John Davies (poetry), Derek Allen (prose) and Sally Festing & Peter Wallis (poetry) – Thursday 25th November 2021

Our next event on Thursday 25th November when we will be welcoming readers John Davies (poetry), Derek Allen (prose) and Sally Festing & Peter Wallis (poetry).

This will be a LIVE event at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes (upstairs room): please note the start time of 6.30pm


John Davies

John’s published work includes two pamphlets, The Nutter in the Shrubbery and Glove Poems and the full collection Shedman, as well as Our Storeys, a book about art and poetry in healthcare written with artist Sue Ridge. He was the first non-Irish editor of The Stony Thursday Book, an annual anthology published in Ireland. In 2018, Jizz, New and Selected Poems was published in the UK by Kingston University Press and as Nest in the USA by Red Hen Press. He won third prize in this year’s Wales Poetry Award. His commissioned work includes poems engraved into the windows of a learning centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, to major hospital projects and a poem for the High Weald AONB.

John has perhaps been best known as his literary funster alter ego, Shedman, the original itinerant poet in a shed who has appeared at numerous festivals and events. His website is johndavies.net.


Derek Allen

For many years, Derek Allen has been a frequent visitor to Denmark. He became fascinated by the stories he heard about the remarkable escape of most of Denmark’s Jews from the Nazis in World War 2. They also received assistance, often at considerable risk, from their fellow Danes who decided to help them flee the Germans. In his book, The Crossing, a young Jewish woman, Anna, her son and parents, have their lives brought to a halt as they become refugees in their own country and they are forced to leave their home and possessions, to avoid being captured. On their journey out of Denmark, they are never certain that the decisions they are forced to make will lead them to safety. The Crossing is Derek’s first book and is being readied for submission. He lives in Lewes and works in healthcare as a chiropractor.


Sally Festing & Peter Wallis

These two prize-winning poets present poems about the head, both in its physical and mental aspects. Peter has just returned from a Hawthornden Fellowship in a Scottish castle, and Sally’s sixth book of poetry is White Queen’s Last Stand, out this year with KFS. They will read, however, largely from earlier work.

How does repeated brain surgery impact on families? What if the patient has an identical twin? The answers come, in Andrew McMillan’s words, in poems that see “life as something tentative as well as tender”. Similarly, how can the effects of something like schizophrenia, bear on future generations? Family history and a cache of intimate letters suggested Sally’s answers.

Alice Owens, Jeremy Page, Anna Hayward – Thursday 14th October 2021

Our next event on Thursday 14th October will be in-person! We welcome readers Alice Owens (prose), Jeremy Page (poetry) and Anna Hayward (prose).

This will be a LIVE event at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes (upstairs room): please note the start time of 6.30pm

Doors open 6pm, readings start 6.30pm

Tickets £5 (£3 students, and the unwaged and claiming benefit) at the door on the night.

Alice Owens

Alice Owens has completed a first novel, Latent Grace, set in her native American South about a WWII German POW camp in a small Alabama town. It is currently with a potential agent.  She is also working on a second novel, a prequel to Latent Grace in which a young university student from the rural South finds himself thrust into the maelstrom of World War II as an intelligence officer and codebreaker.  Both works probe the impact of global events on isolated communities and the burdens of regional identity.  Alice taught creative writing for the University of Sussex.  She was founder and editor of the newsletter, Malawi Update, and co-editor of Human Rights and the Making of Constitutions:  Malawi, Kenya, Uganda.  Formerly, she was a civil rights lawyer in Washington D.C. and a Malawi human rights advocate with NGOs and the United Nations.  Most recently, she has led woodland writing workshops for young people from underserved urban communities.


Jeremy Page has published several collections of poems, among them Secret Dormitories (1993), The Alternative Version (2001), In and Out of the Dark Wood (2010) and Closing Time (2014). His most recent collection, The Naming, appeared in September. He has translated poetry by Giacomo Leopardi, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine and Boris Vian, and his versions of the Lesbia poems of Catullus were published by Ashley Press in 2011 as The Cost of All Desire. His plays, Loving Psyche and Verrall of the White Hart, were performed in Bremen (2010) and Lewes (2014) respectively, and his novella, London Calling, was published by Cultured Llama in 2018. He is the founding editor of The Frogmore Papers, now in their 39th year, and lives in Lewes.


