Wednesday, 26 May 2010
- Mathew Andrews, University of East Anglia –novel Neurotica Spring 2011 (Iconau)
- Susie Wild, Swansea University – short stories The Art of Contraception Sept 2010 (Parthian)
- Niti Jain Trinity University College – anthology Shadow Plays May 2010 (Parthian)
Thursday, 20 May 2010
There’s a wasp in my bathroom. Outside the sound of competing radio shows, pipes clanging, the bang bang bang of workmen’s tools. This is how summers used to be. Waking up too hot, the duvet kicked off, the windows open. Heading to the beach to walk through ball games to sit and read a book surrounded by the smell of cooking flesh and coconut suntan lotion. Families race into the sea in a state of half dress, some even brave bikinis. Ice creams are dropped, shells collected. The Cork ferryhonks its horn three times and about turns, heads out with the tide beneath a moon out too early to steal the show, patiently awaiting her spotlight moment in profile against sky blue.
I apply more high factor lotion, finish off Graham Mort’s wonderful short story collection Touch, which I am reviewing for New Welsh Review. Head back home for homemade hummus and tabbouleh, down some lemonade. Appetite suitably sated, I paint my hair Mandarin bright as it is time for sunshine, and time for being a Bright Young Thing at Hay Festival and the Hay Poetry Jamboree. I will travel over on Friday, starry tent in hand. The start of the BYTs promotional tour – Yay! I am doing two events at the main festival, two of the boys (James and Tyler) will be at another, and I am also running a weird and wonderful poetry experiment as part of the Hay Poetry Jamboree (3/4/5 June).
Here are those dates for your diary:
1. Balloon at Hay: Culture Cymru, Hay Festival, Saturday 29 May, 2.30pm-3.15pm, FREE
Matthew Scott is a writer, Matthew Jarrett is a music buff. In collaboration they have been running Balloon events across south Wales since November 2009 - “nights of prose, poetry and people playing music.” The concept was inspired by Donald Barthelme’s famous short story entitled “Balloon”. Journalist Susie Wild finds out more from Matthew Scott.
Sponsored by Parthian Books
2. A rose in the side of two thorns: Culture Cymru, Hay Festival, Friday 4 June 12.00-12.45pm, FREE
Parthian editor Lucy Llewellyn is in the final stages of editing novels by two debut writers, Canadian Tyler Keevil and Welshman JP Smythe. At this event the two novelists get their day in court with their editor to discuss the relationship and the process.
The two authors will have their debut novels published in Sept 2010 as part of Parthian Books’ Bright Young Things series.
Sponsored by Parthian Books.
**Eek! The above session clashes with my poetry event at the Hay Poetry Jamboree, I’M GUTTED but it would be delightful if you attended either. I’m hoping to do lunch with my fellow BYTs after the shows. Here are the details:
3. Word Cloud hosted by Susie Wild: Salem Chapel, Hay-on-Wye, 11.00am -1.00pm, FREE
A collaborative avant-garde poetry event with live performances from up-and-coming young poets including Ivy Alvarez, Jack Pascoe and Mab Jones.
Part of the Hay Poetry Jamboree
4. Creative writing programmes and their bright young output: Culture Cymru, Hay Festival, Sunday 6 June, 1.00pm-2.00pm, FREE
Dr Paul Wright chairs a discussion panel of young writers, all successful graduates of creative writing programmes and having debut publications within the next year.
* Mathew Andrews, University of East Anglia –novel Neurotica Spring 2011 (Iconau)
* Susie Wild, Swansea University – short stories The Art of Contraception Sept 2010 (Parthian)
* Niti Jain Trinity University College – anthology Shadow Plays May 2010 (Parthian)
Sponsored by The Dragon Innovation Partnership
Come along and see us.
I am also competing in the Jam Bones Poetry Slam competition in Cardiff on Monday 31 May. I must practise poems. I must practise poems. The prize is to support punk poet Attila the Stockbroker on the Welsh leg of his tour. I’m looking forward to the night as Byron Vincent, a top performance poet from Bristol-way will also be doing a set and I haven’t seen him live for ages.
