Hashtag Nofilter

Finally… (And I say finally because we have been trying to finish some kick-off content since mid-August!)…working with creative partner in crime, copywriter and social entrepreneur, the mighty Justine Gaubert – it’s great to say – www.hastagnolfiter is now live. The project is a space for ideas, research, musings, interviews and anything else that might crop up, or take our interest, in the realm of neurodiversity – particularly relating to females and creativity. If any of that sounds of interest, please check it out. You can listen to our intro podcast at the bottom of this post.

I haven’t blogged in a while because autumn is always a super busy time for me. The Hive project has been refunded (yeh!) and there’s a lot to get off the ground there, and it’s the annual Youth Word Up project that I deliver for Off the Shelf Festival of Words – this year will be its 7th year, which I can’t believe!

With HashtagNofilter now up and running, it’s time to start thinking about my writing again which has taken a back seat for quite a while. I’ve got a poetry getaway planned for early November which I’m so glad I spent the time to sort before I got busy. I knew it would be much needed by then (I already feel it is now!) Other possible happenings in the pipeline, but for now, I hope you’re enjoying the autumn, or another season, depending on where you are in the world!

I’ll leave you with this stunning poem from a wonderful young poet, Warda Yassin, who I’ve been working with for 5 years now. Finally, her confidence has broken through to the other side, and her work is now being recognised (She won a Poetry Business New Poet’s Award 2018) Enjoy! (Click image).

Studio Faire Residency

I’m not long back from a creative residency at the wonderful Studio Faire in the South of France, working on a new project with fellow creative, Justine Gaubert – copywriter, social entrepreneur and good friend for some years. The time away was much needed and gave us the space and focus to get cracking on a new project we’re working on together looking at all things relating to neurodiversity and creativity.

There’ll hopefully be writings, musings, podcast discussions and interviews and we hope to create a space to explore ideas, strategies and research. Exciting stuff! More info coming soon. The rather amusing photo was taken by Colin Usher, co-founder/owner of Studio Faire, and no word of a lie, the dogs, Becca and Dougie, got so, shall we say, ‘excited’ (well Dougie anyway) with our laughing during the shoot, he let us all know. Classic!

I highly recommend Studio Faire to any writers, artists, musicians, any kind of creatives, as a place to find space to start a new project, work on an existing project, or just make space to start thinking about the next one and recharge your creative battery. It’s owned and run by the wonderful and relaxed Julia and Colin, both creatives themselves. www.studiofaire.co.uk

Drum roll…

So pleased to announce, I’ve been chosen by the legendary McDaddy of poetry, Ian McMillan, as his Laureate’s Choice Poet for Barnsley via the Hear My Voice Project.

This will see me running workshops, writing poems, and working with a young Barnsley Poet Laureate through into 2019. I’m so excited!! More details when I know 🙂

Listen to Ian on The Verb, celebrating the NHS at 70.

halfway smile is here :)

halfway smile is here and available to buy! I have so much enjoyed editing this wonderful collection of 73 pieces of poetry, short story and flash by emerging South Yorkshire young writers (14+). The range and quality is really up there and among them are Hive award winners Warda Yassin, Eloise Unerman and Georgie Woodhead, and the winners of our inaugural Hive Young Writers’ Competition, open to young writers from across the region. Do grab yourself a copy and support us (Hive) to continue supporting young writers.

More info here.

70 years of the NHS

A massive Happy Birthday to the NHS for being amazing full stop but also saving my life in 2015 and giving me superb treatment for breast cancer. 

My treatment was gruelling at times and lasted for a whole year, but I met so many incredible doctors, nurses and hospital staff, even down to cleaners. Sheffield’s Weston Park cancer hospital is amazing and the staff, many of whom have worked there for many, many years, are so dedicated and good-spirited despite the difficulty of working on the front line for cancer.

We are immensely lucky to have our health service and boy, when you really need it, then you know what appreciation for it is. All of us, if we ever get ill, especially with something like cancer, we want to know there is a multidisciplinary team made up of everyone from oncologists to radiologist to surgeons to research nurses meeting to discuss and make decisions on each patient individually. We really do have the very best care, as good as anything private.

