Poetry Launch: Life Lines 2

Last night, amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s Tottenham Court Road and Soho, the launch of Life Lines 2 was held in the tranquil surroundings of The Poets’ Church, St Giles in the Field. Hosted by Todd Swift (whom I had met on the first day of the Cheltenham Literature Festival), the evening consisted of readings by featured poets in this anthology which has been created to raise funds for Oxfam‘s Darfur appeal. Admitting to me before the event started, “I’m very nervous”, Todd hosted the event in his unasuming and witty manner to great success. He needn’t have been worried: this audio anthology is superb, it’s a joy to be able to listen to poets reading their own work and to hear such different timbres of voice in one collection. It’s credit to his position as Oxfam’s Poet in Residence and the evening’s readings were an impressive representation of the work that is featured on the collection.

The readings last night came from a collection of  distinct and original poetic voices: Dannie Abse, Sujata Bhatt, Siobhan Campbell, Elaine Feinstein, Atilla the Stockbroker, Wayne Smith and John Hartley Williams. Todd himself read the memory-laden ‘The Man Who Killed Houdini’ from Winter Tennis (a collection that I admire very much), an emotional Elain Feinstein recitied poems  from her latest collection explaining the difficulties and joys of marraige to her late husband Arnold (‘Wheelchair’ is featured on Life Lines 2), and Dannie Abse read some of his heartfelt and emphatic poetry: “a liturgy to literature”, my dear friend Ruth noted whilst we were sat in the pews of the beautiful Poets’ Church. This is not to say that it was a sombre and serious event, humour came from Atilla the Stockbroker and from the anthology’s youngest poet, Wayne Smith (who, unlike me, has no shame that he was born in Swindon). I wish every success for the Life Lines anthologies and hope there to be a third; fantastic poetry by original voices for a commendable cause.

Posted by Jen Tomkins

BBC Radio Merseyside Event: Liverpool Black Pioneers

Ray Costello, the author of the new book on the Liverpool black community, Liverpool Black Pioneers, published by Bluecoat Press, will be talking about his work and taking a questions and answers session in front of a live audience in the Performance Space, Radio Merseyside, on Friday 12th October starting at 2pm.  The event will be advertised on air over the coming week. All are welcome but only 50 can be seated.

More information here.

Author Readings and Workshops Near Liverpool

Manchester-based publisher Comma Press is promoting a new book of short stories entitled Elsewhere: Stories From Small Town Europe and is organising a series of events that may be of interest to readers in Liverpool and the surrounding area.

The first event is at Southport Library (Southport Library, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DJ) on Wed 10th October, and features Micheál Ó Conghaile (Ireland), Jean Sprackland (UK), and Zoe Lambert (UK). The second is on the following day at Bebington Civic Centre, Wirral (Civic Way, Bebington, Wirral, CH63 7PN), and features Micheál Ó Conghaile (Ireland) and Zoe Lambert (UK).

Both events will feature ‘simultaneous translation’ readings – as Micheál reads in the Irish, with a translation scrolling on screen beside him – allowing audiences to experience the cadences of the original. The events will be preceded by a workshop on approaches to writing the ‘small town story’, with Forward Prize nominated poet Eleanor Rees, offering up-and-coming writers a chance to share Micheál and Zoe’s wealth of practical experience and advice.

Anyone interested should contact Jim Hinks via the Comma Press website.

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Sefton Festival of Literature 2007

Running from Wednesday, 19th September until Sunday, 30th September, Sefton Festival for Literature 2007 has a programme appealing to anyone interested in various aspects of writing. Performances, poetry readings, exhibitions, workshops, writing surgeries and competitons are amongst the highlights of a packed schedule, which includes an appearance from Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, screenwriter and novelist John Mortimer, and poet and novelist Jackie Kay.

Here’s what Cllr Lord Ronnie Fearn, Sefton’s Council Member for Leisure and Tourism, has to say about the festival:

The Sefton Festival of Literature will be a fantastic celebration of all things literary and show that creative writing, poetry and performance offer something for everyone to enjoy. Experts on fiction writing, publishing and poetry will be on hand to offer free advice to budding writers, while artists will be leading bookmaking workshops.

The Sefton Festival of Literature is a two-year project and this year’s inaugural event will set the scene for the 2008 celebration. I’m sure this will be a wonderful event and I hope that everyone takes the opportunity to get involved.

The events will be held at Southport Arts Centre, Atkinson Art Gallery and, Crosby Civic Hall and Plaza Community Cinema in Waterloo. To find out more information and book tickets, visit the Sefton Arts website.

Rebel Girls

Rebel Girls: their fight for the vote is a new book by Jill Liddington, about the forgotten suffragettes across the north of England. Published by Virago it tracks the story of those who took their message out to the remotest Yorkshire dales to win Edwardian hearts and minds.

Jill Liddington will be speaking about the book at a host of events across the country this autumn, and is visiting Liverpool on Saturday 6th October. For full details of these events click here

Free Thinking

BBC Radio 3 & Radio Merseyside’s Free Thinking Festival returns to Liverpool

Free Thinking BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Merseyside’s festival of ideas returns to Liverpool for a weekend of debates, talks, performance and conversation from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th November. At the heart of this year’s festival is one of the 21st century’s most contested ideals: freedom. Look out for The Reader‘s Books at Breakfast event, being held on the Saturday and Sunday, more details to follow.

Armistead Maupin in Liverpool on July 4, 2007

On Independence Day 2007, Armistead Maupin, one of America’s greatest living gay writers will be appearing at a special event as part of Homotopia, Liverpool’s homegrown LGBT arts festival. This is his first date in an exclusive UK tour. As a tribute to Armistead we will be hosting this very special event at the recently restored Small Concert Room in St Georges Hall. Armistead Maupin will be reading from his new novel Michael Tolliver Lives and will be talking about his life and work. This event promises to be one of the cultural highlights of 2007.

For all those die hard Tales Of The City fans this will be a trip down Barbary Lane. It is hard to believe that it’s over 20 years since the series ended. According to Armistead the novel is not strictly speaking a ‘Tales’ book but the insider news is that a ‘reassuring’ number of familiar faces will be appearing….

July 4th at 7pm
Small Concert Room – St Georges Hall
Tickets £6 On Sale At Unity Theatre or News From Nowhere
0151 709 4988 or 0151 708 7270.

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Underground Books

One theory about how to get people reading is that if you put books in front of them they will read. The London Book Project aims to do just that by distributing thousands of second hand books on the London Underground. The idea is that anyone who finds a book takes it home and reads it, but also that readers register their finds with Book Crossing and when they’ve finished reading, leave them on the Tube for someone else to pick up. From the London Book Project website:

The London Book Project is a free book exchange on a massive scale. Using the London Underground as a high speed distribution network, we aim to bring real literature to London’s commuters. Scrap the freesheets – read a free book instead!

Over the next two weeks we’ll be distributing thousands of second hand books across the tube and we want YOU to get involved. If you see one of our books, please pick it up! Then read it and replace with any book of your choice. Let’s make the tube a giant, free library!

It’s not just London. You can add books to the Book Crossing database and leave them wherever you like. Merseyrail here I come.

Posted by Chris Powered by Qumana