Monday, 27 February 2012

I'm performing at The Absurd next month

    • Tuesday, March 27, 2012
    • 7:00pm until 10:00pm
  • Another amazing line-up. Another fantastic evening of the Absurd!

    One of the UK’s finest comic poets, Luke Wright, brings his own unique blend of satire, biting wit and original verse to our stage. His most recent show, Cynical Ballads, completed a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011.

    “The best young performance poet around.” The Observer
    “One of the funniest and most brilliant poets of his generation.” Johann Hari, The Independent

    Mslexia's 'Literary It Girl', writer, journalist, editor, poet and film-maker, Susie Wild is taking the Welsh literary world by storm. Amongst other things Susie hosts the Uplands and Cardiff Literary Salons, is Associate Editor of Parthian Books, and the author of The Art of Contraception: long-listed for Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2011.  

    Chester-based poet, musician and troubadour Chris Ingram has a wealth of poems whose performances are enriched by a love of crafting verse. Chris has a loyal following in his home country of Scotland having toured there extensively. He is currently performing music and poetry in hospitals across the UK with his ‘Music in Hospitals’ project.
    Clwyd Theatr Cymru
    Mold, Flintshire

    Open floor will run 7.30pm – 8pm. Doors open 7pm.

    Tickets £6/£5 concessions.

    This event is supported by Literature Wales. 

The short story gets big

IS 2012 THE year of the short story? It certainly looks that way; as winter turns to spring, story collections are blossoming all over the place.
One of the UK’s biggest publishing houses, Bloomsbury, is bringing out a book of short fiction every month from now until May; at the other end of the publishing scale, the tiny Irish publisher Arlen House has a whopping six collections in its spring pipeline.
Already you can find Éilis Ní Dhuibhne’s Shelter of Neighbours and Adrian Kenny’s Portobello Notebook in the shops. Kevin Barry’s new book of stories, Dark Lies the Island , is due in April, Joseph O’Connor has a new book of stories on the way and, to top it all, the Dublin City Libraries One City: One Book choice for this year is James Joyce’sDubliners .
So what’s the story? Is it all just a coincidence or is something new in the literary air?'
Read More:

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Performance Poetry and Spoken Word

I’m right on trend, me. The Guardian’s Book Blog has an open thread about Performance Poetry this week that has tips for websites, places to perform and people to look out for:
Who do you rate?

MSLEXIA BLOG 2 | Meetings, meetings

I find I have been having a one step forward two steps back kind of time since blog one. Usually when I have an idea to do something, relating to events, I just go ahead and do them and then realise that I could have got funding, or pay, of free beer, or some help with setting up the stage/ sound/ lights. Useful stuff like that.

Monday, 20 February 2012

THE STAGE REVIEW | WNO | Beatrice and Benedict

Beatrice and Benedict

Published Monday 20 February 2012 at 10:36 by Susie Wild
Berliotz’s last opera is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s playful comedy Much Ado About Nothing and, sung in English, is perhaps one of the more accessible starter operas around. The story focuses its attentions on the bickering lovers Beatrice and Benedict. In the introduction, it was explained that Robin Tritschler (Benedict) was recovering from a head cold. However, his ill-health did not adversely affect his vocal performance.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Radical alternatives to conventional publishing

A new breed of radical publisher has emerged in recent years, with writers responding very quickly to current events. Here, some of their authors explain what marks them out

The Rise of the New Reporter

Image of graphs and data graphics

'After the phone hacking scandal it might be a bit perverse to suggest 2012 will be a good year for journalism. But this prediction focuses on a new type of journalism that's defying the decline of the printed press: data journalism.

Like many innovations, the early adopters have been plugging away for some time - the Guardian newspaper's pioneering datablog is almost three years old. But as the first data journalism awards get underway, 2012 could mark its coming of age.'