Growing up, Anna Hayward spent long, hot summers in the Apennine Mountains of Central Italy with her relations and was always fascinated by stories of her family’s past – hardship, war, and the spectre of Mussolini, intertwined with friendship, secrets and an expectation of how women should behave. Anna wrote for many years – holiday brochures, adverts, strategic reports, business plans until the Italian voices of her past could wait no longer. As a novelist, Anna has been supported by New Writing South as part of their NWS10 scheme for emerging writers and received Arts Council funding for research in Italy and mentoring. She is in the final throes of her novel, Broken Madonna. Think St. Bernadette of Lourdes meets Elena Ferrante.


Amanthi Harris, Charlotte Gann, Caraline Brown, Abegail Morley – Thursday 17th June 2021 (online)

4-readers-2

Our next event is via Zoom on Thursday 17th June and we’re delighted to be welcoming Amanthi Harris (prose), Charlotte Gann (poetry), Caraline Brown (prose) and Abegail Morley (poetry).

Doors open at 6.20pm and readings begin at 6.30pm.

The event is free to attend but please do book in advance. If you feel able, we would be very grateful for any help you can offer us by way of a donation and you will have that option when you register.

Please register here on the Eventbrite page.


Amanthi Harris was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in London. She studied Fine Art at Central St Martins and has degrees in Law and Chemistry from Bristol University. Her novel Beautiful Place is published by Salt Publishing in the UK and Pan Macmillan India in South Asia. Lantern Evening, a novella, won the Gatehouse Press New Fictions Prize 2016 and was published by Gatehouse Press. Her short stories have been published by Serpent’s Tail and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her most recent short story, In The Mountains was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and is published in Best British Short Stories 2020. Website: amanthiharris.com

Charlotte Gann is a freelance editor from Lewes. From summer 2018 until Covid struck, she was Editor of Viva Lewes. Her two poetry collections Noir (2016) and The Girl Who Cried (2020) are both published by HappenStance. Her pamphlet The Long Woman (Pighog) was shortlisted for the 2012 Michael Marks Award. She’s also Co-Editor of the poetry pamphlets review site sphinxreview.co.uk, run by HappenStance.  At the moment, Charlotte’s developing an idea called The Understory Conversation – for like-minded poets who’d like the support of a small group while they delve into their own reading and writing practice. Find out more at charlottegann.wordpress.com.

Caraline Brown has always earned her crust from writing. Until recently, it was mainly commercial work, winning a few awards along the way. She has featured in many business titles and was named by PR Week as one of the most influential people in PR. She recently sold her PR business to focus on her creative writing. The Candlelit Menagerie is her first novel, published in the US by Skyhorse Publishing and distributed in the UK by Simon & Schuster. She has been signed by DHH Literary Agency and her second novel is almost ready.

Abegail Morley was Highly Commended in this year’s Forward Prize. Her debut collection, How to Pour Madness into a Teacup, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection. Her latest collection, The Unmapped Woman (Nine Arches Press) explores the altitudes of loss and trauma, mapping the stark new territory that loss leaves behind. Nine Arches previously published The Skin Diary where new skins and old disguises are stitched together. Snow Child and an ekphrastic collection based on the work of the German satirical painter, George Grosz, Eva and George: Sketches in Pen and Brush are published by Pindrop Press. She collaborated with artist Karen Dennison on a pamphlet, The Memory of Water based on a residency at Scotney Castle. Abegail is one of the co-editors of Against the Grain Press. Website: The Poetry Shed.

Karen Smith, Julia Webb, Jackie Wills and Emily Bell – Thursday 15th April 2021

Needlewriters is going to be online now until the autumn, when we’re hoping to be back at the John Harvey Tavern… but of course, that’s to be confirmed.

Meanwhile our next event is on Thursday 15th April and we’re delighted to be welcoming Karen Smith (poetry), Julia Webb (poetry), Jackie Wills (prose and/or poetry) and Emily Bell (prose).

