On Saturday 30th September we are at Free Verse Poetry Book Fair at Conway Hall where we will have a stall all day, and are reading in the Red Lion Square garden cafe at 4.30, with Jeremy Dixon, Lisa Kelly and Sarah James.Experience a flush of openness in San Francisco, a long day on a till, an even longer night in a hotel, and time shifting about the three occupants of a house.
Followed on the Saturday Morning at 11am with a Children’s event in the Library, (Free) with The Old Woman From Friuli by Ghillian Potts being read by Tash Fairbanks, and a kind of demonstration of woodcut printing from Cherry Potts, because we couldn’t get hold of Ed Boxall, the illustrator of the book, to join us. No sharp objects will be let near children!
Having a story published in Stations in 2012 was such a thrill. I had just completed a Masters in Creative writing, ( as a very mature student!). I remember being the only one of the cohort at the graduation ceremony, who had signed a publishing contract! Since then, one of my stories was chosen for the inaugural anthology Words and Women One, and I was delighted to have another story published last by Arachne Press in Shortest day, Longest Night.
Occasionally, I dabble in songwriting, and have written and released a charity Christmas single. In 2012, I also wrote the first draft of a musical, putting an original story to the music of the award-winning retro jazz band Caro Emerald. If I’d thought that getting a story published was difficult – and it is – getting a musical to a West End stage often has a gestation period of a decade! However, persistence has paid off, and with Arts Council support and a few re-writes That Man had its West End debut at The Hippodrome in 2016.
That Man copyright Darren Bell Photography
Since then, I have been in talks with a world-renowned Musical Theatre organisation and am now working with Caro Emerald’s creative team to take the musical onto greater things.
Occasionally we ask our writers what they are up to out in the wider world, so here’s an update of excitements and triumphs from Arachne authors and poets around the world.
Andrew Blackman (Stations) is having a short story Boy, Dog, Accordion published in a pocket-sized book by In Short Publishing in Australia early next year.
Brian Johnstone (The Other Side of Sleep, Liberty Tales) has recently had a poem installed on the Corbenic Poetry Path in Highland Perthshire. The poem, ‘How the Mire Thaws’ – from his 2004 pamphlet Homing – was selected by curator Jon Plunkett for a recent extension to the path also featuring poems by Kathleen Jamie, John Glenday and Alec Finlay. The Corbenic Poetry Path is situated on the banks of the River Braan near Dunkeld. It is roughly 3.5 kilometres long and takes in woodland of various sorts, open moorland, field borders and riverbank. Access to it is open to all and is completely free. For more information see: http://www.corbenicpoetrypath.com/
David Mathews (Solstice Shorts, Liberty Tales, Shortest Day, Longest Night) has, finally, a WEBSITE. www.davidmathewsstories.com where people can catch up with his literary happenings, read a few of stories and sign up for a brand new monthly story, starting 13 November – on the theme of coffee for the first few months.
Kate Foley (The Other Side of Sleep, Liberty Tales, The Don’t Touch Garden) has had her collected poems Electric Psalms published by Shoestring Press
Lennart Lundh (The Other Side of Sleep) has taken part in three poetry month projects, been part of seventeen open mics, and was a featured reader a baker’s dozen times. One book of short stories, Antique Shopping, was published in October. The poetry collections Poems Against Cancer 2016 (Len’s annual April fundraiser for research into children’s cancers), The Bear Whispers in the Night (August), and Jazz Me (September) also made their appearances.
Liam Hogan (London Lies, Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed) has one three (THREE!) prizes this year, Quantum Shorts 2015 in April and Sci-Fest LA’s Roswell Award 2016 (May), and Worthing WOW YA fiction prize (June) and a 2nd place in On The Premises Darkness contest, (October) for Bring Rope.
Mi L Holliday (Lovers’ Lies) had a poem A Mother’s Concern published by Shooter Literary Magazine Issue #3: Surreal.
p.a.morbid (The Other Side of Sleep) has 2 chapbooks out this year, and a solo exhibition….