In other news:
- Academi Boss Peter Finch mentioned me AGAIN in his column. Excitement. At least I think he meant me. He spelt my name wrong by one letter. He said things like: “In a sense a lot of contemporary Welsh writing in English is following their [the Angry Young Men, the British Beat generation] path. Rachel Trezise’s award winning valley-set street level fiction may have different heroes, and ones who use drugs rather than beer, but the working-class dialogue-rich approach to story-telling is the same […] Similar territory is traversed in the work of John Williams, Sean Burke, Matthew David Scott, Suzie Wild, and Catrin Dafydd. […] Our new writers offer mirrors to the world they actually live in. This world, the Welsh world, the one turning through the streets of Cardiff and flowing over the mountains above Llanystumdwy. Understand that and you’ll know the universe. John Updike, Richard Ford and Don DeLilo have spent life-times creating a fiction that reflects the every-changing America into which they were born. For the twenty-first they need new faces.” Peter Finch, The Insider in The Western Mail
- Buy The Western Mail today and you can read my fabulous column in WM on ‘How to… do Hay Festival’. Useful
See some of you in the town of books, bring plenty of sunshine and sparkle
Saturday, 15 May 2010
First up, I am using mobbing in the British sense of the word.
Second, I always find it unusual to return to old work places or to pass houses that I used to reside in, the buildings seem to reach out and give me a little shake or a lightening bolt jolt of memory and emotion. One place this happens a little less is Waterstone’s on Oxford Street in Swansea. Mainly because it is full of books and I happen to love being surrounded by books. I used to work there, as a Grade 2 Bookseller, no less, with pink hair and responsibility for the Poetry section (result) and also all those GCSE revision booklets that make up Education (nightmare). Just call me Clementine (Eternal Sunshine). Actually, don’t. As jobs go I’ve had many worse, and several of the familiar faces remain, having now worked their way up the ranks. I usually have a natter with one or two of them after my usual browse of favourite sections, new fiction tables, the Fiction ‘W’ section, specifically the space between WILC and WILE for no reason at all, cough, blush, etc. … and the local interest section, to check they still stock Nu, and to see if there is anyone who has missed my radar for the Mslexia blog.
This week was a little different. On Mondays the library is shut. I hate this. Monday is THE day I want the library to be open. It is my writing day. I write on other days too, but Monday I allocate for creativity. If I want to check something or read a favourite poem I go to Waterstone’s. There is nowhere else that can provide for such needs in this pretty shitty city. So there I am browsing when Susan passes, smiles, and walks back to stand in front of me. ‘congratulations’ she says. I look bemused. ‘on your book’ she continues. ‘Thanks…?’ I say. I am still bemused. Susan, like all other staff from my time at Waterstone’s, knew I was writing, and had in fact completed a book. I told them this was what I was going to do at interview. I had told them that this was what was indeed happening at our occasional shelf-side chit-chats. She beams, excited as only book geeks (of which I admit to being, also) can: ‘You were in the Bookseller!’ A small crowd of former colleagues has gathered. They point, we all do a little geeky jig. ‘You were!’ They chant. ‘You were in the Bookseller. We saw you.’ I am a child at the best birthday party ever. ‘I know!’ I say. It is all I can do not to squeal.
I was, so were all the BYTs. LOOK!
In other news I’ve been blogging like a blogging thing on lots and lots of arty things for Buzz and I went to see La Roux for Artrocker. I am also getting so incredibly excited about Hay Festival and the Hay Poetry Jamboree. If schedules work out I shall be on stage for 3, THREE things and when the dates have been confirmed I shall tell you all about them. You can read my Hay preview in this month’s issue of Buzz Magazine. Also, ladies, look out for my How To… do Hay Festival column inThe Western Mail’s WM supplement on Tues 25th May.
Finally I’d recommend you go and see The Devil Inside Him at the New Theatre in Cardiff, the Natonal Theatre of Wales’ latest output. I went to the press night and afterparty last night for Mslexia, and it was gripping. Blog coming on that later this week.
Be good kids,
Susie Q x