In Memoriam: Albert Finney (1936-2018)

A worthy tribute

Funk's House of Geekery

It is my sad duty to report that five time Oscar nominee Albert Finney has passed away at the age of eighty-two after a battle with cancer.

Born into a lower middle class family in Salford, England, Finney, the son of a bookmaker, got a chance to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where his fellow students included acting greats Peter O’Toole and Alan Bates. Finney’s acting career began in the theater where after graduating RADA, he joined the Royal Shakespeare company, starring in numerous plays. Albert Finney was part of the new wave of British cinema of the 1960s, receiving his first screen role in 1960’s The Entertainer alongside Laurence Olivier. Later that year his breakout role would come in Saturday Night and SundayMorning.

Albert Finney would go on to star in dozens of films over the next seven decades receiving four Academy Award nominations…

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100 days: an idea worth spreading

Excellent post from Thom.

Thom Sullivan

Thom Sullivan  Poet Poetry NaPoWriMo 08

When I speak to school students about poetry, I often tell them about an exercise or challenge I’ve used to help me write. The idea of 30 or 100-day projects began for me with a TEDx Auckland talk, called Inspiration Wherever You Are, The 100 Days Project, by New Zealand graphic designer Emma Rogan:

As Emma Rogan explains in her talk, it’s an idea she’s adapted from Michael Beirut, a graphic designer and design critic at the Yale School of Art. Each year he asks his students to undertake a project where they repeat one simple creative exercise of their choice every day for 100 days.

I’ve used the practice for periods of 100 days, or 30 days, and it’s the latter I usually recommend to students. For example, in the past, my daily exercise was as simple as writing a 12 line draft of a poem, perhaps…

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“AND AIN’T I A WOMAN” … A CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2019

A celebration of black culture.

THE POET BY DAY

373px-Carte_de_visite

“I’m not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.” The Narrative of Sojourner Truth Sojourner Truth and Olive Gilbert



Ain’t I a Woman is posted here today in honor of Black History Month  (February) and International Women’s Day (IWD), coming up on March 8.

One of the many guises in which poetry presents itself:  American actress Alfrie Woodard delivers New Yorker Sojourner Truth‘s spontaneous speech, Ain’t I a Woman. Sojourner gave this speech at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in May of 1851.

SOJOURNER TRUTH (1797-1883)

African-American Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Activist



Black History Month is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the people and events of the African Diaspora.

Two recommended sites to visit for this celebration:

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Wombwell Rainbow Interviews Author Updates: Isabelle Kenyon and Planet In Peril

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews Author Updates

An occasional series focussing on an author’s progress. Any author already interviewed is welcome  to contact me about any developments in their career, new publications or events.

My Post

https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/planet-in-peril

Isabelle Kenyon

  1. Tell me about your latest project.

Planet in Peril is a national competition to get people writing in creating artwork on the theme of global warming and climate change. The competition offers cash prizes and publication in the future gorgeous hardback, glossy anthology: ‘ Planet in Peril’.  This anthology will combine the latest scientific research, as annotated by Dr Michelle Cain, Oxford University, with stunning photography and artwork and talented poets. This competition has a massive outreach program, getting schools and especially young people writing and engaged with global warming. The book will fundraise for my partners WWF and The Climate Coalition.

2. How do you believe anthologies will help charities?

The anthologies help my links charities in two ways. Firstly, the fundraising is an obvious bonus for them! Also, their profile is raised and connected to the arts. I believe that projects such as those of Fly on the Wall Press, increase positive activism through the arts.

3. Why a competition?

As other publishers realise, Charity anthology projects are almost impossible to offer free copies or payment to the artists and poets involved. In order to be able to reward my prize-winners with a prize fund in each category and free copies to everyone involved, the competition came about. It also means that under 18’s can enter the competition for free and that the outreach program can take place. I believe that where the arts meets education, such as in this project, great things can be achieved, and this is a massive part of what ‘ Planet in Peril’ represents.

4. How did this project come about?

I wanted to do something which type of the most important issue in society today, and to me this is clearly global warming.

