Friday, 29 May 2009

Elaine Feinstein

For the next couple of weeks I will be delving deep into the immense Elaine Feinstein archive at the John Rylands Library. Much of this has not been explored as yet, and my job during my internship at the library is to describe the contents of some a portion of it for the library's records. I will also be writing something based on my work with the archive. I've had a small glimpse at the archive and the few letters that I saw were tantalising in the extreme.

I want to recommend the John Rylands 'Course for the Public' that is looking at the Elaine Feinstein archive, specifically its Ted Hughes based content. The course is on Thurs 25th June and I can promise it will be amazing.

Obviously, much of the archive contains things relating to real, living people. As such, it is protected and I can't discuss what I see with anybody. However, I will be writing about the parts that I am permitted to reveal on my other blog, which I just today found out that Elaine Feinstein herself reads. Catch up with my archival adventures there.


Back when Bewilderbliss was being launched, there was an announcement that another magazine, called Unsung , was also being launched the week after. Well, Bewilderbliss issue #2 is still about a month away, but those speedy Unsung folk have got the launch of their second issue this Sunday.

Unsung is free and it has some great ideals - it 'promotes all the unsung, underrated, underground, unheard voices of Manchester.'

Head along to the Thirsty Scholar on Oxford Road this Sunday (31st) at 8.30pm for readings, including an open-mic slot. Entry's £2 and there will be issues of the magazine distributed on the night.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Cutting Room Experiment

Everyone's blogging about the Cutting Room Experiment, and though I got the press release from the Cutting Room people about it, I didn't think it was particularly relevant to this blog.

I'm blogging about it now because I got another e-mail today from their PR person Carolyn, who writes the amazing blog Manchester Is Ace. She says that the Cutting Room Experiment needs more literature ideas, which is where we come in.

The literature stream has seven ideas at the moment, the top ones so far being 'pride and prejudice zombies' and 'book of a thousand authors'. Each of these have 8 votes, only the top 12 events get put on, and so far the top events have around 40 votes. Anyone who wants to have a literature-event on as part of the experiment should get their votes in or suggest their own ideas. Deadline for idea submission is 29th May 2009.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Desert Island Poetry

I was lucky enough to go to the first Desert Island Poetry night at the Greenroom a few weeks ago. It was a huge success - lots of people had brought along poems to read aloud that inspired or moved them, usually preceded by a story of what the poem meant to the reader. There were also several anthologies on the tables for people to find their favourite poems in as well.

There was a really lovely atmosphere, with people chatting across tables and promoting other reading nights they were going to or hosting. There was a bar downstairs and once the readings were over lots of people got drinks and stayed around to talk and meet each other.

Well, I'm very happy to announce that the night was so popular that it's being repeated - Wednesday 27th of May at 8pm is that next one. Bring along a favourite poem, or just come along to hear people reading something that's special to them.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Rainy City Workshops

Very exciting news:

Rainy City (the zine not this lovely drizzly place) has got together with Commonword to offer some writing workshops.

The theme is 'Writing about place', naturally, and the workshops are being led by Suzanne Batty. Best of all though, the workshops are 100% free.

There are four sessions with just 12 places per session so sign up quickly or miss out.

The M'cr Literature Festival Blog has helpfully supplied me with all the where and when details:

Stockport Art Gallery Saturday June 13, 2-4 pm
To book a place, please ring 0161 474 4453

Bury Fusiliers’ Museum Wednesday June 24, 7-9 pm
To book a place, please ring 01706 823264

Hyde Library, Tameside Thursday June 25, 1-3 pm
To book a place, please ring 0161 342 4450

Standish Library, Wigan Saturday June 27, 10am-12pm
To book a place, please ring 01257 400496

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Interview with Jenn Ashworth

Jenn Ashworth, author of A Kind of Intimacy, has done an interview for Bewilderbliss. She did the MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Uni recently and is very supportive of new writers. She's given lots of good advice and information about her writing and the publishing process. She's also given details of her work with the Preston Writing Network, which includes the creative writing classes she teaches and the live lit night Word Soup.

