Monday, 26 July 2010

BYT: Dates and Types...

…etting. Yes folks. I have just seen The Art of Contraception in all its typeset loveliness. It looks LIKE A BOOK. Who’d've thunk it? I’m well chuffed. Which must mean it is nearly ready to get printed and actually be a book. Out there. In the big bad world. Where you lucky people can read it, or use it to fix that wobbly table. Or look at it on your iPad. Posh.
I have more news. We are having several Bright Young Things book launches. In Wales and in London town. I don’t have the dates for all of them, but here are two dates for your diary:
17th September SWANSEA. This is a three-pronged event of wonder that will begin with a book signing in a place I used to work, the beautiful Waterstone’s on Oxford Street, continue to another place I used to have an office, The Dylan Thomas Centre for the actual launch proper and finish off in an after party of some boisterous kind.
24th September BANGOR.  That is all I know. We are having a book launch somewhere in Bangor. It will be in the evening. James and Tyler will be there. I’ve never been to Bangor before, I like the name though, so yes, that WILL be exciting.
I shall also be appearing at Fair Play Festival in Cardiff that weekend, performing some poems.
Other launches in Aberystwyth, Cardiff and London TBA.
Yay yay hurray! Right, I’m off to see ace poet Joe Dunthorne read from his Faber collection tonight then I’m going to be the biggest kid of them all at Camp Bestival. Fun times.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

BUZZ: ART REVIEW: SEAN TAYLOR



Ceri Richards Gallery, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea
23 July – 21 August
★★★☆☆
Taliesin clearly like Sean Taylor. ‘Where the Sky meets the Sea’ is the contemporary marine painter’s second exhibition at the gallery. Inspired by St Ives, Cornwall, the 42 summer bright coastal scenes explore the vibrancy of seaside living using a bold colour palette.
The landscape becomes a Hansel and Gretel fantasia; a patchwork of deck chair striped fields and rounded polka dot trees. To me, the works bring to mind waxy Batiks. A strong compositional style and clashing lollipop hues depict sea gulls and cats perching upon roof tops, boats bobbing in harbours, fisherman’s cottages, Mr Punch at the beach, mermaids taking a starlit dip.

BUZZ: ART NEWS: TWO NEW SWANSEA GALLERIES OPEN



A new gallery/shop going by the name of The Shed has transformed the former Blockbusters in Uplands Swansea. Launch night, a little behind schedule, was on Friday and, saw many of the art scene movers and shakers sipping the sangria, devouring the tasty cakes and perusing the art and crafts on sale. Some people bought work, others spilled out onto the sunny pavement area outside and nattered. All had a good time.
Artists, creatives and makers can hire out a display cabinet or bit of wall space to show for cheap and sell their work. If you’d like your work to appear in The Shed contact them with your proposals here: the_shed_gallery@yahoo.co.uk. For opening week they were offering half price rental rates to students. With the upstairs Noah’s Yard gallery also about to open across the road (it’s lovely, I’ve had a sneak peak) the Uplands is upping their cultural stakes and about time too.
The Shed will be open daily, with the cafe serving ice creams, cakes and soft drinks from Tuesday. They also provide free Wi-Fi so feel free to bring your laptops and chill! They plan to be selling CDs, vinyl’s, t-shirts & tickets soon too. Noah’s Yard expands into their upstairs gallery this week. They’ll also be serving proper meals in a couple of weeks. For now, you can enjoy coffee and cakes there. The all-new upstairs gallery space also provides more seating and a great meeting space for comic artists, Stitch & Bitch knitters and spoken word events. Happiness.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

BYT: T-R-A-P-E-Z-E

Bright Young Things Logo

JULY 2010
T-R-A-P-E-Z-E

Wow! I had a trapeze lesson with the amazing NoFit State Circus. Read all about how I got on in next month’s Buzz Magazine. Until then, why don’t you… come to Milgi’s, Cardiff for the Oxfam Readathon from 6pm tomorrow. See you there :)