Doors open at 6.20pm and readings begin at 6.30pm.

The event is free to attend but please do book in advance. If you feel able, we would be very grateful for any help you can offer us by way of a donation and you will have that option when you register.

Please register here on the Eventbrite page.

We look forward to seeing you!


Karen Smith is a wild swimming addict, librarian and poet from Uckfield, East Sussex. Since 2018, she’s been collaborating with Kin’d & Kin’d, an Ecopoetry collective of writers and artists. Her pamphlet Schistwas published in 2019 as part of the Laureate’s Choice Series and she is currently working on a hybrid text about water.


Julia Webb is a writer, teacher and artist living in Norwich. She is a poetry editor for Lighthouse. In 2011 she won the Poetry Society’s Stanza competition and in 2018 she won the Battered Moon poetry competition. She has two poetry collections with Nine Arches Press: Bird Sisters (2016) and Threat (2019). She is currently working towards her third collection.


Jackie Wills has been a journalist, editor and writing tutor but none exclusively. She’s written six collections, short stories and a handbook on running workshops. She’s run several reading groups, including for the Child and Adolescent Mental Heath Service on behalf of the Royal Literary Fund. Her most recent collection is A Friable Earth (Arc Publications 2019). Jackie has had an allotment for more than 20 years and has worked with the Surrey Hills AONB, Gatton House, the Garden Museum and RHS at Wisley. She’s written about her reading and writing life for Smith Doorstop – On Poetry –  will be published next year.


Emily Bell is a writer of prose and poetry and a research student at the University of Brighton. She is currently working on her PhD, a ficto-critical thesis exploring creative processes in literature and visual art, centred on the works of Emily Brontë.

Latest update January 2021

Although we have readings scheduled for 2021 (starting in April) it’s impossible to predict right now if they will happen or not. We held a successful reading on 14th January via Zoom, featuring poems and poets from the Poetry South East Anthology (Frogmore Press) and  we may do something similar if face to face meetings aren’t allowed this year.

We’ll confirm this nearer the time, and keep you updated by email. Please join our emailing list (if you’re not already on it) to hear from us.


 

Online event: Poetry from the South East

Our in-person events are currently suspended until restrictions are lifted. However we are holding an online event on January 14th  2021 from 6 – 7pm, via Zoom:

Poetry from the South East, a joint event with The Frogmore Press, will feature short readings by Charlotte Gann, Robin Houghton, Jeremy Page, Rachel Playforth, Catherine Smith, Peter Stewart, Janet Sutherland and Kay Syrad.

To request a joining link, please email frogmorepress@gmail.com and we will send you the link the day before. We hope to see you there!

Covid-19 update

We’ve taken the decision to cancel our October meeting, because of the continued uncertainty surrounding indoor gatherings.

However, we are currently rescheduling the readers we’ve had to cancel this year and we hope to be back in 2021 for our scheduled event on Thursday 14th January.

We’ll confirm this nearer the time, and keep you updated by email. Please join our emailing list (if you’re not already on it) to hear from us.


 

Peter Wallis, Sally Festing & Emily Jane Bell – April 2nd

PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED – we hope to reschedule it for a later date, to be confirmed

Our next event is on Thursday 2nd April 2020, upstairs at the John Harvey Tavern, Bear Yard, Cliffe High St, Lewes BN7 2AN.

Doors open 7pm, readings start 7.45pm.

Tickets £5 (£3 students, and the unwaged and claiming benefit) at the door on the night.

Readers: Peter Wallis & Sally Festing (poetry) and Emily Jane Bell (prose).


Sally Festing‘s five poetry collections have followed journalism, radio plays, academic studies, biographies of Barbara Hepworth & Gertrude Jekyll, and other non-fiction. She’s been published in masses of magazines & her collection My Darling Derry (Fair Acre Press) is on sale with proceeds to the Mental Health Foundation.
sallyfesting.info


Peter Wallis won publication of a pamphlet, Articles of Twinship, in the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Collection Competition. His poems tell of what it means to grow up as an identical twin, and go on to explore the process, and consequences, of becoming unidentical as a result of his brother’s ill health. Peter is Submissions Editor for the U.K. charity ‘Poems in the Waiting Room’.
peterwallis.co.uk 


Emily Jane Bell is a writer of prose and poetry and a research student at the University of Brighton. She is currently working on her PhD, a ficto-critical thesis exploring creative processes in literature and visual art, centred on the works of Emily Brontë.


