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Posts Tagged ‘readings

small things ghosts

Having somehow managed to survive a hectic year that revolved mostly around a hospital stay and various other levels of madness, this blog has been neglected in a way that so many blogs have been before. Life and writing and existance in general have been put to one side as I tried to get myself back in one piece. But there are two achievements that make everything seem very lovely indeed. I’m very happy to have pieces published in two rather wonderful titles.

Firstly, I have a story featured in the fabulous charity collection All The Small Things, with an international group of writers presenting diverse tales of childhood in aid of Right To Play UK, an organisation which uses the transformative power of sport and play to teach valuable life lessons to children facing poverty, conflict and disease with the delightful aim of “bulldozing the world with a bit of love”. Many thanks to Pia Hansen, Obi Iheme and the rest of the team for involving me in this project. The book is a real treat, and it’s an honour to be included with such talented storytellers for such a great cause.

Secondly, after 2011’s wordPLAY presents A Flock Of Poets as part of the gorgeous Ghost of Gone Birds exhibition, Bloomsbury very wisely preserved the beautiful artwork by Ralph Steadman, Sir Peter Blake and Billy Childish among so many, many others in a wonderful coffee table book. I was thrilled to hear that some of the pieces written for the event would be published alongside the artwork, including my piece “The Last Free Bird In England”. In addition, there is a photograph of me mid-flow, looking like a goddamn human monster (beware of those plosive consonant, spoken worders…). I’m thrilled that our work could be included in the printed record of Ghost of Gone Birds’ fantastic project, and big thanks to the perfect Rebecca Fenton for too many things to list.

As a mere scribbler who chokes when referring to myself as a “writer”, it is a genuine, stomach-twirling delight to have my works not only published, but in books with ISBNs and available for purchase on Amazon. It probably seems like nothing to non-writers, and something totally minor to actual writers, but for someone in my position, I can barely express the excitement. I appreciate that luck often has more to do with such things then talent, and in that case, I’m the luckiest person in the world. Happy new year, team.

Our friends at wordPLAY have done it again. As part of the Poetry Parnassus, a week of international rhyming goodness, wordPLAY will be hosting 7 of the most exciting and unique poets and spoken word artists from the Pacific islands (all 10,000 of them). The diverse line-up features artists from the Cook Islands, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga and I shall be giddly swinging my legs in the audience to hear them all.

The magnificent featured performers are:

Tusiata Avia

Audrey Brown-Pereira

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Selina Tusitala Marsh

Karlo Mila

Craig Santos Perez

Teresia Teaiwa

wordPLAY London presents Pacifica
White Room, Southbank Centre
London
Thurs 28th June, 7pm
Hosted by Ms wordPLAY
Free Entry

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The great auk, like the one I just knitted for Ghosts Of Gone Birds, in aid of BirdLife International’s preventing extinctions programme.
– Margaret Atwood, Guardian Q&A, 29th October 2011

Despite my unofficial retirement from the world of spoken word, I have been coaxed from my sleepy cove of lethargy to participate in a really exciting event. The glorious, unkillable wordPLAY has risen like a phoenix from the flames to present a literary evening in association with the ‘Ghosts of Gone Birds’ initiative to raise funds and awareness for bird conservation causes worldwide, in conjunction with RSPB and BirdLife.

The central event is an exhibition of artwork at The Rochelle School Arts Centre in Shoreditch supplied by visual artists writers ranging from Margaret Atwood (who is honorary president of BirdLife and has crocheted a Great Auk to exhibit), Ralph Steadman, Jessica Albarn (sister Damon), Jamie Hewlett (the artist behind ‘Gorillaz’) and many more…

Doves and British Sea Power are also involved and will be staging a music night as part of the project.

I am giddy to be involved and have been beavering away at a pair of dystopian nightmares to read aloud in my funny accent for your aural pleasure (the nightmare is that they’re not finished yet). Do come on down to Shoreditch, where the beautiful people live, and do your part to save our feathered friends…

***

wordPLAY London and Ghosts of Gone Birds Present:
A Flock Of Poets
Thursday 17th November, 7.30pm

featuring
Anna Mae Selby
Liz Adams
Sarah Day
Bronagh Fegan
Nia Davies
and more

Performing works from their existing collections PLUS new works inspired by pieces in the ongoing Ghost of Gone Birds exhibition

£3 on the door
(with profits going to conservation charities such as RSPB and Bird Life)

Today is Tuesday, when our beloved wordPLAY returns to the whiskey-soaked wonderment of the Good Ship for more wordsmithery, creation, larks and literary spectacle. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm, it’s £3 in and all proceeds go to Cancer Research UK. And the line-up is mind-bogglingly amazing. We worked very hard on it, and it has been really wonderful getting the opportunity to help organise another event. It would be really, really lovely to see you all there if possible. And afterwards I’ll lead you, Pied Piper-style, to the best chip shop in London.