Friday, 23 July 2010

MS: The Long and Short of it

The Mslexia Blog


Caroline Bird
Happy Friday Ladies. In need of a new reading list? You can’t go far wrong with the third longlist for the now annual University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize; announced earlier this week. Rachel Trezise and Nam Le have taken the gong previously. Standards are high.
This year the seven-strong panel of judges chaired by Hay Literature Festival founder Peter Florence has selected 16 literary works, which includes poetry, novels and a play. The £30,000 prize is open to any published writer in the English language under the age of 30 and the 2010 longlisted writers span four continents with five hailing from the UK.
I’m over the moon for English poet Caroline Bird, now aged 23, who was shortlisted for the 2008 University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize, is once again in contention for the award with her third collection of poems, Watering Can (Carcanet). She has to be one of my favourite poets of the day — witty, acerbic and inventive. Multi-award winning New Zealander Eleanor Catton (The Rehearsal, Granta) and Desmond Elliott Prize winner Ali Shaw (The Girl With The Glass FeetAtlantic Books) are also in the running.
The shortlist will be announced in September.
Forward? Me?
Another good week for Cinnamon PressHow to Pour Madness into a Teacup by Abegail Morley has been short listed for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. The title has been a winner from the outset – first winning the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award. The collection is described as ‘a compelling first collection from a poet whose exploration of mental illness is acutely observed, wry, poignant, dark and humane.’

Monday, 19 July 2010

MS: In Prizes, In Yurts, In Chapters.

The Mslexia Blog

Tyler Keevil
Tyler Keevil
Terry Hetherington Awards
I returned to Swansea from my travels around the South West just in time to attend the third memorial evening for the late Neath writer Terry Hetherington on Wednesday 7 July. The evening, hosted by the Dylan Thomas Centre, saw readings and tributes from his friends, and doubled as the award night for the second Terry Hetherington Bursary to a promising young writer from Wales.
I went along to support my fellow Bright Young Thing Tyler Keevil (mid-Wales) who was granted Joint Second Place for his short story alongside the poetry of Anna Lewis (Cardiff). Team Parthian Books were all absent on their summer holidays, so it seemed only fair. Plus I really enjoy Tyler’s readings and it was a shame to have to wrap up the night early, all winners at the mercy of train timetables.
The judges, led by Terry’s long-time partner Aida Birch, were impressed by the quantity and quality of the entries. Jonathan Edwards of Newport took the First Prize of £1,000 for his quirky poems, while Ben James of Llanelli was Highly Commended. All winners performed their work in the second half, and were joined by last year’s winner, Rose Widlake, who spoke of how the bursary had helped her both with her confidence as a writer and with furthering her studies at university, and in funding a publishing course she planned to take after completing her degree.
The evening also saw the launch of the accompanying publication Cheval 3 featuring the bursary winners and other selected writing by and about Terry.
Oxfam Cymru Readathon 2010
One week later it was my turn to take to the stage. I had been asked to perform at the Oxfam Cymru Readathon in Milgi Lounge, Cardiff and I was happy to support their cause. This happiness gave way to intimidation and nerves when I saw the running order. It went like this:
6.30pm Philip Gross AKA this year’s winner of both the TS Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year
6.45pm Susie Wild
7.00pm Peter Finch, Head of Academi
The amazing line-up continued until 11pm without any breaks. It was immense. After seeing the line-up I opted to read prose instead of poetry. Philip gave a great performance reading from a selection of his work, including the two winning titles. He donated a pamphlet, a first edition of his first printed poems, and was every bit as down-to-earth as before his accolades. One of his students from Glamorgan University confided ‘he’s exactly the same performing as he is in class, he’s completely himself.’ It calmed my nerves unlike the bank of cameras and journalists lined up in front of the microphone. My turn. I read a couple of extracts of stories from The Art of Contraception as well as a piece of microfiction I’d written for the current issue of Buzz Magazine (page 50) based on Couvade Syndrome. It seemed to go down well. Peter Finch later commented on my FaceBook: ‘Susie Wild sounded like she knew what she was doing to me. An excellent performance.’ Thanking you.
The stellar cast of the evening also name-checked these wonders: Jo Verity, Patrick Jones, Alexandra Claire, David E. Oprava, Jon Gower, Deborah Kay Davies, Rhys Thomas, Matthew Scott, John Williams, Sule Rimi, and Rachel Trezise. After our performances we were all led up the garden shed, one-by-one to sit in the dark and be interviewed for Radio Cardiff, helping to illuminate the journalist’s questions by pressing the button on her mobile intermittently to make the light shine. See, such glamorous lives we lead.
Highlights of the night for me including performances by and chats with up-and-coming talent Alexandra Claire and my favourite woman writer in Wales, the ever stylish Deborah Kay Davies. A former contemporary dancer and choreographer, Alexandra began writing about five years ago and Parthian published her first, and then only, story. She discussed the difficulties of finding writing time as a working parent, as well as her first publishing accolades: ‘I’ve now had four short stories for adults published. I received an Academi New Writer’s Bursary award in 2007 and am now trying to get the urban science fiction novel I’ve written published – Random Walk.’ If the reading she gave from it is any indication, it shouldn’t be long before the novel is snapped up. Deborah Kay Davies immediately began a bubbly chat with me before realising she was soon due to take her turn, ushered into the Yurt by the Oxfam Bookfest crew. I followed, excited to hear the first extract from her new Canongate novel,True Things About Me. It was wonderful and I can’t wait for my copy of the book to arrive, Deborah assures me I won’t be waiting long. All-in-all a delightful evening.
In Chapters: Beaches
The next evening it was my turn to relax and enjoy other people’s performances at the fourth instalment of In Chapters, the music and spoken word collaborative evening hosted at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff by the writer John Williams and musician Richard James. Joined by my lovely creative writer tutor friend Briony, we were lucky enough to get seats, unlike the standing many, and be entertained by top Welsh talent, with all creative work thematically linked to the seaside.
As with all previous instalments, the standard of performance was high, but the number of women artists was low. A point of contention amidst the later bar chatters of many of the women writers in attendance in the audience. Still writer and folk musician Charlotte Greig performed a song, and Lindsey Leven also offered us some psychedelic pop in which she played seashells and was accompanied by a very beardy Guto Pryce (Super Furry Animals).
The rest of the evening was dominated by the male. Top Welsh-noir writer Rob Lewis reading from his second novel Swansea Terminal (on the eve of publication of his third and final in the crime trilogy, The Bank of the Black Sheep). Surfer Tom Anderson read about his experiences of waves at Cape Cod as documented in his bookChasing Dean, and John Williams read his own surf-themed extract featuring Porthcawl from his novel Cardiff Dead.
Others were more imaginative, writing new work fitting the theme specifically for the event, well done to the crazy dreams of Des Barry and the fantastic poetry and music collaborative performance between Richard James and ace Cardiff poet David E. Oprava.
Other than niggles about gender balance In Chapters utterly charmed Briony and I once again. More please.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

