play in development. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to show that it can be done. Now, as my second novel, “A Clash of Innocents”, is being published by the new publishing firm of Ward Wood, it’s a good time to look back and see what I can offer up as advice:• Take your creativity off the page and put it into your lifeWe are all creative people, and writers are especially good at creating characters. Use that creative energy to create yourself. Think outside the box and let your imagination run free as you contemplate your own life. I suppose the rebel in me has always made me think that I can do things differently, I don’t have to do anything exactly the way everyone else does it. Agood example of this was the creation of my poetry play, “Dreams of May.” I had been taking my writing seriously for several years at that point, working on a series of short stories which eventually – and surprisingly - became my first novel, “Tangled Roots.” But at the same time I was writing more and more poetry and braving more and more open mics. Was I a poet? A short story writer? A novelist? Who knew? All I knew was I was writing and it felt good. I was trying to get my poems published but I realized that the poems which seemed best received by audiences were not necessarily the ones being accepted by magazine and journal editors. It made me question why, think about the differences between hearing and reading a poem and then I thought, “hey – why not turn my poems into a play?” I had never heard of anyone doing such a thing, but it didn’t stop me. I literally got a few friends together to help me get it done, and the result was a two-week run in London’s Pentameters Theatre. I also created a text which I assumed I would Xerox and hand out to people coming to the show, but another friend convinced me to send it to a small press who, quite shockingly, decided to publish it. Presto, I was suddenly a poet with a book published and a playwright. That bit of creativity helped me to become the person I had always wanted to be and to live the life I have always wanted to live – namely a li[...]
2010-09-20T07:02:00.378+01:00Well, here is a story I wrote especially for (me and) you....Meanwhile back at homeVeronica Comrie has to call home three times and when eventually her mother answers, she’s breathing heavily and asks Veronica to hold on while she sits down. ‘Where have you been?’ Veronica asks, clutching her tear soaked tissue. She is going to ask her mother to come and pick her up. She hates college. Choosing law was a big mistake. ‘On the running machine,’ her mother says. ‘Running machine?’ says Veronica. Veronica’s mother hates exercise. ‘We put it up in your bedroom, along with the weights and the yoga mats,’ says Veronica’s mother. ‘I feel like a new woman. Or that’s what your dad keeps saying.’ Veronica tells her mother that she has to go a lecture now, but that she’s fine. Really. It’s only when she puts the phone down that she realises her mother hadn’t asked. When Colin Hiscox’s dad picks up the phone, Colin thinks at first he has the wrong number. His father answers in French. ‘Sorry about that,’ Colin’s dad says. ‘It’s these foreign students we have staying in your room.’ Three girls, Colin’s father says. Apparently it brightens the house up to have some young folk around again. Even Colin’s mother is loving it. And the money comes in useful. ‘We are becoming quite fond of garlic,’ Colin’s father says. Colin hears laughter in the background. He can’t remember the last time he heard laughter in his parents’ house. Or whether he’s ever knowingly tasted garlic. And he’s certainly never been allowed girls in his room before.‘Your room is your room for life,’ says Jerome Connor’s mother. ‘I have kept it just as you left it.’ ‘A bloody shrine,’ Jerome’s father adds from the upstairs extension. ‘She wouldn’t even let the neighbour’s niece stay there. Poor girl had to sleep in a tent in the garden.’ ‘It’s your room, Jerome,’ says his mother. ‘Now the neighbour refuses to talk to us,’ his father continues. ‘And will you be back to us soon, son?’ says Jerome’s mother. ‘Ferrets,’ Jane Brown’s mother says. ‘If it was kittens, or even rabbits, I might be happier. But what’s he going to do with ferrets? Keep them down his trousers?’ Jane’s busy smiling at the blonde guy from her economics class. ‘And they smell,’ says Jane’s mother. ‘I can’t go into your room without an oxygen mask. Not to mention the noise. It’s scrabble, scrabble, scrabble all day and night. And knock, knock, knock as he builds more and more cages.’ Jane stops smiling. ‘My room?’ she asks.John Jenson’s father has built bookcases along the far wall of John’s bedroom to fit in every copy from John’s booklists, both primary and secondary reading. Every night, he works his way through them. Sitting at John’s old desk, he grinds his teeth through timed essays from the lists of titles John emails him, before sending them to an independent tutor to be marked. John hasn’t told him that he’s making up the essay titles, that the books lists are from several years ago, and that John isn’t at university any more. He’s working in a sandwich shop. He’s happier than he’s been since he started school and his father learnt to read alongside him.Susan Carter’s father has turned her bedroom into a refrigerated storage space for his butcher’s shop. Meats that need to be hung are left on large hooks he’s drilled into the ceiling. ‘It might be a bit cold,’ says Susan’s mother, ‘but your bed is still there and we’ve shuffled everything round so no blood will actually drip on you when you sleep. I honestly can’t see what the problem is.’ When Chris Leslie’s mother rings, there’s a familiar background noise he can’t quite identify. ‘I’m cleaning your room,’ she says. For a minute he’s filled[...]
2010-09-19T14:45:04.559+01:00Poetry from Art
2010-09-17T09:43:51.351+01:00Nik started a great book recommendation meme yesterday, and Benjamin Judge joined in. AND BOTH RECOMMENDED ME! Thanks guys.
