#RLF2016: Written Worlds, Inspiring Places

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For some strange reason 5 years ago, I decided to start a literature festival. Possibly I had too much time on my hands (I didn’t) possibly I just felt we were lacking a festival in Medway dedicated to writing, and somebody had to do it. I must’ve been mad, and I’m also stubborn, so here we are: the fourth Rochester Literature Festival 2016 kicks off this weekend.

Amidst the usual creative writing workshops, Cafe Crawl and author talks this year, the RLF has a wonderful day of craft activities planned for all ages.

The Turtle Moves, inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, sees a Juvenile Crafters’ Guild appear, as if by magic, in Rochester’s Community Hub, where you can design your own Luggage or bring to life a Golem, among other activities. Out and about in the high street you’ll bump into numerous characters – and even see a re-enactment of the Battle of Koom Valley! And shhhhh – it’s rumoured that the Librarian will be appearing in L-Space (Baggins!)

RLF Patron Lisa Cutts is appearing at Strood Library on Oct 4, alongside fellow crime author Simon Booker, while author of The Outlaw Chronicles, Angus Donald, is at Rochester Library on Oct 6. There is also a Local Author Day at Rochester Library between 10am-2pm on Oct 1.

The popular Cafe Crawl takes place on Sunday, Oct 2 and features the Canterbury Yarners, Fiona Sinclair, Nancy Charley, Johanna Coulson and Maggie Butt alternating at Bruno’s Bakes, The Quills and Cafe @172 between 12-3pm.

The festival opens with three creative writing workshops on Saturday, Oct 1: An Introduction to Screenwriting, A Guide to Self Publishing, and Building Your Make Believe World. It ends with a Writers’ Retreat on Sunday, Oct 9.

All the events apart from the workshops are free, and more detail and tickets for the workshops can be booked here.

If you pop down, be sure to say ‘hi’ 🙂

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My Mind is Free

My Mind is Free play

I remove the scrunched up hair band from its hiding place. In all this time they’d never found it and it is now my only link back to my family.

I’d been taken, ripped away from Shona as I was plaiting her hair. My six year old sister’s screams keep me awake at night but her hairband keeps me grounded. Reminds me who I am and that Shona is waiting for me.

I decide that this is the day I begin my journey home. They will come soon but just one will be left. I’d loosened a bar in the bedstead and the lengths of rags I’ve been saving are tied together. I know their pattern. They will wait out back, dragging on those repulsive cigarettes. But the passage will be empty.

I slip the band around my wrist.

The lock clicks.

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Game of Thrones readers feeling a tad smug

Because we know what’s coming. And it ain’t just Winter.

Having voraciously read my way through the five books – and then started on the books about the books – over the past few months, I accept that I’ll probably be buying the DVD box set before the last two books are actually published. (I haven’t succumbed to the Sky monster).

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Sunday Slackers

The internet of fascinating things to while away your Sunday …

Beginning with Sassy Women Alert, as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler do a Ricky Gervais on an unsuspecting Hollywood (and it’s fab to see George has a sense of humour. No wonder we love him so.)

 

Literature/Film: With the hype surrounding a certain film due out next month, it seemed a good time to share one of the funniest and wittiest Twitter feeds around – Fifty Sheds of Grey.

Space: The cultural significance of space exploration

Tech?: 21 times people used the internet before it was invented.

Animals: Cats and Dogs trying to decide who’s boss.

Freelancing: Dispelling a few myths about self employed people (such as writers!)

Photography: The simple beauty of children and animals

Music: John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ made into a comic strip

Miscellaneous: Mr Men’s and Little Misses for modern day Britain

Music 2: 7 Elvis tunes borrowed from classical music

For writers: Honesty in Writing and a toolbox of practicality

Fun: 7 people who totally nailed it!

Thoughts for the week – The Final Frontier!

Rochester Literature Festival 2014: Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

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We’re delighted to be opening this year with an hilarious and heart-warming one woman show with actress Sunny Ormonde – the outrageous Lilian Bellamy from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers, the world’s longest running soap.

Over the course of the next ten days, we’ll be joined by as-seen-on-tv-off-his-trolley comic genius Phil Kay, master of freeform performance and storytelling, and notorious Australian, Trenton Oldfield – who served six months at her Majesty’s Pleasure for disrupting the 2012 Boat Race in a protest against elitism.

