Thursday, 31 October 2013

Do Not Go Gentle excitement and teasers

So only one sleep to go until Do Not Go Gentle kicks off and I'm been gathering all my books together and getting excited about all the wonderful writers I'll be chatting to around and about (mostly in Dylan Thomas' old house in Uplands). I thought I could get you a little bit excited too... so here are some lines or paragraphs from their latest books and some links... book your tickets, see you there!


On Friday we'll be opening the festival with Dylan Thomas' granddaughter Hannah Ellis at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive at 5pm. At 6pm we'll be previewing Parthian's special 21st birthday anthology Rarebit, with 4 new talents from the 21 writers involved reading their stories. Here are the first couple of lines from each of these...

'Onwards' by Dan Tyte: 

You take a left at the bar nobody could ever remember the name of, the one where the waiting girl wore her hair up and her guard down, where the pool table sloped into the top right pocket and the sharks circled for fresh blood ‘til Vince called time every night by shutting the jukebox off, switching the lights on and insisting you got the hell out. 

'The Bereaved' by Georgia Carys Williams:

For a time, I resembled the coffee mug on 
the window-sill: mendable, but with 
cracks so sporadic, it was difficult to 
predict when I would next shatter.  

'Disneyland' by Richard Owain Roberts:

Happy new year, Robert.  We are very grateful for your hard work over the course of the last year, this effort did not go unnoticed.  We feel this great relationship can go on from strength to strength. 

'Soft but Definite' by Sarah Coles:

I know about grown-ups having secrets.  It’s something to do with the smell of them and their big fingers.  They give each other a look sometimes that they think we don’t notice, but we do, and we store those looks up and use them like an alphabet.  

Other contributors to Rarebit will also be at the festival over the weekend including Holly Müller (Uplands Market, Saturday 11.30am), Robert Lewis (Dylan Thomas House, 2pm), Tyler Keevil and Rachel Trezise (Dylan Thomas House, Sat 3.30pm). 

Here's the first lines of Holly Müller's story 'My Cousin's Gun':

Danny had always considered Ben his best cousin.  The rest of them were losers, or girls.  He thought everyone would understand that he wanted a keepsake to remember him by, so he phoned his sister and asked for the medal.

Then local spoken word night Howl will host a mini session of their finest performers followed by a short hop down the hill to Mozart's for performance poetry queens Mab Jones and Clare Ferguson Walker.


Howl will once again take to the spoken word stage, this time at Uplands Market from 10 -11am. After that I'll be hosting a session from 11.15 - 12.15 featuring poetry, fiction, Speakers Corner rants and occasional vocal riots from Howard Ingham (Writer in Residence, Swansea University, 2012), Natalie Holborow (2nd prize winner in this year's Terry Hetherington Award), Holly Müller (Rarebit contributor), Jeff Towns (The Dylan Thomas Man of Mobile Bookshop fame), Sarah Coles (Rarebit contributor and poet - see Here And The Water), and Martin Wilding (Ordinary Person at Ordinary People Governing Themselves).

Then I'm back in Dylan Thomas House from 2pm, talking to Welsh noir novelist turned non-fiction detective of conspiracies Robert Lewis. For his fiction writing Rob has been compared to Charles Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, and Samuel Beckett. Rob lived in Swansea once, for a couple of months, spending a lot of time in her pubs, all in the name of research. See his novel Swansea Terminal for evidence. We'll be chatting about that and his long, long, long investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly in research for his recent non-fiction title Dark Actors. 

Here's the first line:

One July afternoon in 2003, a scientist went out for a walk and never came back.

Then at 3.30pm I'll be chatting short stories, novels, plays, America and Canada with Tyler Keevil and Rachel Trezise. Rachel recently won herself a bunch of new fans for her brave debut play Tonypandemonium with National Theatre Wales. The inaugral winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006 for her debut collection of short stories Fresh Apples, her second grown-up collection of short stories Cosmic Latte has garnered rave reviews. I also hear that Rachel has recently finished her next novel, so plenty to chat about there.

Tyler Keevil was one of Parthian's original Bright Young Things (remember them?) and, like James Smythe, is putting me to shame with the release of not one but two books in 2013-2014. His latest novel The Drive launched a few months ago with Myriad Editions, and his splendid debut collection of short stories Burrard Inlet is out through Parthian in the spring. Tyler's short fiction has won several awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.  His first novel, Fireball, was longlisted for Wales Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize, and received the Media Wales People’s Prize 2011.  