5. Can writers contribute outside the competition?

It is just submission by the competition but there are a limited number of unwaged applications, which have been kindly sponsored.

6. Are any other writer involved in the project?

There will be a large number of poets and artists involved, however my featured artist is Helen Mort, the former Derbyshire Poet Laureate!

7. Why is it important to include schools and young people in this?

It is important that creative projects are accessible to young people for free and that schools are able to inspire them through both science and art. Sometimes in education the two are separated but this project will encourage schools and young people to look at both together.

 

 

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Miss Kiane

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

syncopated hearts kiane

Miss Kiane

Author, performer, facilitator, coach and entrepreneur, Miss Kiane loves all things artsy. She has extensive experience writing, directing, and performing in theatrical productions. Miss Kiane has shared her poetry in several venues including Busboys and Poets, Mayorga Coffee House, Storytellers, Organic Soul and the Synergy Center. As a published poet, she was honored as the Poetry Society’s Who’s Who in Poetry. Miss Kiane also served as the Chief Organizer for the DC Poetry Spot, a DC Meetup Group for writers, poets and creative scribblers for four years.

Miss Kiane is the owner and president of Kiane Ink Healing in the Pen, LLC, a creative arts company that uses poetry and creative expression as a platform for hope, healing and social change. Kiane Ink has expanded to include spoken word performances, reflective writing workshops, individual coaching and charitable open mic events. Miss Kiane is the author of two chapbooks; Think on These Things and Syncopated Hearts. Lastly, Kiane Ink recently established a non-profit called The InkWELL whereby individuals contending with grief, loss and/or trauma may benefit from cathartic writing programs in places like schools, juvenile centers, churches, community centers and more.

As a Licensed Graduate Social Worker, Miss Kiane enjoys melding her profession with her passion by helping others to access levels of personal healing, empowerment and growth through the power of poetry and creative expression. In her own words, “Poetry is my friend, my catharsis…my gift to the world.”

Her chapbook Syncopated Hearts was released in 2016 and will be relaunched on Amazon March 2019!

Her website is: www.kianeink.com

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

Hi Paul! Thanks for promoting poetry and allowing me to be a part of your efforts.

I started writing poetry according to my mother at the tender age of 3…smile. My mother is deceased but I found a hand written scribble in her hand writing that stated Dinahsta’s first poem age 3:

Little flea had wings but never learned to fly.

Pretty deep huh?

My personal first recollection of writing was in the 2nd grade. I attended elementary school in the Midwest in the early seventies and during that time the arts were highly encouraged and infused into the regular curriculum. My teacher asked us to write something about a topic that we liked. I wrote about love and used my mother as my inspiration. I did not know all of the in’s and out’s of metaphors and inspiration, but it seemed quite natural to me. My ppe. Was entitled, What is the Meaning of Love? The city had a city-wide school magazine whereby teachers would submit their student’s writings, paintings even musical scores to this magazine for publication. My first published poem was when I was in the 2nd grade i. The city-wide Totem magazine.

Later, however, I wrote quite often. Specifically after the passing of my mother when I was 12. Poetry became my therapy. ….literally. I used it as a place to emote and express all of the painful feelings that I felt no one else could understand.

I continue to use poetry as a therapeutic measure. I also help others use it as such. But now it is not only an outlet for my painful feelings but a wherewithall to express joy, faith and give voice to stories both mine and others .

2. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

In school we did study traditional poets and to be quite honest poetry was never really presented in an exciting way to me until much later in my life. I remember the first time I heard Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman someone recited it and the words on the page came alive to me. At that point I became interested in not only reading poetry but also hearing it or experiencing it. So writers such as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Maya Angelou and Gwendolyn Brooks were the Genesis of my awareness to established poets and writers. If I were to reflect on poets that may have in their own way influenced my writing I would probably have a very eclectic list. For example, Shel Silverstein- my favorite poetic story teller. He is clever, humorous and deep. I may not be as clever and many may not chuckle at my humor, but I took away from him the intentionality of telling what seemed to be a simple story while weaving in weighty truths. Edgar Allen Poe. He was a very dark writer; however, there was this prophetc rhythm he excelled at conveying. He did not shy away from the darkness. Sometimes I try to capture Poe’s spirit by Painting the picture as it is even the darkness so that others can see it, sense it and definitely not ignore it. Gwendolyn Brooks. A legend in her own right….known for poetically speaking to the black experience. I can say without much reservation that many of my pieces are intentional in painting a visual of circumstances, situations, people, or stories that have been silenced or that need to be placed on the front row of our minds even if it be for just the length of the poem.