Monday, 13 February 2012

THE STAGE REVIEW | La traviata | WNO

La traviata

Published Monday 13 February 2012 at 11:58 by Susie Wild
Originally to be called Amore e morte - Love and Death - La traviata (The Fallen Woman) was first performed at Teatro La Fenice, Venice, in 1853. Verdi’s ever-popular opera in three acts tells the story of hedonistic Parisian courtesan Violetta Valery as she falls first for the unobtainable Alfredo Germont, and then fatally ill with consumption. For 2012, Welsh National Opera has revived David McVivar’s careful, moving, traditional 2009 staging to take on tour.
There are a number of firsts for the company here. Conductor Julia Jones, who works more often in Europe, returns home to Wales to make her first, elegantly effective guest appearance with WNO. Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury makes a decent debut with the company as Violetta, and a last-minute cast change owing to the indisposition of Mexican tenor Carlos Osuna sees Italian-American tenor Leonardo Capalbo step into the role of Alfredo with admirable ease.
The elegantly simple scenery and opulent costumes are provided by Scottish Opera - the bustles of the jewel-coloured dresses indicating a slight modernising and updating to the tail end of the 19th century, a time of Tissot - while the stage, draped in swathes of black, belies a sense of foreboding, shrouding the cast as love and death play out. Capalbo proves himself capable, believable and emotive as the confused and jealous lover, if slightly clowning as a drunk. However, despite good tonality and movement, both leads lack dramatic oomph. Elsewhere, highlights are provided by the Act II gypsies and matadors ballet sequence, while Eddie Wade is strong as Baron Douphol.

Production information

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, February 11, 18, 29, March 2, then touring until April 20
Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave
David McVicar
Welsh National Opera
Cast includes:
Joyce El-Khoury, Leonardo Capalbo, Jason Howard, Eddie Wade, Amanda Baldwin, Philip Lloyd-Evans
Running time:
2hrs 55mins

Judith Mackrell on star-rating reviews Who do I write for: dancers or audiences?

'A disturbing but fascinating precedent was set last June, when the New York magazine Village Voice "let go" of its distinguished critic Deborah Jowitt, apparently on the grounds that she didn't write enough bad reviews. For four decades, Jowitt's coverage of the New York dance scene had been almost unequalled in its breadth and detail, yet the Voice decided her descriptive, essentially non-judgmental style was no longer suited to the times; most readers now want and expect star-rated verdicts on every show.'

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Adam Mars-Jones: 'The only bad review is one whose writing is soggy'

Adam Mars-Jones, winner of the first Hatchet Job award for a book review in the Observer, reflects on his craft

'A book review is a conversation that excludes the author of the book. It addresses the potential reader. A reviewer isn't paid to be right, just to make a case for or against, and to give pleasure either way.'

'It always seems a good idea to quote freely from a book, to back up points with solid evidence. The only "bad" review in my book is one whose writing is soggy, its formulas of praise or blame off the same stale shelf. A reviewer and a critic play different roles, though the same person can take them on at different times. A critic has some sort of authority, a claim to long experience or deep immersion, a marination in a certain class of literary product. A reviewer has no necessary knowledge, even of other books by the same author – there's no shame in flying blind. If a book isn't rewarding to read in isolation, then there's no point in invoking any larger perspective. Forget the hinterland! It's a mistake to imply that readers are being inducted into a mystery. They're being guided to pleasure or warned against disappointment.'

Monday, 6 February 2012

Monday: Literary Links Round Up

Bookish bits and bobs and other odds and sods I have read today, some are from the tail end of last week as I was playing in London town in So ho ho and the Groucho rather than at my desk.


Jonathan Franzen: Screen idol
Novelist Jonathan Franzen, in conversation at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, explains his problem with e-books and reveals that he is writing a TV adaptation of his acclaimed work 'The Corrections’: 'Books are a bad business model.'

Publishers face secrecy over sales and an absence of industry-wide data to help them plot strategy

A non-profit body representing the interests of self-published authors will launch this spring.
Author and former literary agent Orna Ross is readying the The Alliance of Independent Authors for launch internationally, with its website set to go live within weeks. She said: "We will be speaking up on behalf of independent authors, and making links with booksellers, wholesalers, agents and legacy publishers, so people have an idea of what our creative needs are. It requires a change of attitude both in writers and in other players. In the past, the author was a resource to be mined, but indie authorship is about meeting the publisher as a partner."

Kate Mosse,  Hari Kunzru and the Guardian’s literary editor Claire Armitstead are to take part in a conference programme billing itself as the first UK digital conference aimed directly at writers.

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer John Matteson on memorable portraits of Katharine Hepburn, Emily Brontë, newspaper publisher Katharine Graham, photographer Dorothea Lange and the Federalist-era women's rights advocate Judith Sargent Murray.

Comic book ban highlights Vietnam's censorship struggle; youth find ways to circumvent control 

THE other day, while I was rummaging through a stack of oldish articles on the future of the Internet, an obscure little essay from 1998 — published, of all places, on a Web site called Ceramics Today — caught my eye. Celebrating the rise of the “cyberflâneur,” it painted a bright digital future, brimming with playfulness, intrigue and serendipity, that awaited this mysterious online type. This vision of tomorrow seemed all but inevitable at a time when “what the city and the street were to the Flâneur, the Internet and the Superhighway have become to the Cyberflâneur.”