BYT: Once Upon A Time

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JULY 2010
Once Upon A Time…

Hey BYT followers, how goes it?
I am in sunny Cornwall visiting relatives, reading, writing, and indulging in some beach time post-Glastonbury. Much needed R&R and work backlog catch up. My nan is trying to triple my size with huge meals and clotted cream, but I’m yet to have a PROPER Cornish pasty, so shall have to venture into the village soon to remedy this. Yum.
Glastonbury was a fantastic way to celebrate my birthday, not least because the sun shone for all 10 days that I was there and Stevie Wonder sang Happy Birthday just to me, honestly, he did… well me and the rest of the HUGE crowd! (Amazing, nonetheless). But also because I got to see some brilliant shows. Florence and the Machine was THE highlight for me, amazing outfit, heartfelt performance, much dancing and jumping up and down. Followed by her duet with Dizzie R. on the Pyramid Stage.
I watched Steve Harley just for the Smile song, and he delivered which made me smile too. As a HUGE Kinks fan I also loved watching Ray Davies (again), he seemed really happy, unlike when I saw him in Laugharne, and my top mate Ele provided us with chilled champagne which made it a really special afternoon. The Gorillaz bored me, but it was good to see Lou Reed join them on stage… and I’m still glad I ran off by myself to watch the end of The Flaming Lips, who were completely out of this world, I can’t wait to see their full set at Green Man. Other top acts included Peggy Sue (charming as ever), Tunng (a favourite act of mine), Tune-Yards (one crazy talented woman), The Dead Weather (Gothic wonder), Paloma Faith (I spotted her at 18), Toots and the Maytals (Hello Summer), Gomez (Student nostalgia), Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip (poetic brilliance).
Work AKA my storytelling sessions went well despite there being many young children about, thanks to their liberal parents (!) and even though I was present at a fair few of the circus workshops taking place in the same field as my tall tales, I still can’t juggle, sorry Fire Man Dave. Even better, I found 10 pretty pairs of size 7 shoes during the clear up. Just call me Shoezie; my friends have been.
Want to read some things I’ve written lately? You can. First up, my latest Mslexia blog. Second? I’ve written a piece of flash fiction for the July issue of Buzz Magazine. You can pick one up from the usual outlets in South Wales, or read it online [Page 50].
Miss me? Then come and see me in the flesh. I will be speaking some fictional words at the Readathon in Milgi, Cardiff on July 14th from 6pm as part of the Oxfam Bookfest.