'Lick the pencil' we might have called him
So quick was he to wet the lead, so deft
His hand-to-mouth and tongue-flirt round the stub.
2010-09-15T10:26:36.610+01:00Somehow when I got back to Kilimanjaro, I thought I would throw myself back into life with renewed energy. I have climbed a mountain, don't you know? So many people have asked if I've been writing about it, if I am already planning a new trip etc etc etc. But it hasn't been like that at all.
2010-09-08T15:59:05.696+01:00Us at the top of Kilimanjaro - around 8.45 on Tuesday morning!
2010-08-23T07:49:00.621+01:00William Blake famously said: Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
2010-08-18T12:49:06.474+01:00I am pasting and copying the whole of this email from the Azaaz organisation about the floods in Pakistan in case you are like me and want to help but are not sure what to do or where to go...Dear Friends,A humanitarian catastrophe of terrifying proportions is unfolding in Pakistan, with a fifth of the country under water, and millions of people homeless and desperately needing assistance.Some relief efforts are underway, but the international response to the mega-disaster has been irresponsibly slow and weak -- the UN has urgently appealed for $460 million of vital aid, but just 40% has been delivered.Relief workers warn that without an immediate increase in aid the death toll could sky-rocket. We can help by sending funds directly to the most reliable aid organizations, and by pressing our governments to step up their efforts. Let's show our leaders what generosity looks like, and demand that they join us. Click here to send a personal message to key donor governmentsAnd click here to donate to the relief effort.After visiting the flood stricken areas, a visibly upset UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, said “This has been a heart-wrenching day for me. In the past, I have visited many natural disasters, but I have never seen anything like this.”Thousands of towns and villages have been washed away -- roads, buildings, bridges, crops. Now people are stranded on tiny islands surrounded by flood waters. With no clean water to drink, cholera, diarrhea and other sicknesses are on the rise, threatening the millions of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods.The international response so far has not matched that of previous large scale disasters. Organisations like UNICEF and WHO have said they lack the funds to provide adequate assistance. The governments of the world need to do more, and we can lead by example. Let’s stand with Pakistan at this time of crisis, and ask important donor governments to do the same.Click here to donate.Click here to send a message.Our community has risen to the challenge of awful disasters before. In 2008, Avaaz members raised over 2 million dollars for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma. Earlier this year, $1.4 million was raised for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Our ability to move quickly in times of crisis can make the difference between life or death for people struggling to cope with disaster. Let’s show the people of Pakistan that people and governments around the world stand with them in this awful crisis.With hope,Luis, Iain, Mia, Ricken, Paul, Giulia, Ben, David, Graziela, Pascal, Milena and the rest of the Avaaz teamMore information:UN Chief’s heart wrenching appeal for Pakistan flood victims.Pakistan floods fail to spark strong global aid.Death toll rises from Pakistan flooding.Avaaz Burma Cyclone relief -- http://www.avaaz.org/en/highlights#burmaAvaaz Haiti Earthquake response -- http://www.avaaz.org/en/highlights#emergency_response[...]
2010-08-18T10:05:18.602+01:00It is like a visual art installation in which each message is an image or object we can pick up in our hands. You all know the Bookeywookey website, don't you?It's a brilliant place for book reviews and interesting people and things to do with the mind. Just my kind of thing, and it's been a great joy to me that its creator, Ted, has become a friend since he read and was so kind about Tell Me Everything a couple of years ago. But that didn't make it any easier when I knew he was going to review my new book. I wrote to him saying that he should say what he thought.And then I regretted it but luckily didn't send the email saying 'Actually I didn't mean that. Say what I think....' or something worse.But hurrah, hurrah, he 'got' it.You can read the review here, but here's some of what he says:The novel's leitmotif is a photograph and a negative, if you will: the superficial versus interior knowledge of another person. The snapshot one gets when knowing someone only from the outside in a single context, versus who they are inside, who they are when they relate to their intimates, who they are to themselves in their fantasies, and sadly, who they become when there is no one to whom they show their deepest selves. As a literary device the letters and messages are an appropriate form for this novel in that they are like snapshots, you need more than one to know the whole story. And while a nude picture is literally revealing, it does not necessarily give the viewer an intimate relationship with the subject. However the subject themselves possesses that whole story and so posing for that photograph feels a kind of risk, perhaps akin to the risk we take when we tell someone we love them, or the risk artists take when they put themselves into their work. That is the reverse image contained in the novel, the risk that it takes to be known. This is not just the artists' journey, it is everyone's and this novel's message is that the risk is worth it. And in other happy dancing showing off news, last week on twitter, William Gibson tweeted that he had Getting the Picture on his reading list and then I got an email saying that a certain British philosopher is planning to take it on holiday with him. Not going to name him because the names are dropping fairly heavily in this post already (Oh but OK, if you insist, A d B may be some of the letters.... )Anyway that's probably enough of the showing off now, Salway. Back to happy dancy writing![...]
2010-08-17T09:11:40.112+01:00One of the posts I've had the most personal responses to recently was one in which I mentioned my shyness and the cure that's helped me, Bach's Rescue Remedy.
2010-08-10T11:49:52.564+01:00One of our highlights during our trip to Ghent was a visit to the S.M.A.K. gallery, and not least finding this amazing room for kids to hang out in - The Factory.