Pippa Gladhill (Solstice Shorts, Shortest Day, Longest Night) had her play CITY performed in Faversham Kent in August this year. It will be produced in Bristol in 2017, date to be confirmed, and there is a possibility of more in Swindon and London.
Sarah Lawson (The Other Side of Sleep) has had a poem Coming Home in the Fog in South Bank Poetry in September, a poem When Does the Beginning Begin? in The Interpreter’sHouse in October, and six poems imminently forthcoming in Raceme. A later issue of Raceme is to contain two of Sarah’s translations of the Spanish poet, Luis Cernuda (1902-1963).
Wendy Gill (Stations, Shortest Day, Longest Night) had her musical That Man showcased at The London Hippodrome in September, supported by the Arts Council.It was a great success with a brilliant cast, with people from shows like Wicked and Lion King.
It’s twelfth night, and the official end of the festive season, so as you pack up your Christmas baubles, here’s something to cheer you up: your opportunity to experience the entire evening of Longest Night, in the same order as the audience, but without me waffling on in between, and without the mulled cider, unless you happen to have some to hand of course.
Wassail Vocal Chords
A Little Favour by Wendy Gill Read by Annalie Wilson
Past Three a Clock Vocal Chords
At The Hotel De La Lune by Sarah James Read by all the actors
Naughty Baby Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd
Midwinter Wife by Cherry Potts Read by Annalie Wilson
Ba Ba Lamie Noo Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd
Life Between Lives by Sarah Evans Read by Patsy Prince
The solstice is almost upon us, and in the best traditions of midwinter we are planning to make a lot of noise. We have three musical interventions happening at Solstice Shorts 2015 Longest Night, with Vocal Chords, Annalie Wilson and Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd
Here’s some music from Vocal Chords to get you in the mood –
Their CD of English Folk Carols will be available on the night.
But the music doesn’t stop there. Wendy Gill, whose story A Little Favour we are reading on the 21st, has also written a Christmas single in aid of CRISIS UK,- (under her newly married name, Wendy Martin-Gray) Christmas Spell – buy it here
A NEW CHRISTMAS ANTHEM TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CRISIS UK
“Christmas Spell” Brings the Warmth of the Season
to Help the Homeless
A brand new Christmas anthem, written by Wendy Martin-Gray and performed by a variety of musical theatre stars has been released to raise funds for Crisis UK, the national charity for single homeless people. “Christmas Spell” literally spells out the spirit of Christmas in all the ways that represent being ‘home for holidays’. But, for single homeless people, this can be a distant memory. Working with award winning musical director Paul Boyd who gathered a choir of singers from the West End and produced the inspiring arrangement, Martin-Gray has created an instant classic that lifts the soul.
Performers include The Voice star Jordan Lee Davies (currently appearing in “Les Miserables” in the West End), Olivier Award-winning actress Leanne Jones, and “Mrs. Henderson Presents” star Jane Milligan along with other singers and even pipers from The Black Watch to create “The Stages of London Singers”.
“A Christmas Spell” is available on iTunes (click here), as well as Spotify, Amazon Music and from most online music retailers for just 79p. The promotional video is now online on YouTube here. All profits raised will be presented to Crisis UK in the New Year. Social media can be followed @crisispeople using the hashtag #christmasspell
“I wanted to do something meaningful this year to raise money and lift the spirits,” says composer Wendy Martin-Gray. “A Christmas Spell reminds us of the comforts of home and support at this time of year, something which Crisis works to provide for single homeless people.”
Ed Tait, Director of Fundraising for Crisis, said: “Homelessness is a devastating and isolating experience. The average age of death for a homeless person is just 47. No one should face these dangers. But thanks to the dedication of our fundraisers, each year Crisis can help thousands of people to rebuild their lives. I want to say a huge thank you to Wendy for helping end homelessness for good.”
Winners will be announced live at The Story Sessions during short story week on 19th November.
Alex Bruty Andrew Gepp
Rebecca J Payne