City Voices Vice Chair Debbi Voisey will be reading her short story "Dark Green Gate" plus one of her Flash Fiction pieces at the above event. Dark Green Gate is a tale of revenge which won 1st place in the 2016 "Too Write" competition sponsored by The Sentinel Newpaper and supported by the "Hot Air" Stoke Literary Festival. Don't miss it!
I will be interviewed about my poem "Listening to Jupiter" on Six Town Radio, Tuesday 27th September between 2pm-3pm by presenter Bret Shah (who is also part of Ceramic City Stories). Maybe there will be a chance to recite some more of my work - who knows? A first for me and really don't know what to expect! .
City Voices member Jason Nicholas Smith will be performing as a roaming poet in Stoke on Trent on 24th September, along with other well-known local artist and poets such as Tracy Henham and the “Trent Poet”. There are various places set up to perform and Jason has been paired up another poet. As Jason put it “There are a few teams of poets a-roaming” 😊 Jason will be active 1:30 1-30 at Moody Blooms florist in Church street, 1:40 at Stoke Library, 2pm Majestic Studios and Access Radio for an interview and possibly a recital. At 2:30 Jason will be at Pilgrims Pit for refreshments and a garden party. The theme for the day is 'Books are brill', and there is an exhibition by artist Sam Mace as part of 'Stoke Arts Map.'.There is a celebration Gathering at ACAVA Studios, Spode Works between 6pm -9pm. Jason is really looking forward to this day and I don’t blame him. Have a great day, my fellow poet.
I will become Writer-in-Residence with Ceramic City Stories as part of the Fun Palaces activities this year - a mini-programme of DIY activities taking place in different locations across Stoke-on-Trent. I will join the team at the Fun Palace event on Sunday 2nd October at The Wedgwood Institute in Burslem. At Midday (12 noon) and read my selected poem followed by an informal interview and Q&A session hosted by Danny Callaghan. I hope that people will come along and find out more about the inspiration behind my poem "Listening to Jupiter"
If you look carefully, you will see that my name is amongst the six winners of this national writing competition "Write Science" and the chance to appear at one of the Fun Palace venues (which I will be!) There are lots still to be finalised and sent to press but you can see the link at www.funpalaces.co.uk.
I first knew about this when I received a phone call from actor and novelist Stella Duffy OBE telling me that I was one of the winners (there is no overall winner). It took a while for the penny to drop - I was a bit gob-smacked - and it was brilliant to be told that such prestigious panel of judges “really, really liked” my poem. I will be telling my friends and fellow-writers the date and time I will be at the venue and in due course this will be on the Fun Palaces web-site. I am so pleased to be part of this it is a real community project. As Stella Duffy says - Arts for our sake rather than arts for art’s sake. Not just culture FOR everyone, but culture BY, FOR, and WITH everyone.
It was a dark and stormy night ........and was that ever true! A massive thunderstorm and torrential rain hit the midlands when the 6 x 6 Reading Cafe held their autumn event with the theme of "Spooks". Now of course this could have been translated in several ways. Spies or secret agents are often referred to as "spooks", or you might say a ghost or anything paranormal. For those of us who braved the storm it was a great night with six very different takes on what might be paranormal activity or maybe the workings of the mind. Lovely to see yet another writer from City Voices chosen to read, after Debbi Voisey and myself made the last two events. Dr. Stephanie Hutton is a new member of City Voices. Stephanie told us she was very nervous about reading but her story "Playmate" was brilliantly executed and very, very scary and yet terribly sad. You were left to decide whether the protagonist’s playmate was a ghost, an imaginary friend or maybe the mind of a damaged child. Stephanie says “I have only been writing for about a year in little snippets of time just before bed. This has mainly been flash fiction although I'm interested in developing more skills in short story writing. I'm still trying out lots of styles at the moment just to play with form. I have a vignette coming out in Ink in Thirds on 1st Aug that is based on one of my autistic daughters, a dark humorous flash out in Sick Lit Mag in September, and a short story first-person account of a girl left home alone in Bacopa Literary Review in November. I'm also interested in prose poetry."
Well done Stephanie, a great read.
