Friday 11 March 2016

So...I got a literary agent.

Pic by Stu Bishop

It's been ages since I've blogged, the reason being...yes, I've been writing a novel. It's some of the most exciting news of my life and yet I know it's just the beginning of a journey. I'm trying very hard to keep my expectations reasonable even as I scramble to make the edits my lovely new agent Hatty Grunewald of Blake Friedmann has suggested. 

As a writer of a debut that is, *ahem*: "a dark and riveting semi-dystopian adventure with a captivating romance at its core" I feel like I need to live up to certain expectations and my goodness, the bar is high. Hunger Games, Twilight, my personal favourite YA series by Maggie Steifvater, The Raven Boys to name only a few, including the prize nominated 'The Art of Being Normal' by my friend the lovely Lisa Williamson.

But I'm going to give myself permission to enjoy this shiny bit of happiness. It's been three years of work so far and a bit more to go, but I'm so, so excited.

Check me out on the Blake Friedman website.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

The Mildly Erotic Poetry tour kicks off on Thursday 31 October...

For those of you who are interested in a bit of extra piquance in your poetry, here are the details of this fab tour, which is taking place shortly. Emma Wright, the proprietor(ess?) of Emma Press, has managed to get some AC funding to fund a national tour to publicise The Mildly Erotic Poetry Anthology. Chock full of saucy musings from poets all over the UK, there's bound to be something to tickle your fancy here.   
For all those interested in coming along, here are the details of when I'm on... 
31 October @ Poetry Cafe, London, 7:30pm - Me, Amy Key, Julia Bird and Richard O'Brian.  
2 Nov @ The Birdcage, Norwich, 8pm - me, Amy Key, Rachel Piercey & Jacqueline Saphra 
3 Nov Cafe Global, Reading, 8pm - me & Emma Reay  
Come and have a (mildly) titillating evening of poetry with me and some other wonderful writers. Don't worry, most of it is quite gentle... ;) 
The books themselves are gorgeous, with Emma Wright, the publisher including her own rather lovely illustrations throughout. I could wax hyperbolic about the other poets included in the anthology (like Julia Bird, Mel Denham, Joy Donnell, Hugh Dunkerley, Kirsten Irving, Amy Key, Anja Konig, Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi, Julie Mullen, Richard O’Brien, Emma Reay, Kristen Roberts, Jacqueline Saphra, Lawrence Schimel, Stephen Sexton, Jon Stone, me, Jerrold Yam and Ruth Wiggins). 
The Emma Press team says:  
'We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the Emma Press has been awarded funding from Arts Council England as part of the Lottery-funded Grants for the arts programme, to stage a series of erotic poetry evenings across the UK. The tour will accompany the publication of The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse (launching at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall on 26th September).Each event will feature 2-4 poets each performing a set of their mildly- to highly-erotic poems and discussing their interpretations of eroticism. Check below to see if any are taking place near you, and sign up to our newsletter to keep up with the latest tour news.' 

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Saucy poetry makes for titillating reading...

The Emma Press Mildly Erotic Review is due to come out soon...cue much fluttering of fans and raising of eyebrows.

As the publisher, Emma says,  'Aren’t mildly erotic things the most erotic of all?'. To find out for yourself, grab a copy for yourself or to get a first taste of the book come along to the launch event here:

Monday 11 March 2013

Scarlet Starlings playing at Softly Softly on March 31

This fab event combines music and a little bit of spoken word, for a great afternoon of mellow entertainment. The bands are totally unplugged (hence the name of the event). It's a wonderful way to rid yourself of the Sunday afternoon blues! 

For more info go to:
or 'like' the event page on FB here.
Or check out the information on reverbnation.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Valentine's day roundup: best pics of the day

Hope everyone out there has a love bird they can tweet really well! (sorry).

Sacred Love Versus Profane Love, Giovanni Baglione, 1602-1603. 
I know which one I prefer...

Here's hoping we all inspire a few impure thoughts...

Just an idea, for the brave lovers amongst us.

A little too cute?

Something more macabre:

Lovers of Valdaro

The so-called Lovers of Valdaro, also dubbed as the "Valdaro Lovers," are a pair of human skeletons discovered by archaeologists at a Neolithic tomb in S.Giorgio near Mantova, Italy, in 2007. The two skeletons appear to have died or were interred facing each other with arms around each other, thus reminiscent of a "lovers' embrace".

Archaeologist Elena Maria Menotti led the excavation. Scientists believe that the pair is a man and woman no older than 20 years old and approximately 5'2" in height. They were removed from the ground intact and sent to Musei Civici in Como where they are undergoing analysis.

Movie love could be never-ending literally... for this blog so I've confined myself to one of my favourites:

From the marvellous Goblin Market.

Have a great Valentine's Day...

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Sharon Olds winner - T S Elliot Awards

I was lucky enough to get a chance to attend the T S Elliott award readings on Sunday, and the award ceremony on Monday evening.

The readings were wonderful, with a crowd of 2000 people filling the Royal Festival Hall.  The finalists: Gillian Clarke, Sean Borodale, Julia Copus, Jorie Graham, Simon Armitage, Kathleen Jamie, Jacob Polley, Derryn Rees-Jones, Paul Farley and Sharon Olds, gave wonderful performances. With host Ian McMillan striking the perfect balance between humour and poignancy, each reading was of a standard that made it difficult to imagine how hard the task of judging the award must have been.
"I wore this shirt last year, but these are new trousers... so like me, these poets are bringing together the old and the new..." said Ian McMillan (paraphrased somewhat).

For myself I enjoyed the visceral quality of Sean Borodale's Bee Journal reading, describing a bee queen's eyes as 'castanets' and then immediately as like 'casting nets'. His work was invigorating and complex, its microscopic eye for detail not ignoring the opportunity for bigger truths to creep in.

Gillian Clarke's reading was likewise riveting, and Jacob Polley's work was new to me, so was particularly inspiring.

Sharon Olds' book Stag's Leap, from Cape Poetry, had a heartbreaking emotional intensity and a  wry, reflective thrust to it which left me thinking about certain lines for day's afterwards.

It was not surprising, therefore, that she took the prize the following night at the Wallace Collection in W1.

Here are a few blurry pictures which nevertheless capture something of the golden-ness of the evening.

 Carol Ann Duffy (judge)
 (From left) George Szirtes, Deryn Rhys-Jones, Julia Copus, Gillian Clarke

 Gillian Clarke

Sharon Olds accepting the award

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Second place in 100 word story mini-comp

Rather chuffed that my short story came second amongst the finalists of the 100 word story comp judged by Jeffrey Archer.

Literary agency Curtis Browne published the top five stories online and you can read all about it here.

And here it is:

The Zoo of Extinct Animals
‘Eight hours straight. Best sleep I’ve ever had,’ said Phil.
‘The dodo didn’t squawk its head off?’ said Mike.
Phil shrugged, as they shuffled past the quagga cage. Nearby, the sabre-toothed tiger roared. Mike threw it its meat.
When they reached the aviary they both fell silent.
‘You forgot to feed him, didn’t you?’
‘Extinct again,’ said Phil, in a suspiciously cheerful tone. ‘Ever think some creatures are just meant to die out?’
‘Shut up, Phil,’ said Mike, stuffing the dead dodo into a bag.
Meanwhile, back in the lab, ‘new’ old life was forming.
Sara-Mae Tuson