Finally on Saturday I'll be chatting to the lyrical raconteur Niall Griffiths at 6.35pm in Mozart's. Niall Griffiths was born in Liverpool in 1966 and now lives in Wales. He has published seven excellent novels: Grits, Sheepshagger, Kelly + Victor, Stump, Wreckage, Runt, and A Great Big Shining Star. The film of Kelly + Victor was recently released across the UK. We'll be talking about his latest book, seeing his characters played out on the big screen, absurdity, the state of society and anything else Niall fancies probably. Come along and buy us both a drink.

Here's a few lines from his brilliant satire of fame and pornography A Great Big Shining Star:

    The weight of the dressing, as if there is another face on Grace's face. Or the swelling of her own, as if another face inside her face is ripping its way through to be seen, with talons, scalpel-talons.
    The car leaves the carriageway and moves down the slip road and through a village which suggests a world removed from that one in the mechanical thunder on the overpass above which keeps the beamed pub in almost perpetual shadow below. Here, red-brick cottages abut fields, all traffic is stilled, two hunched smokers huddle in the doorway of the Farmer's Arms and the branches of trees still bear traces of off-white snow like growth, like mould. They pass horses, Grace and her mother in the car, two big brown horses standing at a fence, their breath fogging their faces as if they burn inside. Grace takes them in at a glance. Says it again:
---It really hurts, Mum.

Then you'll all run over to The Chattery for the brilliant music and spoken word collaboration In Chapters run by Richard James and John Williams. Or watch Twin Town. Or something. and party late...


...So we'll start late on Sunday. Perhaps you'd like to play a game of Scrabble while you wake up or have a hair or two of the dog? Then head over to my last session of the festival, where I'll be cosied up in the lounge with two of my favourite people, debut novelists Katherine Stansfield and Francesca Rhydderch (3pm). A former long-serving editor of New Welsh Review, and also of Planet, Francesca launched her wonderful first novel The Rice Paper Diaries earlier in the year and inspired by the experiences of her great-aunt in wartime Hong Kong. It is beautifully written in precise, poetic prose and reveals her to have a keen eye in observing the subtleties of the human condition. Here's a brief extract:

Marge seems to gather ill feeling around her, like the flesh that bowls out around her hips. She has a way of staring at people and holding their gaze when they catch her eye by mistake. She is unnerving.
    She isn't much of a tea girl either. People who ask for milk get it slopped into their saucer as well as their cup. Mostly, though, they keep quiet as it is handed over. 'Thank you,' some of them say, in the same pleading tone of voice they use with the nurses. Marge takes no notice. She understand they don't mean it; what they mean is they'd like someone else to come pushing the tea trolley past their bed, someone who'll talk about the weather and call them 'dear'. Someone homely. Later they shuffle along the corridor in their dressing gowns to Elsa's side room for a chat.
   'That Marge,' they say. 'She doesn't know if she's coming or going.'
   But nor does Elsa, that's the problem. She's lost the shape of the day, so that beginnings are the end and then the beginning again.

Born in 1983, Katherine Stansfield shares Francesca's love of Daphne du Maurier and grew up on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. She moved to Wales in 2002 to study at Aberystwyth University where she now works as a lecturer in Creative Writing. Her poetry has appeared in Cheval, the anthology of commended entries to the Terry Hetherington award for Young Writers. Her first book of poems, Playing House, will be published by Seren in 2014. The Visitor is her fantastic first novel. Here's an mini extract:

'Keygrims,' Nicholas says, 'will call you by name. You'll be sleeping. This is how they will sound.' He scratches his knife across his plate. It's answered by a shriek of wind down the chimney. A cold gust blows round the room. She moves closer to his chair, hunching into the wood and biting her sleeve. 

Finally I'll be sitting back to watch the Dylan Thomas Prize short-listed writers read from their books. All under 30 and bright talents. Pleased as punch to have Parthian Books' Jemma L. King on the list, she'll be reading from her debut collection of poetry The Shape of a Forest which we launched in London in the summer. Here are the first couple of lines from one of my favourite of her poems 'Amelia Earhart': 

For someone so accustomed to speed,
silence and stillness was something.
It fell to a hum.
It widened.


Can't wait! See you there! There will be opportunities for you to ask the authors questions too, and buy books and get books and other things signed.

Susie x

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

On Not Going Gentle for National Poetry Day at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive– review

A pleasant nod from Natalie Holborow in her review blog of her National Poetry Day jaunt at Dylan Thomas' birthplace: ' Susie Wild followed with an impressive collection of poems and a glowing stage presence, speaking to the audience with an intimacy that brought the room closer together and maintaining the cosy atmosphere.'