Two bits of excellent news:
Firstly, the wonderful team at Storm In A Teacup have released issue 2 of their titular zine, once again featuring alternative female artists and writers dealing with female-positive topics and creating delightful things. I am extremely pleased to say that I have a story featured amongst the illustrious company, and even moreso that Bex Massey has created an illustration to accompany my piece. One of the most wonderful things is to have done something that inspires another person to make art, so I’m very excited and humbled. The zine also has a cocktail recipe, so you know you want to get some of that. It’s available from all good zine fairs and by e-mailing storminateacupzine@gmail.com. Big thanks to Elizabeth Martin.

Secondly, wordPLAY is making its triumphant return to the Good Ship in Kilburn on 15th March in aid of Cancer Research UK. We have pulled together a splendiferous array of writers and performers to say words at you until your head explodes with joy and also hydrogen. It’s a line-up so deliriously awesometacular that we aren’t even having music this time around. And it’s hosted by me, and you know how you love to hear me say things in that silly accent of mine, as well as the much more capable and coherent Nancy Clarik with moral support and gentle guidence of the beauteous Becca. So do come and support our charity, and you will be rewarded with an evening of unequable literary lyricism from a group of massively talented peoples:

Booker-longlisted, pioneer of the New Puritans, and thoroughly excellent fellow MATT THORNE

Wickedly wonderful poetry from Carol Ohemaa

and our spectactular guest stars
Liz Adams

Sam Buchan-Watts

Sophie Buchan

Jack Kelly

Leslie Tetteh

then don’t forget to poke me in the face and tell me you love me for letting you know all about the art that’s running wild in the world.

I am very super extremely happy to announce that wordPLAY is returning for another charity event, this time in aid of Cancer Research UK, on 15th March 2011 (so close to St Patrick’s day you can practically smell the alcohol on my breath.). We’re in the process of confirming the line-up, but it’s looking pretty special.

Once again, I will be hosting, and will try to be a little less flustered, a little more prepared, and not at all inclined to refer to everything, absolutely everything, as “lovely”*, when I blank on every other adjective under the unrelenting, staring eyes of our beloved audience. After the November event, someone came up to me and told me how funny I had been, adding, of course, anything you say would be funny in your accent. THANKS. So I’m aiming for a slight improvement on that.

BUT YES THIS IS VERY GOOD NEWS! I haven’t heard good news like this since yer one strolled down the other side of Mount Sinai (Bible reference).

P.s. I love parentheses.

* except for when I referred to myself as being “shite”. Just to switch things up a bit.

As the days tick sullenly down to 23rd November (for real, I mean, this weather, ack), I get more and more excited and nervous and terrified and excited. Not about wordPLAY, not really, but when you’ve put a metric shit tonne of work into an event, I suppose it’s natural to imagine the things that could go wrong:

1. No one turns up except the acts.
2. The acts don’t turn up.
3. Chlamydia epidemic.

Luckily, with the mighty force of logic and pragmatism, I am aware that most of those won’t happen. Because:

1. Our line-up are so amazing that people will want to come.
2. They are all also very lovely people so I know that they won’t let wordPLAY down.
3. However, as they are all very sexy, I can’t guarantee anyone’s safety in this regard.

So come to the Good Ship on 23rd November to see the following amazing literary superstars, handpicked for freshness and awesomeosity:

Indigo Williams – in a word, powerful. Indigo’s uber-hot stuff so catch her before she explodes into onomatopaeic flames!

Nick Makoha – Tate gallery collaborator treats us to his accomplished words.

Allan Buroughs – excellent short story writer shares his wonderful words.

Tony White – Prolific writer who is always turning his hand to amazing new projects, doing his bit to ‘spread the word’.

Susan Gray – Acclaimed member of The Roundhouse Collective lets rip for your benefit.

Music from the magnificent Hannah Tuson.

Doors 7pm for 8pm start, £3 entry.

All door proceeds to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Event page on Facebook

[Update, post-event: We had another act on the bill, but she dropped out at the last minute, by updating her Twitter but not actually letting us, the organisers, know directly. Shabby off of Big Brother, you unprofessional gimp. Anyone looking to add her to your event line-up, be warned that she will probably not turn up. I filled in at the last minute, because I am Captain Reliable. Anyway. Fuck you, Shabby. Div.]


c. Kit Ryall 2010

One of the hardest things about being an aspiring writer is other writers. Specifically, the highly motivated, self-promoting kind, who know how they should be marketed and the sort of people who should know their name. Literary events are a breeding ground for it. They watch the crowd at literary events, scoping out the right people to crawl over on their way to the top. Facebook friends applaud as the promoters introduce their mates, or someone they went to uni with, or someone they high-fived after comparing identical opinions on late period David Foster Wallace (but they call him Dave). The audience then endures an evening of self-satisfied and mediocre performances because they have come to expect no better. I get it. It’s not how you write, it’s who you know. That’s how it works. That’s how everything works.