3. What is your daily writing routine?

I think a weekly writing routine is probably more accurate…smile. I have a weekly writing challenge called Words on Wednesdays whereby a random word is chosen from words collected from followers on social media. The challenge is to write something with the word in it, write something about that word or use that word to inspire something you write. This exercise is extremely helpful in ensuring that I write something regularly. In addition, my personal process includes journaling and building on one liners or refrains that I hear in my head and think…I think this is a poem or This is a performance peace. When I have a special project (writing a customized piece for a customer or for an occasion), I write more methodically, researching, reading and analyzing.

4. What motivates you to write?

Motivation for me is fluid. I am motivated by various things. As I mentioned before….pain, loss or injustice may motivate me to write. Of late, I’ve probably written more about injustices or societal issues that really bother me more often than not. I am also motivated by my faith in God. To encourage others poetically to have hope, believe, trust the process etc. is very much a part of my poetic purpose.

5. What is your work ethic?

Miss Kiane: May you elaborate or specify?

The idea that the work you do is virtuous in itself. So, for example trying to get as much done in an hour as possible. Or, it is important to achieve deadlines. Other writers may not be so diligent, preferring to wait for inspiration, and feel that once it becomes a chore it is not worth doing.

Miss Kiane: Hmmmmm…..As it pertains to my writing, I never want it to become a chore….it is often a challenge but once it becomes laborious or obligatory, the quality or the authenticity of what I produce suffers. Deadlines are necessary for projects and assignments but even within that period, I work through inspiration and meditation. So for example, if I have an assignment to write a poem for a screenplay and I have 45 days to do so, I appreciate and NEED that deadline to give me boundaries; however, how i work within those boundaries, I prefer to be given autonomy. I am not likely to hold myself to things like ‘write an hour each day’. My process involves deep contemplation, internal reflection (what message do I want or that needs to be conveyed, what emotion do I want to evoke, is it rhythmic or melodic etc.) This mental rumination may go on several days before I even write anything down. I prefer to work through inspiration, authenticity vs. the rigidity of a hardcore writing schedule. As far as ‘waiting’ for inspiration…I used to depend solely on such and at the time inspiration was unhampered by work, mortgages, dogs that need walking and life’s responsibilities..smile. So now that adulting is my fulltime job, I’ve learned how to employ a balance for my style of writing – when inspiration hits, write it down go with it, but don’t be too proud to come back rearrange, tweak or often in my case finish. Engaging in writing workshops and/or clubs that utilize prompts to help stir creativity outside of inspiration has been extremely helpful to me as I now can exercise the creative muscle without the initiation of external inspiration.

6. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Wow..after thinking hard about this, I realized that most of my highly admired poets have passed…even recently. For example, Delores Kendrick, DC’s Poet Laureate, passed 2017 but is one that I admire not just for her poetry but also for advocacy for poetry programs for emerging young writers. I had the privilege of taking a workshop with her and her dissection and instruction of how to wield the poetic pen was eye opening. Her work is powerful and concise. Poignant…. Adjectives I would like to be ascribed to my work one day.

7. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Miss Kiane: Professionally?

Yes

Miss Kiane: I would 1st ask them to do an internal assessment of why they want to write, what message do they feel they are the conduit for, what’s their personal motivation…is it money, fame or passion, enjoyment, higher purpose etc. (Both are fine but the approach may differ). Secondly, write…then write some more. Seek the professional guidance to perfect your craft, find your niche, voice and audience. One thing that I have not done as frequently as perhaps I should is submit my work to journals and things of that nature. My dislike of competition as a relates to my writing has often inhibited my submission but submitting your work particularly where there may be Room for constructive criticism can only improve your work as well as help you to network to move forward in the professional realm of writing. Lastly, I would say educate yourself on the industry. This is to include classes, workshops, retreats, reading materials…in other words INVEST in you.. We cannot expect others like publishers to invest in us if we are unable or unwilling to do so for ourselves.