Read the blog in full here:

Come join us for more intimate literary events at Do Not Go Gentle, 1-3 November.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Witch Doctors and Rarebits and Not Going Gentle.


It's been a while, hasn't it?

This is what happens when you get a proper job, see. So... I've been up to some things.

Things like editing beautiful books for Parthian Books.  Craig Hawes brilliant collection of short stories The Witch Doctor Of Umm Suqeim has been printed. I think I am beaming like a proud Mum out of shot. On general release from October 1st! We had a little launch party with family and friends at Monkey in Swansea on Sunday evening. Craig said some nice things, I blushed. His book is on general release from 1st October.

Craig and I were also joined by Sian Preece to talk about how to win short story competitions in our session at the Rhys Davies Short Story Conference the day before. There were lots of fab people on the bill including Will Self, Clare Keegan, Cynan Jones, Alex Clark and the brilliant Edna O'Brien -- If I am that awesome at 82 I'll be happy, and it is good to remember that if I my long life line tells the truth, I've still 50+ years of writing life left.

Moody morning

Team Parthian also managed to get away together after summer breaks to play killer pool (badly), watch Hungarian music, dance on new carpets and spot dolphins (Number spotted = 0, there are around 3 - 400 in the bay but they must have been sleeping or hiding. The next boat trip saw a few.) and porpoise who breached three times, then vanished (Number spotted: 3 - 10, depending on how observant we were / which side of the boat we sat on) off the coast of Cardigan. Here's a picture of Mwnt from the water.

Next up I'm looking forward to a bunch of events for Rarebit, the anthology of 20 illustrated short stories I've been collating and editing ready for launch / Parthian Xmas Party in Cardiff on National Short Story Day on the shortest day of the year December 21st (on general release from January 2014). We'll be doing preview events at Made in Roath Festival (Crwys Pub, 7pm, Thurs 24th October) and Do Not Go Gentle Festival (6pm, Fri 1st November, Swansea). 

I am also working on great 2014 titles by Dan Tyte, Michael Oliver-Semenov, Kit Habianic, Carly Holmes, Georgia Carys Williams, Susmita Bhattacharya and Tom Anderson.

I've a couple of gigs coming up myself too:

National Poetry Day at Dylan Thomas' Birthplace, Swansea, Thursday October 3rd, 7pm - I'll be reading poems along with Clare Ferguson Walker and Tony Webb. Music from Sarah Passmore and Rag Foundation.

Made in Roath Festival, Sat 19th October, 2pm at Wellfield Bookshop - I'll be reading from a new short story, or the novel, or both. Something you've not heard before, at any rate.

Various events at Do Not Go Gentle Festival (1-3 November, Swansea), where I'm literary programmer, including the Rarebit event already mentioned, and chats with Rachel Trezise, Tyler Keevil, Robert Lewis, Niall Griffiths (his film Kelly + Victor is out at cinemas today, we'll be talking about that and his new novel), Katherine Stansfield, Jemma L. King and Francesca Rhydderch.

Finally, I'll be talking about Jampot Smith by Jeremy Brooks and the Library of Wales Series at St Fagan's Book Group on Sat 23rd November (11am - 1pm)

More on the book group here:

Looking ahead to spring 2014, I'll be talking publishing and then later performing at Cardiff Met and co-organising the second outing of xx women's writing festival, back to Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff in March 2014 (Fri 7th & Sat 8th).

Oh, yeah, and the novel has been let out of the drawer. Don't say I didn't warn you. Expect periods of antisocial behaviour and a distracted appearance.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Diary of a Madman

Published Tuesday 28 May 2013 at 10:46 by Susie Wild

Based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, Robert Bowman’s one-man show charts the unravelling of 40-something civil servant Poprishchin in 1830s Russia. Sharpening pencils for His Excellency, he is schoolboy impish when describing the beautiful object of his affection: “Her dress was white like a swan, and when she looked at me it was like the sun shining - I swear it.”
Robert Bowman in Diary of a Madman
Robert Bowman in Diary of a MadmanPhoto: Katy Stephenson
First performed in Chapter in 2011 as a development piece funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Diary of a Madman was created using the Michael Chekhov Technique and sees Poprishchin move down a scale of emotions from naively quixotic through a spat of psychosis giggles - can dogs write? Could this handwriting be described as ‘doggy’? Could he be the next King of Spain? - to a dark and surreal place. Illness meant that Bowman was croaky and performing under par to start with. However, the audience warmed to his initially endearing character and laughs came fairly easily. Directed by Olivier Award nominee Sinead Rushe, Bowman utilises the imaginative, simple set (designed by Sarah Beaton) well, pulling up the planks of his palette stage to reveal paper sculptures and other ephemera to pin to his mobile chain of charms.
As Poprishchin tunnels further and further into his madness, scribbling and scrambling about for his own ‘crumbs of happiness’ the audience disengage, and the show begins to feel more like an acting exercise rather than a complete piece. Despite wonderful lighting (Katy Stephenson) and an eerie score (Roland Melia); this jumbled epistolary production doesn’t manage to find its way back.