Yes, indeed, it does seem that Jenn Ashworth does it all, she even has a job and a kid. She puts everyone else to shame, but she does it so politely that you can't hold it against her. She'll even sign her book with scented ink for you.

If you want to know more about Jenn Ashworth then check out her blog, which is always interesting, and nicely stationary-obsessed. She also has a website that features 'deleted scenes' from her novel, and details about how its beautiful cover got made.

Over at Bewilderbliss we've also updated the video reading page. We're currently featuring Anthony Richardson, writer and Microsoft Paint obsessive.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Succour Fantasies

The always interesting and beautiful Succour has a new issue out. The theme of it is Fantasies and it's having a launch here in Manchester. The launch is on the 31st of July at The Briton's Protection on Great Bridgewater St. They've not released details yet, but they'll be here when I have them, or check out their facebook page.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Dave Hartley

Dave Hartley is a Preston writer - he's part of the Preston Writing Network. As he mentioned in a comment somewhere down this page he's writing a story a week for a year. His blog is almost always apologising for the stories being slightly late, but he does get them done, so far he's posted 34 of the things. All of the stories are very different, Dave's not limiting himself to any particular genre. I'm always interested in people who are telling stories in new or unusual ways and Dave has really taken advantage of the web medium by telling one of his stories through scans of letters stored on photobucket.
This site is definitely worth checking out.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Manchester Fiction Prize

MMU is launching a new short story prize, with a prize of £10,000 up for grabs as well as a bursary for study at MMU. I'm not normally organized enough to think about competitions, and I find it dissatisfying to have a story stuck out there in the ether for the long long time it takes for them to judge. However, I'm getting excited by this one because it's nice and local and it's purely short stories. It gives me a warm glow inside to have MMU putting so much faith in the short story when so much these days is focused on the novel form.
Thanks to the LitList for alerting me to this. More details on the competition are to be found here.

Elaine Feinstein

I've just received details of a really exciting course from the UoM Courses for the Public. It's based around the Elaine Feinstein archive, specifically the part relating to Ted Hughes. I've actually been lucky enough to have a little preview of part of the archive, and been guided through it by Stella Halkyard, who is a tutor for the day course on 25th June. Stella is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, her excitement is truly infectious. This archive is a treasure trove of tantalising letters to other great authors, it is something absolutely not to be missed.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Word Soup

The beautiful and brilliant Jenn Ashworth has informed me of a new venture she's part of - the Preston Writing Network. It's a project from They Eat Culture and it makes me think that Preston might just be the place to be.

Preston Writng Network is here to promote and develop emerging and established writing talent in Preston and the wider NW. We blog and twitter to keep you up to date with what's going on, and we hold classes, workshops, events and meet-ups to help you move in the direction you want to go.

The website has lots of details of workshops and writing opportunities, below are details of a couple of particularly exciting up and coming things:

Taster sessions, workshops and seminars with Jenn Ashworth herself. There are so many, and such a variety that you're bound to find something that interests you. They're at The Continental in Preston and the present programme runs from May through to October.

Word Soup - also at The Continental. It's a monthly live literature night, the next one, on the theme of SKIN, is May 19th from 8pm.
There’s a fantastic line-up of readers including EmmaLannie, a writer, performer, blogger and organiser of Derby’s Live LitNight Hello Hubmarine, Annie Clarkson, author of collection ofmicro-fiction Winter Hands and contributor to Flax Books latest digitalanthology Unsaid Undone, and Andrew Michael Hurley, the author of twoshort story collections, Cages and The Unusual Death of Julie Christie,and a regular performer at Lancaster's Spotlight Club.
As if all that weren’t enough, Word Soup 2 also features readings fromDavid Hartley, who is writing a short story a week for a year on hisblog, Richard Hirst, a graduate of the Manchester's MA in CreativeWriting and writer of top Preston blog I Thought I Told You to Wait inthe Car (not to mention a regular contributor to the Preston WritingNetwork blog), and Tim Woodhall of Manchester’s much-lauded Live LitNight and blog, There’s No Point in Not Being Friends, and contributorto Dogmatika, which you can sample here. Add some live music and a short film to the mix and you have all theingredients for a literary night to remember. See you there! Entry to the event is £3 on the door.