Writing is a journey, both imaginary and physical. My first book took me to the Arctic to 'catch the colours' of the Northern Lights. Then I hunkered down to catch the wind-blown voices of polar explorers on Shackleton's 1914-17 Endurance expedition. More recently I'm obsessed by space: the race, the rockets, the final frontier.

Hear a BBC Radio Leicester interview about my space poetry at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wfpyp
Explore my digital narrrative PHILAE'S BOOK OF HOURS, published by the European Space Agency, at:

My prose-poetry collections FIREBRIDGE TO SKYSHORE
and MAD, HOPELESS & POSSIBLE are both published by Original Plus Press at:

Contact me for signed copies or bookings at:

Visit the writers' development service I co-run at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

About Me

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Leicester, East Midlands
As a storyteller, my work crosses boundaries of myth, science, history and spoken word. It has been presented in the British Science Museum, Ledbury Poetry Festival, National Space Centre and the European Space Agency website. In 2014 I ran a digital residency on WW1 for 14-18NOW and Writing East Midlands. I teach Creative Writing at De Montfort University and have experience of leading school events, workshop tuition and mentoring. In addition, I co-run The Writers' Shed, a service for writers, at: https://www.facebook.com/TheWritersShed/

Friday, 29 May 2009

Book Blind and Blazing Trails

Wow! The week that was is a blur of literary dazzle and razzamatazz.

Tuesday 26th Short Fuse

My first visit to the new short fiction showcase at the Y Theatre blew me away. The Y is a great theatre space and the performers, spotlit on a dark stage, were all riveting. Short Fuse selects the material and they were top notch stories. Alison Dunne kicked off with a beautifully crafted, wickedly humorous story; Yvonne Lake's story was a moving dramatic monologue. Nicholas Hogg milked the dramatic potential of his punk story by borrowing a friend, complete with nifty mohican, to deliver his sparky dialogue. We ripped along towards the headliner act, the inestimable Jean Binta Breeze. Jean's Caribbean mother brought us right into her yard kitchen, sharing the intimacy of her life over a pot of 'Saturday soup'. Voices, so many vibrant, emotion-charged voices, made for a wonderful evening. Look out for next month's theme: IDOL - False Gods & Superstars.

Wed. 27th The Muslim Writers Awards

It's hard to believe this started only 3 years ago as a small project initiated by Birmingham libraries. The event we attended at the Hilton Hotel in London could have rivalled the Booker awards and probably had far more panache and bling. Awards for all writing genres, both children and adults, were interspersed between superb acts. We opened with a breathtaking trio of performance poets on the theme of 'Mark my Words'. Music, theatre and film were all woven in. Figures from Bloomsbury, Puffin and Penguin appeared to call for the industry to deliver books and new talent reflecting the experiences of this significant community.

I was lucky enough to have been invited to be one of the judges, along with others from Leicester Writers' Club. I particularly want to mention the winner Shameam Akhtar and the three-times short-listed Zahid Hussain. Shameam had submitted 5 mysterious, beautifully cadenced poems that rambled between East and West and Zahid's was also a startling and original voice. Both deserve publication and hopefully this event will bring them closer to that. What I relished most that evening was the real joy and pride in a community so often misrepresented in our media.

Thursday 28th Picnic Book launch

And no sooner had I landed back in the multi-cultural heartland that is Leicester than I was off to another book launch, this time for the haunting African novel 'The Ghosts of Eden' by Andrew Sharp. Andrew, a local GP, has an uncanny ability to take us right into the lives and skin of his Ugandan herd boy. His extended family appeared last night to undertake a massive catering operation for the 120 guests. We joked he must have threatened his patients with being struck off to fill the hall but really it was the book and the warmth and wit of the man himself that did that job. We were also impressed with the passion and commitment of his publisher Corinne de Souza from the small independent press, Picnic Books. Corinne was blunt about the state of publishing today and the challenges facing the independent sector but the small number of writers on her list are lucky indeed to have this force for change behind them.

And so back to the day job and my second years awaiting mock exam results. I shall arrive still blinded by the bling.

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