8. Final question: Tell me about a writing project you are involved in at the moment.

I am currently a part of a writing collective that was summoned together by a poet and author friend because of our different styles and poetic voices. Those differences make us no less talented but the intersection of our gifts make for a dynamic team to say the least. We are embarking on a poetry collection publication whereby I have contributed several poems. This collection has several purposes but one of the main purposes I think is to showcase what great things can manifest when diversity is embraced and used as a unifying factor versus a separating one. We are hoping to release the book no later than April 2019.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Ella Frears

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity

Ella Frears

is a poet, visual artist and curator living and working in south-east London. She has had poetry published in various publications including Poetry London, Ambit, The Rialto, Poetry Daily, POEM, and the Moth among othersHer debut pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity is out with Goldsmiths Press (available via Burley Fisher Books). Ella was shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize 2017.

Ella is a trustee and editor for Magma Poetry. She was awarded a fully funded scholarship for the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway University 2016 and was awarded a place on the prestigious Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme.

In 2014, she was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for London with Spread the Word. She was also shortlisted twice for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize from Cambridge University and for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2015.

Ella has completed residencies for the National Trust, Tate Britain, SPUD (the Observatory) and most recently was poet in residence at Royal Holloway University physics department writing about the Cassini Space Mission for which she curated a multi-media ‘funeral’ event at Bold Tendencies, Peckham, on the night the spacecraft tumbled out of orbit (15th Sept 2017).

In April 2017, Ella curated an eight-day exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery: RESISTANCE – A Short Guide to Self-Improvement as part of their Palace of Culture season which, alongside works commissioned from female filmmakers and poets, included a programme of live events, readings, workshops and talks.
She performs regularly across London and further afield including Kings Place, the Free Word Centre and the RSL. Ella was also guest speaker/poet on a panel at WoW (Women of the World) Festival at the South Bank Centre. She guest lectures at Falmouth University and University East London in Fine Art, and Creative Writing.

Her collaborative installation with artist Ben Sanderson, The Six Pillars of Modernism, was on show at Tate St.Ives, Oct 2017 – July 2018. She is currently one of four poets shortlisted for an Arts Foundation Fellowship 2019.

http://www.ellafrears.co.uk/

The Interview

  1. What inspired you to write poetry?

In my second year of my BA at Goldsmiths we had to choose between poetry and prose. I chose poetry. The class was taught by Eva Salzman who swore a lot, was passionate and fierce. She showed us lots of brilliant poems by contemporary poets then beat us at pool in the pub after. We wrote strange, raw (probably not very good) poems that year and I fell in love with it.

  1. Who introduced you to poetry?

My parents were never that interested in poetry, but they did get me to memorise the Jabberwocky aged 4 (it’s still the only poem I can recite). I had a very bad English teacher in secondary school who almost turned me off language entirely. At sixth form college however the teaching was great. Our A level English Lit teacher, Jackie, read us Plath’s ‘Daddy’ at the beginning of every class – she was brilliant.

  1. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from older poets. I never felt shut out or intimidated – although I’m aware that’s not the case for everyone. Grants, scholarships and mentoring were so vital while I was waitressing full time – they helped me keep writing. With the poetry community being so small, you end up meeting – or at least being in the same room as – your heroes quite early on. I only have positive feelings about these encounters.

  1. What is your daily writing routine?

I’m self employed and work from home so it’s a bit erratic. I don’t tend to get dressed – it feels like a waste of clothes. I’m pretty sure my neighbours/postman think I’m either depressed or a prostitute – maybe both. I drink a lot of tea.

I read until I feel ready to write. On good writing days I’ll write through lunch until the evening without stopping. On bad days I’ll tidy, make elaborate lunches that take ages to prepare and scroll endlessly through twitter.

If I’m working on a particular project or residency things tend to get a bit chaotic about a week before the deadline. I have to remember to leave the house occasionally.

