An extract from the 1926 thread of this as yet unfinished novel(la) – first draft almost done.
Early summer is the time for festivals in South London, and this year I am reading/ speaking at several
Hither Green Festival Saturday May 18th 7pm at one of my favourite venues,
Manor House Library, on Old Road SE13 5SY
I will be reading from my novel in progress, The Bog Mermaid
alongside Joan Taylor-Rowan, Rebecca Skipwith, Katy Darby, Kate Foley and Math Jones
FREE Readings of stories and poems based in the past – from the 17th to the 20th Century – life stories and imagined lives, followed by a fairly short discussion about writing from history – what inspired the piece, what research was needed, how was the story shaped by the facts and which got in the way – that sort of thing.
With my writing cronies WOOA we are at BrockleyMAX Festival again this year, with stories at the Talbot pub, corner of Lewisham Way and Tyrwhitt Road, taking as our theme Hidden Corners.
We haven’t finalised who is reading, but probably Bartle Sawbridge, Neil Lawrence, Catriona Jarvis, Carolyn Robertson. And you can join in a very silly game after the break.
10am on Saturday 15th June (Flash Fiction Day) I am at Greenwich Book Festival for the first time, when I join my fellow editors Rosamund Davies and Kam Rehal for a pre-publication panel discussion on Story Cities at Room KW003 King William Court Greenwich University Old Naval College Park Row Greenwich SE10 9LS.
FREE, but we are assuming you will need at ticket, but they aren’t on the festival website yet.
As well as editing the book I have a tiny story in it, Foundation Myth, alongside 41 other writers. In the shops 13th June, you can buy it here now
STOP PRESS ! I just had a flash fiction accepted for Flash Flood Journal. Rising Dawn will feature on the journal at around 8.45 on 15th June (national flash-fiction day) not long before we talk about forthcoming Story Cities book of flash at Greenwich Book Fest at 10am!
This is a third outing for Rising Dawn, previously on Spelk and Story Friday
It’s that time of year when the festivals come thick and fast.
Over the next couple of months I will be taking part in a number of SE London events, so I thought I’d just mention them, in case you felt like coming along.
Join us for
Strange stories including (probably) spells potions and drinking. Bring your own (story!) to read, and join in the writing relay.
I am judging the children’s poetry competition! Winners will be announced on 16th June.
On 20th June I will be presenting authors from Arachne Press’ Dusk anthology, reading their contributions – stories and poems inspired by the in-between of no sun but not dark – yet.
St John’s Church on Bromley Road, opposite Homebase.
Back in the day, when you went on a march through London – something I did a lot of in my youth, starting with the march against the Corrie Bill, and moving on to Section 28, the Police Bill, Anti-Nuclear marches with CND, Reclaim the Night, anti-cuts marches with various unions, Lesbian Strength, Gay Pride (back when it was really a political march not a fun day out) …gosh so many marches – anyway, way back then, we used to SING, and in local protests more recently (library under threat, arts venue funding being cut, entire hospital threatened with closure) we’ve gone out and sung too.
I’ve been on a few marches recently, the political climate having taking a heave to the right, and feeling the need to do some shouting in public, but no one is singing anymore.
There is a fantastic tradition of protest songs, and they are (Usually, from necessity) easy to sing and easy to remember.
And they are fun too.
I’ve been suggesting we do a season of protest songs at Vocal Chords, my regular choir for a couple of years and we have finally done it. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about protest songs in perfect harmony in a church – they should really be rough round the edges and raucous, and full of joy and anger and defiance, and most importantly – outside! However, I’ll take what I can get.
Come and have a listen!
Saturday 1st April 7pm for 7.30
Holy Trinity Church, 66 Lennard Road SE20 7LX
£7 on the door in aid of Wheels for Wellbeing.
Reprising at Brockley Max festival Sunday June 4th 3.30pm at St Hilda’s Church Courtrai Road SE4.
I’ve not been on here much recently, there’s been too much happening.
The opera – of course the opera! Each year I’ve done more and written about it less. Barely managing a faint tweet now and then this year. Carmen, under the direction of Chris Rolls had us on stage almost all the time even when not singing – so no time for gathering thoughts to get on the blog. I’m in the background here somewhere (photo © Lena Kern) foreground Don Jose, Adrian Dwyer and our amazing Carmen Hannah Pedley – so good we tended to get caught up and forget we should sing too. This run sold out weeks ahead of the performance so I know a lot of people were disappointed. You can read a (5 star) review here, and you can catch us singing the choruses between 3 and 5pm TOMORROW (Saturday 23rd July) at Greenwich Park bandstand, and stop to chat while we picnic between sets. (I may not actually be singing myself, as the company throat infection caught up with me as soon as we stopped performing.)
Between performances I hurtled up to Derby to be on a panel (Is high fantasy getting more literary?) and run a workshop (Writing with Your Ears) at EdgeLit5. I’m doing more of that at NineWorlds at the Hammersmith Novotel 12-14th August, with creative writing panels: The Feminine Voice and Writing Female Characters in 21st Century Fantasy Fiction and Writing Queer Characters. I’m not sure of the timings yet, but there’s loads on, workshops, panels, book launches and so on and the finalised timetable will be up soon.
So: writing! Sci Fi Novella turned down by Tor, flash fiction published on line by Spelk, if you like your literature short you might enjoy a free haiku walk (should that be a Haik?) round Horniman Gardens with friends The Museum of Walking on Thurs 4th Aug.
And finally, I got my first ever bit of fan mail – as in hand-written, from someone I don’t know, who loved The Dowry Blade! I think it’s such a fat book that it’s taking people time to read it, but there is now a very nice review on Goodreads too.
I think that’s me caught up for now.
I had a spurt of doing submissions recently, and happily can now announce that my story Greenlanders is being read at Liars’ League on Tuesday 14th June – a transport themed evening in which I take up the baton for whaling ships and emigrant steamers. I can’t be there as I’m teaching in another part of town, and even the fastest bus on earth isn’t going to get me there in time, so if any friends, relations or enthusiasts want to go along and cheer vigorously, that would be gratifying!
I wrote the story as part of a workshop I was running at the Metropolitan Archive, writing to live music from Sarah Lloyd & Ian Kennedy, and having just looked at an exhibition of Victorian photographs of everyone from celebrities to ne’er-do-wells.
Another chance to catch a live story, this time in Bath, at Story Friday on 17th June – a busy week! The story is Midsummer Morris Marathon, fo their Solstice theme. This time I’m reading it myself, so the encouragement to friends in the area is even more forceful – you will be hearing from me!
This story is based on elements of fact – I have met those inexhaustible dancers, though not in Somerset, I have stood on that hill and seen that view – after that it’s entirely hokum, unless it isn’t of course…
I will be on a panel at Edge Lit 5, The Midlands’ premier speculative fiction event on Saturday July 16th.
The panel is at 12 Noon and is entitled: High Fantasy, High Art: Is Fantasy Growing More Literary?
Venue: QUAD, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AS kick off at 10, goes on late.
We had a great evening at Gay’s the Word – thank you to Uli & Jim – and despite Kate’s determination to walk out of shot, we have some video – where it got silly, with just a sleeve on show, there’s audio instead.
and audio of the other section read
Blue Glass, Empty Pram:
My Father Counting Sheep:
The Elephant Aunts:
and here, reading an abridged version of the long title poem.
continued off camera…
Launching The Dowry Blade at Lewisham Library last week.
you next opportunity to catch up with me reading from the epic fantasy TONIGHT, 7pm Beckenham Bookshop, high street Beckenham, Kent opposite the church. Get your skates on!