Barnes & Noble‘s dramatic statement on Tuesday that, no matter what, it wouldn’t, under any circumstances, including beards, sell books published by Amazon, ever, come hell or high water — eh, except for, well, ebooks on its website — has certainly been the talk of the industry the last few days, and continues to draw interesting observations …

'A blog post about Ripping Yarns bookshop, an antiquarian bookshop in North London. I've worked here for two and a half years, and it's where I started writing 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' properly.'

Books added to the list to read:

The Library Book - Alan Bennett
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell

Thursday, 2 February 2012

I am blogging for Mslexia again. Here is Post Number One.


Greetings Readers. I have returned to the friendly familiar fold of the Mslexia blog for three months only.
Roll up.
Roll up.
Read all about it.
Some of you may remember me from a year of blogging as Mslexia‘s Literary It Girl (2010-2011). This time, instead of blogging about launches and literati parties, I shall be blogging about penning my first very own One Woman Show to take on the road, and hopefully to Edinburgh Festival.
I went to Edinburgh Festival for the first time this year where I performed a few poems at a friend’s fringe gig and crammed in seeing as many shows as I possibly could. I loved it. I want to go back. Living in Cardiff, although there is a thriving literary scene, there has been a lack of spoken word solo shows and of big names including a stop in Wales on their UK tours.
Lately, though, this has been shifting, with people like Luke Wright and John Osborne being booked for Wales Millennium Centre, and Laura DockrillByron Vincent and Hannah Silva crossing the border. The rise of the spoken word show is also influencing an increasingly eclectic range of events in the capital.
Old regulars include Seren’s monthly First Thursday poetry event which includes performances, readings and an open mic and the Dylan Thomas Centre’s Poets in the Bookshop on the last Thursday of the month in Swansea which has a similar format. The charming music and word collaboration In Chapters sees writers and musicians write new material on a theme and has been graced by authors Rachel Trezise, Catrin Dafydd, Dan Rhodes, Niall Griffiths, Rob Lewis and myself  whilst the ever-popular late night The Crunch continues to be held at Mozart’s in Swansea. Newer editions include National Theatre Wales’ Word4Word and The Unemployed Daytime Disco in Cardiff and the Folk Collective in Newport. I also host two literary salons – Uplands Literary Salon at Noah’s Yard in Swansea and Cardiff Literary Salon at Cardiff Arts Institute which offer performances, readings and good literary conversation.
More recently the range of performers competing in the last John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry raised the game with two women taking the top prizes – my awesome mate Rhian Edwards won both the Final and the Audience Award whilst newcomer Naomi Alderson took second prize. Rhian Edward’s much-hyped first collection Clueless Dogs will be launched in May 2012. Alderson was also one of the performers at another excellent recent night – Literary Pecha Kucha, the poet Mab Jones’ regular event run in association with Literature Wales. During the event each speaker talks about 20 slides for 20 seconds a piece. Alderson joined T S Eliot prize winner Philip Gross and Saturday Live’s Susan Richardson for the event. You can see the videos on Literature Wales’ YouTube Channel.
As part of my research for putting together this one woman show I plan to travel about to see shows and gauge audiences across the country. I have been impressed by Sophie McKeand’s experimental spoken word event The Absurd in Mold, and also hope to get up to Manchester and Liverpool as well as West Wales, Bristol and Bath. Improved last train times have meant I’ve been able to enjoy events at Bristol’s Old Vic including the excellent recent festival Ferment that nurtures new shows and new talent. I particularly enjoyed a double bill of spoken word works-in-progress – there was comedy and singing and insightful musings on mental health from rising star Jack Dean (‘Rain’) and then a layered and haunting triptych of sound pieces that make up ‘Prosthetics’ by the vocally inventive Hannah Silva; who proved comedy is not essential to hold an audience’s attention.
I also plan to grab top tips from industry experts on voice, learning lines, booking venues, nerves, costumes, props, sets and all manner of other things that come up along the way. Later this month I shall be attending the Edinburgh Fringe Roadshow in London to see what advice they have for me. I am supporting Luke Wright at the aforementioned The Absurd in Mold on 27 March where I shall be showcasing some of the new material, and following that I will be putting together a show reel film and a promo website to send off to festivals and venues to try and get some gigs. I’ll be blogging about the highs and lows and the top tips I find here.
So, erm… Wish me luck!

What does the TripAdvisor furore teach us about critics?

People reviewing on TripAdvisor are incredibly petty, although mostly truthful. But is this what we want from all criticism?