  1. What motivates you to write?

I guess I feel compelled to write and I’m not totally sure why. I’m less good at finishing poems though – so I need regular deadlines to motivate me to finish.

  1. What is your work ethic?

I enjoy my work. I also need a certain amount of projects, residencies etc to make rent. So I work hard and sometimes it feels great and sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle. Mostly I love it.

  1. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I was deeply affected by the women writers I read when I was younger – Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison, Jean Rhys… I think there were ideas or phrases that stuck in my head and that reappear in my work again and again in various guises.

  1. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

There are so many! I’m really excited by the things being written today. If I listed as many as I could now, I’d almost certainly miss someone vital, so I wont. But contemporary poetry is in a great place at the moment with more marginalised voices being recognised and celebrated than before- and that’s never a bad thing. More of that please!

I also edit Magma Poetry magazine so I get to see a lot of work by new, often unpublished writers all the time. There’s so, so much good stuff going on.

  1. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I’m also a visual artist – although my visual arts practice often involves text.

I don’t know why writing is my thing – maybe it won’t always be. Right now, I love it.

  1. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Write!

  1. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m just finishing a year-long project with Tate St Ives writing poems about the St Ives Modernists (Hepworth, Nicholson, Heron, et al.). They’ll be on display in the galleries this year.

I’m also writing some poems and planning an event about Cornish Path Moss (an at risk species endemic to Cornwall) for conservation organisation Back from the Brink.

There’s an exciting project in its early stages with Photographer Toby Glanville, who I worked with last year during a residency for K6 Gallery in Southampton.

I’m co-editing the current issue of Magma (on the theme of ‘Changeling’) with brilliant poet Richard Scott which will be launched in March/April this year.

And alongside these, very slowly, I’m finishing my first collection.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: EM STRANG

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Em+Strang++Bird-Woman

EM STRANG

Em is a poet and Open Book lead reader. She also facilitates workshops in Embodied Poetry, looking at the relationship between psychology, somatic experience and creative practice. Her writing preoccupations are with ‘nature’, spirituality and the relationship between the human and nonhuman. Em’s work has been published widely in anthologies and journals, was shortlisted for the 2014 Bridport Prize and selected for the Forward Anthology 2017. Bird-Woman, her first full collection, was published by Shearsman in October 2016. Bird-Woman was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prize and won the 2017 Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Award. Her second collection, Horse-Man, will be published in September 2019.

The Interview

  1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

I began writing poetry age 16. At least, that’s when I began writing ‘in earnest’, and oh boy, some of it was really earnest! At the time, it was a refuge for me; a way of processing stuff with words and images; and a means (along with other intoxicants) of escaping reality. It was also a gateway into the minds and lives of others – reading other poets’ work made me feel part of a community of people who thought and felt like I did. To the outside world, though, poetry was my own private realm. I almost never shared what I wrote – that wasn’t important to me at the time. I got hooked quickly and haven’t stopped making poems since.

  1. Who introduced you to poetry?

School teachers. In particular, an English teacher called Mr Craddock in secondary school. He lit the fire of poetry in me and then derided my attempts to write it. I’ve never forgotten the ascerbic remarks he made about my first batch of poems. It took me years to pluck up the courage to share my work after that.

  1. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

When I began writing poetry, I suppose I was aware, in that I looked up to older (and dead) poets and admired their work. I remember feeling glad that they’d written such great poems and it inspired me to keep going. I did pedestal them, though, for sure, and sometimes I’d whine that there was no way I was ever going to write like them. Nowadays, I’m glad I don’t write like anyone else. I don’t experience older poets (or dead ones) as dominating; I’m just getting on and doing what I do. The comparison game is one of endless suffering.

  1. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t have a daily writing practice. Actually, that’s not strictly true. I write in my journal every morning, but it’s generally not poetry and it’s only for 5 minutes. The only daily practice I have which I’m incredibly disciplined about is meditation, prayer, journaling and yoga. If poems come, that’s a bonus.

However, not having a daily writing practice is a new development in my creative life: from about age twenty until my early forties, I got up at 6am every morning without fail and wrote for an hour and a half. Once children came along, that was sometimes interrupted, but I stuck to this routine like glue for more than two decades.

