We're spoilt here in the East. It feels as though there is something literary happening almost weekly, & it generally is! Here's a few nights we've attended recently:
Poetry Collective is a big supporter of everything poetic - writers / musicians / comedians etc. Here's regular Olly Watson doing something I never could (remember my lines!).
I was going to say that Café Writers is my favourite night but honestly I love them all. Definitely worth checking out, there is always a great headline act+ open-mic.
Crime Scene was an event run by Andrew out of frustration at the lack of support for local genre novelists. We think it was a success, and hopefully the start of something new.
The Quiet Compère has a basic premise - ten poets read for ten minutes each. I somehow managed to get my name on the list, & despite being delayed (I hate cars) I had an enjoyable evening - if not a shaky one.
photo via Sarah L Dixon
We've also been making the most of the autumnal sunshine and unexpected warmth.
A review-of-sorts of Zachary Cosby's chapbook Cave.
Cave is a love story. Cave is a wrenching. Cave is an ache. how do you make a person stop living inside you / what does a phone call mean are questions answered & unanswered in the thick black fog in our different skins in our dreams of flowering bodies.
Cave is a familiar abyss that I've found myself lost inside more than once, & I think when the darkness has settled in, or on a Sunday afternoon when autumn is that perhaps you too should lose yourself.
Cave can be found over at Bottlecap Press.
Friday 5th June - Double The Horror
This was an event at the Quad in Derby at which two books were being promoted, both edited by Johnny Mains. These were "Dead Funny", an anthology of horror stories written by comedians (co-edited with Robin Ince), and "Best British Horror 2015" (which, as it turns out, wasn't actually available on the day). Andrew read from his short story, "Drowning In Air", which appears in the latter book, alongside Marie O'Regan who featured in Best British Horror 2014, and comedian Rufus Hound who appeared in the Dead Funny anthology.
We arrived in Derby early and had a bit of a stroll around before chatting with Johnny and organiser Alex Davis in the Quad bar before being joined by Marie and her partner, Paul Kane, together with writers Mark Morris and Robert Shearman. Andrew spoke to Rob at length about being one of the World Fantasy judges this year - a role he had previously undertaken - and also the fact that Rufus Hound wasn't a real dog!
Saturday 11th July - Edge-Lit
Back at the Quad in Derby for Edge-Lit 2015. This is an annual event for writers, readers, and publishers with the emphasis on workshops and 'the business' of writing. We arrived on the Friday afternoon and had a bit of a stroll before a few drinks and then a meal with Terry Grimwood, Ray Cluley, and Ray's partner, Jess. It was a gorgeous evening, and Derby managed to pull off a Mediterranean vibe that was quite impressive.
On the Saturday we had a dealer's table for Andrew's books and Fur-Lined Ghettos and we sold steadily throughout the day. Andrew ran a workshop titled "Creating The Short Story: Character, Scene, Conflict", which seemed to be a success.
Photo courtesy of Paul M. Feeny
Later that afternoon Andrew was also a guest on a panel discussing the short story, alongside Alison Littlewood, Kim Lakin-Smith, and Gav Thrope, (chaired by Adele Waring).
Despite falling ill Saturday afternoon we both had a great time, and as always enjoyed spending time with creative friends - old and new.
Friday 17th July - Best British Horror launch
The official launch of Best British Horror 2015 was scheduled to take place at the Charing Cross Waterstones branch in London. As mentioned above, Andrew's story "Drowning In Air", is within the book, and whilst he was not reading this time around he still wanted to attend. (I didn't - me and London don't get on). So this is borrowed from Andrew's blog:
I arrived in London mid-afternoon and had a couple of leisurely drinks with Simon-Marshall Jones of Spectral Press, who is publishing my novella, "The Greens", next autumn. From there we wandered to the venue and chatted with Johnny Mains, Priya Sharma and her partner, Mark, and Victoria Leslie before the event began. The comedian Reece Shearsmith has a story in the book, but his reading consisted of a hilariously filthy reading of an abandoned League of Gentlemen script which included both genitalia and snails. As we lined up for the signing I found myself sitting next to Reece and recited the lyrics to The Resident's song, "Moisture", to him which were not dissimilar to his piece. We also chatted about the series "Inside No 9" (a third is being written as we speak). Charlie Higson also joined us and I mentioned his Norwich musical background (he doesn't get many requests to sing 'who stole my bongos' any more).
Best British Horror launch photos by Steve Shaw
After the signing session there were readings from Alison Moore, John Llewellyn Probert, Priya Sharma and Stephen Laws before the chance for more chat and drinks. Funnily enough there were no Edge-Lit overlaps among the writers present and again I had the chance to chat with friends old and new before heading for the train.
We recently attended a few local exhibitions that are currently running in Norwich.
Francis Bacon and The Masters at The Sainsbury Centre featuring works by Bacon, Titian, Michelangelo, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Velázquez, (and more!), along with the incredible ‘The Crucifixion’ (1638) by Alonso Cano at which I (Sophie) may have cried.
As part of The Art of John Golding exhibition, also at The Sainsbury Centre, there was a couple more Picasso pieces, work by Lazlo Moholy-Nagy & Wassily Kandinsky, a Hans Arp lithograph & a tiny collage by Sophie Taeuber-Arp. DADA!
Artist Rooms: Jeff Koons at Norwich Castle. A 90's kitsch nightmare!
A couple of weeks back we attended a Poetry Collective night at The Birdcage in Norwich.
From their website they say: Poetry Collective is a non-profit, public access collective, promoting the future of creativity and the arts. We recognize creatives from all walks of life and believe that anyone can do anything, that creation is purely 'beauty and the beast', trial and error, is perfect on its own merit, that there is no single audience for each and every piece of work but that there infinite understandings and judgements, thus all have the ability to create. Poetry Collective exists to promote this.
On the night there was:
Jodie Santer & Freddie Ivin - organisers of the event
Daisy Vaughan - call this a soft crush.
Sophie Essex (me!) - call this awkward.
Professor Jack Darcy
Melanie Manson - call this eclectic.
We realise there are a multitude of blogs out there & to to really make an impact you have to provide something different. We're not gonna do that. What we are going to do is share the stuff we love: poetry & literature & books & magazines & art & film & music & events & importantly: other writers!
We tend to avoid lengthy ramblings on stuff, opting for the let the art speak for itself route, though maybe an introduction to who we are is relevant. We don't really know.
There's two of us - Andrew & Sophie - we live in a tiny city (Norwich) in a tiny country (UK) with our tiny family, our tiny magazine and our tiny press.
Our passion lies in the written word & all the beauty that comes with it.
We guess that this will be whatever it'll be. Though we do hope you find something of interest here.
Andrew & Sophie