But as a reader who loves literature, I had given up on finding a literary evening of merit. I wanted emotion, I wanted art, I wanted to hear people who were passionate and fresh and TALENTED. I didn’t want the organiser’s mates, shared backgrounds and trite metaphors, yet this is the attitude permeating the spoken word scene. Familiarity over quality. “You can read your shitty poem at my event because you let me read at yours”. The snake eats its own tail.

Then, in happier times, I moved to Kilburn and discovered wordPLAY. wordPLAY wasn’t a forum for smug connections and insularity. wordPLAY wanted beautiful things. It attracted a wide range of writers, poets, musicians and spoken word artists to perform, who were talent spotted and had a diverse range of mediums, perspectives and attitudes. The atmosphere wasn’t one of wet-lipped schmoozing and behind-backed criticism but of enthusiasm and excitement for the written word carved and coiffed and spoken out loud. The organisers weren’t looking to promote themselves, the performers weren’t looking for an agent, and the audience weren’t looking to spot the next big thing. Everyone was there for the love of good writing, and that’s what they got.

When wordPLAY ended in May, everything looked a bit duller. Going out on a high, the team had attracted a varied and impressive range of headliners from Laura Dockrill, Kate Tempest, Bernadine Evaristo, Edinburgh award-winning comedian Tim Key, TS Eliot-winning Poet George Szirtes, author of ‘Return to The Hundred-Acre Wood’ David Benedictus, and an eclectic array of less established, unpublished and wonderful writers, from traditional poets to MCs, beatboxers and freestylers and prose writers and storytellers.

The good news is that wordPLAY returns on Tuesday 23rd November for a one off charity event in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I am very happy to say that I’ve been asked to help organise this glorious return to the literary scene. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that organising an event is shitting hard work. I have great found respect for anyone who manages to run any kind of evening, even the dire ones, and I now see the appeal of getting your friends in to fill out the bill. But the trick is not to give up. Amazing writing is out there, waiting to be discovered by an audience who wants to listen. Working on the new wordPLAY event has taught me not to give up and resort to favours or settle for someone reliable but dull. Once a month for over a year, wordPLAY met the challenge, and sought out the exciting, unusual and interesting voices to perform. They crafted one of the most accessible, entertaining and unpretentious spoken word events in London.

Keep 23rd November free. It’s going to be amazing.

follow wordPLAY on faceBOOK

Yeah, I flipped that heading round on you. See how you like it.

In fact, I have been busy, with a fine mix of writerly pursuits, drinking with friends and crying myself to sleep (must stop listening to Eleanor Rigby). All in all, it’s been a pretty busy time for the Bronasaurus, thank you very much, though of course I have missed you lovely people who slavishly subscribe to my occasional musings here and who I have also just made up. Hello.

“They Is Us”, the all-conquering Nest Gallery’s feminist/sci-fi art exhibition, hosted at the Sassoon Gallery by the Sisters Burn, was a wonder to behold. I am very proud, mostly to have been involved with such extremely talented artists, to see my story exhibited in such a wonderful space, that people have been so supportive of all our efforts, and that the presentation of my piece didn’t collapse over the course of the exhibition. Here’s hoping everyone who snagged a copy of my story, “Those Girls Called Jackie” enjoyed/tolerated/read it, and if anyone else would like a copy to read with their eyes and their faces can e-mail me. More images from the exhibition and private view reside at the Nest Gallery blog, as well as information about future Nest events.

The Storytails event, hosted as ever by the delightful Gabriella, went splendidly. A really interesting selection of writers, both performing and in the audience. Was extremely nice chatting to all in attendance, and absolutely made the two hour, TFL-thwarting journey to Stoke Newington worth it. Why do I live so far away? I don’t know. I just do. It’s a very nice area, and Storytails remains one of the few lit events in London not populated by absolute wankboxes (more on this later). I had a great time, reading two stories (making me two times as good as the last time I read, statistically at least, unless it actually means I was only half as good, but that’s getting into a hazy mathematical area and I promised myself I wouldn’t go back to that place) which are available for listenage or downloadiness in podcast form at the links below. Please enjoy my Northern Irish accent therein. It is a constant source of amusement to people, and I have been recently informed that I say the word “naughty” particularly well. Naughty. Naughty. (I don’t see it.)

Tick Yes Or No
Arthur Nobody
And I highly recommend any writers looking for a fun evening with a rapt atmosphere submit some stories to Storytails, it’s a really fun event.

In other news, I’ve been listening to this. IT’S SO TRUE.

Camera Obscura – “Honey in the Sun”

After ever such a lovely time with them at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, I am giddy with delight to be back reading at Storytails’ regular monthly event this, er, month. This Sunday 26th September, I will be doing words in my big girl voice (which is currently the same as my sick girl voice, but let’s not get down about it) upstairs at the Birdcage in Stoke Newington. The line-up is looking extremely delightful and it should be a very interesting and literific evening. I probably won’t even burst into tears on stage nor nothin’.

Facebook event page
Storytails site

Be there or be elsewhere, wondering what it would be like to be there (it would be lovely.)

ALSO I have some very, very, VERY exciting news coming up*…

(* I’m not pregnant or published, but it’s still very exciting.)