  1. What motivates you to write?
  • A desire to dig beneath the surface of everyday life.
  • An utter delight in the feel and sound and imagery of words.
  • A search for the sacred and the divine.
  • A poem’s ‘demand’ to be written down.
  1. What is your work ethic?

Never force a poem. Write when you’re inspired to write. Commit to your work wholeheartedly. Show up at the page when you know you have to. Never beat yourself up about ‘not writing enough’. Never over-congratulate yourself on producing multiple, award-winning tomes. Just write, but only if you love it, not because you’ve got tangled up in the identity trap of ‘I am a poet’. Having said that, I had to go through that, so maybe it’s a kind of rite of passage?

  1. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I think they influence me enormously. I still love the poets I loved as a young woman – Walt Whitman, R.S. Thomas, Tomas Tranströmer, Raymond Carver, Elizabeth Bishop, Rumi – and I think their diverse mixture of pared back clarity, spiritual exuberance and psychological insight are all evident in my work.

  1. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Alice Oswald because her poems are alive in a somatic sense – I receive them bodily. I love her risk-taking and playfulness, her incredible ear and the way in which she uses myth to explore the human condition.

Mourid Barghouti because of the powerful simplicity, poignancy and directness of his writing, and the fact that he has never given up.

Nikola Madzirov because I adore the unmistakable flavour of Eastern European writing – a kind of pure, hardcore plum brandy. Again, it’s the ‘cleanness’ of the language that I’m drawn to; nothing is extraneous.

  1. Why do you write?

To thrive.

  1. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I’d say forget about ‘becoming a writer’ and become a human being who writes and reads a lot. I’d say read books that make you come alive and write stuff for fun. I’d say play and allow yourself to say whatever you want, no holds barred.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m currently in the final editing phase of my second poetry collection, Horse-Man, which is coming out with Shearsman in September 2019.

I’m also punting my first, very short novel, Quinn, around various publishing houses.

I’m working on a new, long, narrative poem about identity, which I think has quite a lot to do with the Divine Mother.

I’ve a non-fiction book on the backburner, The Contemplative Mind: Poetry in the Making, as I don’t have time for it at the moment.

 

On Fiction Wombwell Interviews: Janet Dean Knight

On Fiction Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

peacemaker

Janet Dean Knight

Born and raised in a coalmining village, Janet draws on her experience and family history to tell compelling stories about the past that resonate with current issues, particularly in the lives of women and working class communities. Janet writes strong characters and engaging plots about the past which help her readers to think more deeply about what matters now. Her writing is challenging yet respectful, passionate and accessible.

Based in York, UK Janet is part of a vibrant literary network. She is a regular participant in the York Literature Festival and gives talks about her work to reading and writing groups.

You can find out more at www.jdeanknight.com and on The Peacemaker FB page  https://www.facebook.com/janetdeanknight/ Follow her on Twitter @jdeanknight and Instagram: jdeanknight

The Interview

  1. What inspired you to write fiction?

After a long time writing little else but poetry, I finally started writing fiction to capture the stories my mother told me about her family. This is what inspired me to start writing my first novel in my late 50s. I now write more prose – short stories and flash fiction – as well as plays, and I am inspired by whatever floats into my head, as well as a lot of current political issues.

  1. Who introduced you to fiction?

Where does fiction start? Prudence and Priscilla my first picture book about two cats who owned a hat shop, I guess my mother bought that. I liked books from a young age and was given abridged versions of classics and things like What Katy Did. But my Dad was a reader and when I went to secondary school he started passing on books to me. From about twelve I was finding things for myself.

  1. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older writers?

I never defined myself as a writer until I was myself ‘older’ and now the world seems full of younger writers. When I was young, all writers seemed over 40 at least, though I’m not sure if they were. I think one of the reasons we all loved Sylvia Plath was because she never got to grow old.