It blows me away what the NHS did for me and I know if I get ill again in future, I’ll once again be lucky enough to be in their care. At least I hope! Happy 70th, here’s to another 70 and to keep going when I’m long gone!

Here’s Harry Leslie, Barnsley War veteran, remembering life and social health care (there wasn’t any) before the NHS. And the first days of the NHS.

Hello blog & June!

Hello blog! Long time no see! I say hello blog because I don’t think anyone is reading this 🙂 How time flies as always. It’s been one thing after another (as is the nature of life), but I just wanted to pause here a minute and say – I’m so pleased that the lovely young poet that is Warda Yassin, is a winner of the New Poets Prize 2018!

I’ve worked with Warda since late 2012. She is one of the sweetest, humblest, loveliest young souls I’ve had the privilege of working with, and it brings a tear to my eye to see how far she’s come and that her talent is being recognised. She so deserves this prize and her work in print (in 2019!) I really can’t wait! For more info click here.

I’m seeing so many of the young writers starting to take off through Hive and it’s just the best feeling ever. There is nothing that beats the feeling of helping someone realise they have wings. Eloise Unerman, is young poet in residence at the Ledbury Poetry Festival this year, and we have another young writer who’s been highly commended for a big award announced later this month. And there are too many others to mention who are slowly unfolding their feathers and looking up to the sky.

On the topic of writing, I’ve fired mine up again and have been getting some submissions out there (it’s been a while!) It’s never easy to juggle running a big project with your own writing and creativity. I’ve accepted it comes in waves. The important thing it to try and ride one when they come along.

Happy June to you all!

Photo: Me, Warda & Eloise at the wonderful Motley Muse at Huddersfield Uni recently.

 

Festival fever!

I’ve been busy as a bee buzzing around getting ready for the Hive festival! All details below! If you know any young writers in the north (14-25) who would love a day jam-packed with workshops, talks, performances, advice from writers, networking & creative buzz, put them onto this! 🙂

Lowkey

So proud of the Hive young writers who interviewed English-Iranian poet and rapper, Lowkey, at  Sheffield Hallam University on Tuesday. What a brilliant interview! Check it out here
Lowkey’s – Ahmed >

Apples & Snakes #100years podcast

I’m so chuffed to have been asked to pen a poem for this brilliant podcast series exploring women’s suffrage by the wonderful Verse Matters and Apples & Snakes producer Kirsten Luckins. I learned so much about the movement and how and why things have changed, and will hopefully continue to, for women.

First up is Rachel Bower with her 2 part poem about women’s football, then Sez Thomasin speaks as the defiant and resourceful Leed’s lass Leonora Cohen. I had wanted to do something about working class women specifically but got totally enthralled in Sheffield’s suffragette history. Now, walking around town in particular is a different experience for me!


Click above to listen of this link for all 3 in the series: applesandsnakes.org/listen

Votes for Women

Where does time go?! Haha, oh dear, I had planned to do an end of year/New Year post but it feels a little late for that now! Happy New Year to whoever might be reading anyway! I’ve started the year very busy but rested, which is lovely (although partly through a virus over Christmas).

I will write something more soon but just to say, I’m excited for a forthcoming poetry commission project I’ve been involved in. Myself, Rachel Bower and Sez Thomasin are representing Sheffield’s Verse Matters collective in a podcast series celebrating all things women’s empowerment and rights in line with 2018 being 100 years since women got the vote. (Or at least some women at that point!)

There are other groups of female poets involved via Apples & Snakes’ Kirsten Luckins who’s behind the project and wanted to link women’s poetry collectives together around the country. I think the series will air in February.

We’ve just recorded our poems and I have to say, I’ve really loved researching for it. Looking at women’s suffrage in Sheffield in particular took over when I started learning about all the happenings that went on in places I know well. Fascinating stuff! I’ll post the link here when the time comes.

And just to say, if you don’t know Verse Matters but you love warm, welcoming, creative nights out, and you live in or near Sheffield, give a VM event a go! The Facebook is here.

Stay warm, it’s just started snowing here! 🙂