Autumn is here and the Literati are flocking back home to Cardiff to party. Guest blogger and Parthian Books' Bright Young ThingSusie Wild talks you through the best events of the new live literature season
Midsummer and poets and authors find themselves in wellies, stood damp and shivering on stages, in flapping tents competing with the main stage band – and the wind – to be heard as we perform to crowds, large and small, at festivals across the UK.
September comes and the festivals thin out, returning to the warmer realms of indoors, and we too flood back to the towns and cities. A little shell-shocked and still wearing wellies, for this is Wales. We dry out. We prepare for book launches and book tours. At least, that is how it has panned out for me. After a summer of performing poems and stories at the likes of Hay Festival, Hay Poetry Jamboree, Glastonbury, and Green Man I am back to Terra Firma and gearing up for the new season.
New on the lit scene - Bright young things
My debut collection of short stories The Art of Contraception launches tonight at 7pm at Waterstone's, The Hayes. I share the launch with the three other Bright Young Things – Tyler Keevil, J.P. Smythe and Wil Gritten – and their brilliant debut books. I've read them all this week, and I am totally gobsmacked by how great they are, and I'm really not just saying that. If Tyler's Holden Caulfield meets Stand By Me novel Fireball isn't made into a film, I might eat my hats. All of them. After Cardiff we then tour to Swansea, Bangor, Aberystwyth and London. Like a rock band without a tour bus. If you come along for the ride we'll even try and turn it up to 11. Fun times.
Cardiff literature events
Elsewhere the Cardiff literati are also waking up from summer slumber Regular literary events that have taken a summer sabbatical now yawn and stretch out their arms, beckoning us back into the fold, warming us up. Hello Seren's First Thursday. Waves. The Chapter Arts Centre-held First Thursday of the Month poetry readings are back. October features Carol Rumens and Anne-Marie Fyfe while November will see readings from John Haynes and Pascale Petit. The events start at 7pm, entry is a bargain £2 and new and established poets can read in the open mike second half. Also at Chapter, the brilliant Cardiff poet David E. Opravalaunches his latest poetry collection sole (Blackheath Books) on 30 September at 7.30pm. He's a great reader, do go see.
The ongoing Cardiff festival season
Festivals are not entirely banished this autumn either. I shall be performing alongside other willing and able poets including MAO Jones (brother of the infamous Mab) and Nick Fisk at the third outing of Fair Play Festival on Saturday 25 September (from 3pm). The three day arts festival will be bringing together a bonanza of the finest musicians, artists, traders, comedians, poets, families and party-goers alike. It runs from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September at The Boiler House and tactileBOSCH in Llandaff North and promises good times by the 10-pint-round full.
Roll on to October and the line-up for the Academi literature festivalBayLit: Shock of the New is looking pretty damn amazing, and not just because I'm on it, twice (October 13, October 30). The festival gathers together some of the best literary innovation around for, as Academi boss Peter Finch would say, the new is "still bloody shocking after all these years". I am really looking forward to seeing the innovative texting, performance, poetry and psych-pop event TXT2BayLit featuring a couple of my favourite performance poets Byron Vincent and 2009 John Tripp Award Audience Prize winner Liam Johnson. I'd also recommend the launch of the Seren series updating 'Mabinogion' stories by modern Welsh authors: Owen Sheers, Gwyneth Lewis, Niall Griffiths.
Elsewhere punk poet Attila the Stockbroker's 30th anniversary UK tourhits Cardiff Arts Institute on Mon 5 Oct and includes a poetry prize draw offering five lucky people to share some of the limelight. The Lyrical Design Slam on Sun 10 Oct at 10 Feet Tall also sounds interesting. Part of Cardiff Design Festival, it features design-themed poems in the first round and then anything goes in the final two rounds. Loving the poetry? There's more at the Made In Roath festival at The Gate on 15 October where Square presents J. Brookes, Mab Jones, Jack Pascoe, Gemma June Howell, Stuart Thomas and Aisling Tempany from 7.30pm.
Susie Wild is a writer, poet, journalist and editor. She also has a book out. To buy it and to find out more information about Parthian's Bright Young Things visit their website here.