  1. What is your daily writing routine?

I’ve only just retired from working in the public sector to write full time, so I’ve never had a daily routine, I’ve written in the spaces – on trains, on holiday, early in the morning if I couldn’t get back to sleep because my head was full of ideas. February 2019 is the first month I have not had a diary full of appointments since I was last on maternity leave in 1994, so I’m learning about daily writing routines. At the moment, I write something every day, even if it’s only the answers to a questionnaire.

  1. What motivates you to write?

Deadlines work, so a publishing deadline was good. I like competitions and magazine deadlines because I think even if I don’t win or get published I will have written something new. I’m also motivated if I have a good idea or something becomes clear where I was stuck – but I have to get it down quickly or it might get pushed out by more mundane thoughts.

  1. What is your work ethic?

Do things that matter – it applies to everything.

  1. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I hear Robert Frost and Denise Levertov when I write poetry – two very different voices, and JD Salinger with a Yorkshire accent is what I’m aiming for in prose, but failing, I’m sure!

  1. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Margaret Atwood is a brilliant storyteller and poet and can write in all genres, and she is so generous with her advice and wisdom, she doesn’t hide away. Sarah Waters is the writer I would like to be, so a long way to go. I love her historical research, her subversion of plots, her evocation of place and her quirky characters.

  1. Why do you write?

I think for me writing is almost like spiritual practice, meditation. I feel better writing than not, it’s about my well being as much as anything, but also I like to communicate.

  1. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Write. Send out your work, take the rejection and send it again. Put it out there yourself. Network and share with other writers. Don’t expect everybody to love what you do. Read as much as you can and reflect on it.

  1. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

My debut novel The Peacemaker is published by Top Hat Books on 29th March 2019. I am launching it at York Literature Festival on 28th March at the Quaker Meeting House at 5.30pm. It’s a free event, with books on sale. The Peacemaker is a moving story of a young woman’s struggle to make peace with her father on the eve of the Second World War. It is set between a fictionalised Barnsley and Rosedale in the North York Moors. I hope to be promoting the book in Yorkshire and beyond all year.

Then, I’ve just started a sequel, provisionally called How Can I Dance? which is set in 1963 in a South Yorkshire pit village and it explores a woman who has a chance to recapture her youth as the world is changing around her.

I’m also preparing a short play for the next round of Script Factor in York on the 11th March. This is a showcase for five short plays on which the audience votes for their favourite. I entered for the first time last year and made it to the final, so now I’m hooked!

With Clara Challoner Walker I run writing courses called Awakening The Writer Within which are aimed at helping people who have an idea for some writing to get it down and make something of it. We have a spring retreat in France at the end of April, which is our seventh of this type, and three new half day workshops in the North York Moors in June, July and September.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Nadia de Vries

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Dark Hour

Nadia de Vries

is the author of Dark Hour (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018). She lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

www.nadiadevries.com

The Interview

  1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

I kept a poetry blog between the ages of 12 and 15. My interest exacerbated into a literary studies degree when I was 20, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

  1. Who introduced you to poetry?

Google, Alfred Tennyson, and Annie M.G. Schmidt.

  1. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

Not at all, I see young writers all around me.

  1. What is your daily writing routine?

“Daily” is not the right word but I like coffee, walking, and thinking (in that order) before I write.

  1. What motivates you to write?

Conversations with friends, reading work that excites me.

  1. What is your work ethic?

I don’t appraise myself/others based on labor or production more generally. I’m also hesitant to call my writing “work” because I feel that’d be a way of detaching myself from it, while I want to claim full responsibility.

  1. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I think I’m still young and also impressionable by nature, so I’m influenced by new stuff all the time.

  1. Who of today’s writers inspire you the most and why?

Recent books that I adore include: Who Is Mary Sue? by Sophie Collins, Fondue by A.K. Blakemore, A Handbook of Disappointed Fate by Anne Boyer, and Waitress in Fall by Kristín Ómarsdóttir (trans. Vala Thorodds), all published in 2018.

  1. Why do you write?

50% enthusiasm 50% masochism

  1. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Buy me a drink.

  1. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m currently finishing my first Dutch book (Kleinzeer) which will come out with Uitgeverij Pluim in the spring. I’m also working on two new poetry manuscripts and I’m due to finish my dissertation at the University of Amsterdam this coming year.