 

Emily Elgar, Ian McEwen & Umi Sinha – January 16th 2020

Our next event is on Thursday 16th January 2020, upstairs at the John Harvey Tavern, Bear Yard, Cliffe High St, Lewes BN7 2AN.

Doors open 7pm, readings start 7.45pm.

Tickets £5 (£3 students, and the unwaged and claiming benefit) at the door on the night.

Readers: Emily Elgar (prose), Ian McEwen (poetry) and Umi Sinha (prose).


Emily ElgarEmily Elgar is the author of psychological suspense international bestseller If You Knew Her published by Little, Brown in 2016 and in nine other countries. Her second novel Grace is Gone will be published in early 2020; she’s currently working on her third novel. She lives in Lewes with her husband and young son where she can usually be found pacing the Downs for inspiration.


Ian McEwenIan McEwen’s poems have appeared widely in magazines including Long Poem Magazine, Shearsman, Poetry Wales and Poetry Review. His pamphlet of landscape format poems, The Stammering Man, was a winner in the Templar competition 2010. He has published a collection (Intermittent beings, Cinnamon 2013) and two further pamphlets (The Sideways for it, Flipped Eye, 2017 and White Goods, Flarestack, 2018). Ian is a board member of the National Association of Writers in Education and tries to encourage an active poetry scene in Bedford, where he lives.


Umi Sinha

Umi Sinha taught at Sussex and Brighton Universities, and now teaches on the Creative Writing Programme at New Writing South. She runs Writing Clinic, a mentoring service for writers, and an oral storytelling club. Her first novel, Belonging (Myriad Editions, 2015) was published in Poland, Portugal and India, and shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the Waverton Good Read Award 2017. She is working on a second novel. Website: umisinha.com

 


 

Robert Hamberger, Martin Nathan, Anna Reckin & Clare Best – October 10th

Our next event is on Thursday 10th October 2019, upstairs at the John Harvey Tavern, Bear Yard, Cliffe High St, Lewes BN7 2AN.

Doors open 7pm, readings start 7.45pm.

Tickets £5 (£3 students, and the unwaged and claiming benefit) at the door on the night.

Readers: Robert Hamberger (poetry), Martin Nathan (prose), Anna Reckin (poetry) & Clare Best (poetry).


Robert HambergerRobert Hamberger has been shortlisted for a Forward prize and awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship. His poetry has been featured on the Guardian Poem of the Week website and in various British, American and Japanese anthologies. He has published six poetry pamphlets and three full-length collections. His fourth collection Blue Wallpaper is forthcoming from Waterloo Press. His prose memoir with poems A Length of Road will be published by John Murray in 2020.  


martin nathanMartin Nathan has worked as a labourer, showman, pancake chef, fire technician, and a railway engineer. His short fiction has been published by Tangent Press, HCE and Grist. His novel A Place of Safety is published by Salt Publishing, his poetry by Finished Creatures.  He contributed a monologue to Young Vic’s ‘My England’ project.  Website: Martinnathan.co.uk


anna reckinAnna Reckin is a poet and writer based in Norwich. Her second collection, Line to Curve, appeared from Shearsman in 2018, and she has had poems, essays and reviews published in Poetry Wales, Jacket2, Long Poem Magazine, and a selection in the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets. She was longlisted for the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize in 2018.
Website: annareckin.com Photo credit: Nick Taylor


clare bestClare Best’s first poetry collection, Excisions, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, 2012. Other publications include Treasure Ground, Breastless, CELLand Springlines. Clare’s prose memoir The Missing List (Linen Press) was published last year. Tonight she will read from her new poetry collection Each Other (Waterloo Press 2019) – ‘closely observed, exquisitely wrought poems about love and its endurance’ (Mara Bergman). Clare lived in Lewes for twenty years and co-founded Needlewriters – she now lives near the Suffolk coast. Website: clarebest.co.uk