Monday, 5 July 2010

MS: Storytelling Summer

The Mslexia Blog
Hello Summer! After storytelling my way through a heat wave of a Glastonbury Festival  I’m now spending some time by the sea in Cornwall reading, writing and celebrating relative’s birthdays — we are a family of many cancerians — from my own, to my Film-Star-Glamourous Nan’s 80th. Wales must be missing me, but fear not readers, I am still in the loop of literary happenings there. Let me fill you in on the news…
And the winner is…
Philip Gross won Wales Book of the Year 2010 for I Spy Pinhole Eye(Cinnamon Press), a collaborative work between poet (Gross) and photographer (Simon Denison)! Certainly a good year for the man on the prizes front. The poet was presented with the £10,000 prize by Minister for Heritage Alun Ffred Jones at a glitzy ceremony at the St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 30 June. The runners up on the English-language Short List were Terri Wiltshire for her novel Carry Me Home (Macmillan) and Nikolai Tolstoy’s The Compilation of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (The Edwin Mellen Press), each taking cheques for £1000 home with them.
The Media Wales People’s Choice Prize, which was voted for by the public via an online poll, was awarded to another poet! Richard Marggraf Turley took the prize for his collection Wan Hu’s Flying Chair (Salt). The Welsh Language Reader’s Prize went to Manon Steffan Ros for her novel Fel Aderyn (Y Lolfa).
Still talking prizes, Carys Davies has won the Olive Cook Short Story Award for her story ‘The Quiet’. Carys was announced as the £1000 winner at the Society of Authors’ 2010 Awards in London on Tuesday 15 June 2010. Carys’s first collection Some New Ambush (Salt, 2007) was on the 2008 Wales Book of the Year Long List, nominated for the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize, was a Finalist for the 2008 Calvino Prize and was shortlisted for the 2009 Roland Mathias Prize. Just a bit good then?
Writers’ Day at the Dylan Thomas Centre
The auditorium was packed for the free writer’s conference in Swansea on 17 June 2010. Organised in partnership between the Dragon Initative and the creative writing programmes at Swansea University and Trinity College, Carmarthen the day offered  insight into the publishing industry. Sessions geave advice on many aspects of getting your book published from the relationship between writer and editor (Fflur Dafydd and Gwen Davies of Alcemi), the role of the small publisher (Dominic Williams, Parthian Books), the life of a poet (Paul Henry, Seren) and how to become or get a literary agent (Euan Thorneycroft , A M Heath) as well as plenty of time for questions both during the sessions, and, more informally over lunch. Well done to a very pregnant Fflur Dafydd for curating the event, it was a wonderful success.
Ledbury Poetry Festival
‘A rare genuine joining of place, poetry and people’ — Carol Ann Duffy
Philip Gross, winner of Wales Book of the Year 2010 and the TS Elliot Prize will be headlining this year’s Ledbury poetry extravaganza. They say:
“We present a huge range of events from readings, to talks, walks, open mics and performances combining poetry with music, dance and good food. There will be many opportunities for discussion, laughter, creativity, as well as revelry and dancing!”
The Guardian wrote, “This celebration of verse is the largest of its kind in the UK and also the most energised, giving a real sense of poetry as an important living, contemporary literary form.” I’d second that. Pack a bag and go and wax lyrical.
Visit the festival website for more information.
Beyond The Borders
The international storytelling festival returns to the fairytale coastal setting of St Donats this weekend. Three packed days of tales from the best traditional storytellers from around the world.
This year’s themes include 1001 Nights, African Scatterlings and Tales to Sustain. A  wide range of authors, storytellers and musicians will be taking part include Chirine El Ansary, Jan Blake, Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara, Sianed Davies, Xanthe Gresham, Ben Haggarty, Michael Harvey, Robert Irwin, Armenia’s Kotchnak Ensemble, Hugh Lupton, Daniel Morden, Georgia’s Mteibi Choir, and Chris Wood. The festival also hosts market stalls, international cuisine and morning story walks.
For more information, including how to book tickets, visit the festival website or call St Donats Arts Centre Box Office: 01446 799100
A Kind of Loving
To celebrate 50 years since the publication of Stan Barstow’s cult classic A Kind of Loving Parthian Books are bringing out a new edition of the novel. The lad-lit forefather is a book about love, lust and loneliness has been adapted for the screen, stage and radio. A new adaptation by Diana Griffiths will be broadcast on Woman’s Hourin 15-minute episodes. Episodes 1-5 will be broadcast from 12-16 July at 10.45am. Episodes 6-10 will be broadcast from 19-23 July at the same time.
My holiday reading list:
  • Salt Blue – Gillian Morgan (Honno)
  • Paper Spurs – Olga Merino (Parthian)
  • The Deer Wedding – Penny Simpson (Alcemi)
***Bumper review blog coming soon!***
Right enough typing, time for a stroll along a three-mile beach me thinks.
Happy summer all,
Susie Q x