Monday, 13 May 2013


'Boxes lined the lounge and the hall and built a cardboard city across the spare bed. It wasn’t as if she wanted them there, not really, but she didn’t know what else to do.' 

I've a brand new story, 'No Laughter After Midnight' in the new Lampeter Review:

Monday, 25 March 2013


Had a wonderful time at The Bloody Ballad in Newport on Saturday. You can read my review over on The Stage website, here's an extract:

The Bloody Ballad featuring Mary and the Missing Fingers

Published Monday 25 March 2013 at 10:57 by Susie Wild
The Bloody Ballad is a gloriously grotesque rockabilly riot of a night out based on Mary Maid of the Mill, an old Welsh Romany folk tale by Abram Wood about a girl who gets betrayed by her lover and then goes on a revenge killing spree. Using live music theatre, Gagglebabble (Lucy Rivers and Hannah McPake) have created a unique, playful, immersive work in which the wrong-side-of-the-tracks Mary - “a girl with a dark past who’s had one hell of a week” - shares her gory story through words and song and invites you to sing along. [...]

The show is touring until the end of August (Edinburgh stint) and Gagglebabble are back with a new show in the Autumn too. See the trailer and listen to the soundtrack to The Bloody Ballad over on their Facebook group.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Western Mail: Women writers head Welsh book lists for 2013

Abbie Wightwick, WalesOnline Mar 16 2013

What’s will we be reading this year? Abbie Wightwick asks industry insiders to look to the future and predict the trends for 2013

(With my Parthian hat on, I predict your reading in this feature as part of the Western Mail's Books Special)

Read more: Wales Online

Friday, 22 February 2013

Parthian Appoints Two New Editors: Susie Wild and Alan Kellermann

Two editors will be joining the Parthian editorial team in the new financial year. Editor and writer Susie Wild has extended her role to general editor with Parthian and is currently working on a list which includes sparkling new fiction debuts by Craig HawesDan Tyte and Carly Holmes. She is also the editor of an innovative range of memoirs which starts Dorothy Al Khafaji’s Between Two Rivers, an honest, funny and moving story of Baghdad life from the perspective of a young woman from England, transplanted into another culture by love and family, and then in 2014 by Michael Oliver’s innovative Sunbathing in Siberia: A Marriage of East and West in Post Soviet Russia

Read the article in full on the Parthian website.

Also see interview with me in The Bookseller on 8th March.

Friday, 15 February 2013

In with the new...

Hello Folks,

I know I've been a bit quiet on the blog front lately, that is because I've taken a bit of a break from performing to spend time on writing and various efforts in self improvement. So here is a quick update for you...

I got myself a new motto...

Other new things:

1. New hair. I got bangs. I like them.

2. New job. I've been appointed as Editor at Parthian Books. I am super pleased about this and looking forward to working with our authors on splendid lists in 2013 and 2014.

3. Mr Man got a lot of brownie points this week. Not only did he take me out for champagne on hearing that I got the job, he also sent me flowers. He's a keeper. Which is a good job because...

4. We've signed up for another year on our house.

5. In my bid to learn something new every month... I started yoga in January, and begin crochet next week. My plans to learn to bake have been delayed slightly, but I get to do my OMB class in March and have been making flat breads regularly in the meantime.

I have also been writing lots (ready to submit a bunch of new work left, right and centre) and working on another interesting project, to be announced later in the year.

You should be hearing from me a bit more now. Cardiff Literary Salon restarts next month at Sherman, and I will be running the literary programme of Do Not Go Gentle festival in Swansea in November. We've also been having some good funding chats about xx 2013, and are busy plotting this year's festival. I have a couple of gigs of my own on the way too, so shall pop the flyers up as and when they come in.

Hope you are having a good 2013.

Susie Q x

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Five things you have to try in Swansea's live music venues

I ♥ Swansea. You should too. I wrote a little Top 5 music venues snippet for @visitwales ...

"There’s stacks to see and do in Swansea. And it’s no surprise that lots of local people are busy writing stuff about them: places to eat and drink, spots for shopping, sights and sounds and more. So we put this page together to showcase the best. It’s a guide written by people who love where they live. We hope you find it as inspiring as we do…"