Great photograph taken by our friend Barry - L TO R - Me, Debbi Voisey and Anita Oxford. We keep our Chair Alan Barnett under control (well, most of the time)
Our Chair Alan Barnett also MC for the day - 10 readers plus music
Friend of City Voices Richard Faulkner - no outreach event could be without him
City Voices were again helping to raise funds for the restoration of Bethesda Chapel. Christian worship at the chapel ceased in the 1980’s but it is now owned by the Historic Chapels Trust. There were 10 readers performing poetry, and reading short stories, and as ever, Richard Faulkner with his unique music and song. We wish the Friends of Bethesda well as they continue their efforts to raise funds for basics like toilets and heating so that the lovely building can onec again serve the whole community.
Despite the celebration cake baked by yours truly, which surely Mary Berry could only describe as "informal", City Voices and around 40 special guests and members of the public celebrated our 10th anniversary in style at The City Library, Hanley. A sweet and savoury buffet complimented the cake and of course plenty of wine and soft drinks. It was a beautiful warm autumn evening as we started the event at 7pm sharp and amazingly everything was timed perfectly! Our MC Emma Purshouse told the audience a bit about the group and how it was founded by Paul Williamson with the help of our now-chairman Alan Barnett. Our patron Deborah McAndrew said a few words, followed by Emma who soon had the audience in the palm of her hand with her poetry performance. No less than 15 of CV members then had the floor for a couple of minutes each to read and perform their poetry and flash fiction. All were well received, and comments were made on the diversity of the group, their work and different styles of writing and delivery. It was now time for some big “Thank You”s. To Paul for founding the group – he was presented with a framed Certificate of Appreciation –to all City Voices members and friends, and last but by no means least Emma George from the library. Emma G was pleased and surprised to receive a bouquet of flowers from all at City Voices. Without Emma and the library we would not have a wonderful meeting room and be able to stage events like this one. Emma is employed by the library but she is a friend to City Voices and always goes the extra mile to help and advise us. Paul then said a few words about his time at the group and his many fond memories of members past and present, and the evening closed with Emma Purshouse performing part of 'The Professor Vyle Show' a one hour, one woman performance poetry play where the characters from the traditional Punch and Judy show are transported into the world of daytime television. On the night it was Judy’s turn to have her say – a darkly funny and brilliant performance. After which, people chatted, ate and drank wine, some books were sold and there were lots of kisses and hugs (and a few sighs of relief that all went so very right on the night) Here’s to the next ten years, and apologies to any readers who avoided the camera.
I have had some surprises and shocks even, at my time with City Voices but a recent happening left me well and truly gob-smacked, but in a good way. Following a holiday in Norfolk in a house belonging to a friend, CV members Adam and Chris Boustead left behind a copy of our 2015 anthology of poetry “Landscape of Fire” as a gift. The book found its’ way into the hands of one Norman Gill, who runs a charitable trust in Leicester which is mainly involved with helping young people. Norman got in touch with Chris and Adam, and then contacted me via the web-site saying that he was “very impressed” by the book and wanted to know how to go about producing something similar with his groups. After chatting on the phone with Norman I agreed to let him have copies of all three CV anthologies. In return Norman wished to make a donation to our group, so I suggested a small donation to cover post and packaging etc. On the 18th August I received a letter from the Trust enclosing a cheque for £100! ONE HUNDRED POUNDS! After picking myself up off the floor I quickly emailed Norman to thank him and advised Alan, after which I had to dash off to a festival! The money is now safely in City Voices coffers, for the benefit of the whole group. I have written to Norman (with Alan’s approval) advising him on the process of producing an anthology, and the costs. I have also (I hope) put together a reasonable document about starting a writing group from a cold start. I have of course posted the copies of our three anthologies plus a copy of my own book “The last Pictish man” – after all, no good deed goes unpunished!
Seriously, I have no idea why we recieved such a large, unsolicited donation. The money has made a big difference in planning and hosting our 10th anniversary celebrations, more of which later. We also hope to make the group an even better place for writers of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. For more information about the Norman Gill Charitable Trust, there are many links on Google.