We will be hosting two wonderful authors who’ll fascinate you with insights and anecdotes from their latest books: Angela Buckley introduces us to The Real Sherlock Holmes – Detective Jerome Caminada, whose methodologies mimicked Conan Doyle’s genius, and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, who will discuss the impact of reality on fiction. While No One Was Watching is set against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination and the abduction of a young girl from the grassy knoll on that fateful day.

Sadly, we have to announce the postponement of one of our family events,Assassin, due to technical issues. Featuring the fantastic Joe Craig reading extracts from his Jimmy Coates series – part boy, part weapon, totally deadly – and music from Jacob Bride, Graham Sykes and Jamie Godfrey, this will hopefully take place early in the new year. However, we do still have the awesome Keeper of the Realms author, Marcus Alexander, who is Charlie’s Keeper, who will entertain and inspire you with his delightfully wicked fantasy adventure series – get your read on! Waterstones in Chatham have kindly agreed to sell books in the venue on the day, if you need to complete your collection.

Our interactive story game this year is Murder in the Crypt, in which you’ll be invited to solve mysteries and puzzles with Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes and Auguste Dupin. In addition, we’re holding a Cafe Crawl, where you can sample poetry and storytelling, while Bookmark’d is a chance to buy books, swap books or just listen to books, read aloud by their authors.

Our Night at the Theatre will this year be held in conjunction with Chatham Grammar School for Boys and be presented by award winning 17% playwrights,Sam Fentiman-Hall, Sarah Hehir and Maggie Drury. The Spirit of My Dream is inspired by Byron’s poem The Dream and features new plays with a fantastical theme.

An exhibition curated by ME4Writers especially for the festival, An Assemblance of Judicious Heretics, has channelled Byron to produce work inspiring madness, badness and dangerousness in the hearts of artists. A live reading will bring the visual carnage to life!

Byron’s Teapot will be our finale – a mad mix of unusual and quirky music, poetry and theatre, featuring The James Worse Public Address Method, JP Lovecraft,Dylan Oscar Rowe and Brides of Rain.

We look forward to welcoming you to our exciting – and only slightly scary – second full length festival!

To read full details, download a copy the 2014 programme and buy tickets, please visit rochesterlitfest.com.

If you have any enquiries regarding any of the events or festival in general, please email rochesterlitfest@gmail.com or telephone 07904 643770.

We look forward to seeing you 🙂

The Word Play Wagon lights the Fuse in Walderslade

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been selected by the Kent Baton to open their Sparks Fuse Festival project, One Day Works.

My short term residence in the Baton – a vintage silver airstream caravan converted to a mobile art centre – is on Wednesday, June 4th from 11am – 6pm. It will be located outside Permark Post Office in Walderslade Village and its activities will be suitable for all ages and all abilities. No previous experience is needed, just turn up and play around with some words.

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The overall title, The Word Play Wagon, reflects the diverse creative writing activities planned, including:

  • Turn over a new leaf: Add a poem, wish or favourite saying to a luggage label leaf you create and hang it on a Poetree.
  •  A Novel Experience: Bring your favourite book and write an original short piece based on its premise (see example ‘Triffidus Corpus’ here).
  • Hint: Writing micro fiction from as little as 10 words. (Examples)
  • Spoofing Medway: Write the local news as it didn’t happen! (Example)
  • Mystery Collective Poems: Add a line to the one before – it’ll be the only one you can see! (See examples here.)
  •  If and Then: A question and answer session with a difference. (Examples – scroll down to ‘Potlatch’)

I’m really looking forward to engaging lots of people in writing activities – who knows, I might find the next generation of Medway poets!

One Day Works will host a series of one day experiments throughout Medway during the Fuse Festival and its build up. From urban high streets to country villages, the project will showcase ten of Medway’s finest creative talents across a range of art forms. Along with the The Word Play Wagon, the works include an epic poem, sculptures made from found objects, archival collections, insect inspired costumes, drawings made from thread, an acoustic live music gig and a magic lantern performance. Click here for the full list of artists and their projects.

The Fuse Festival runs from Friday, June 13th – Sunday, June 15th, find out more at their website here.

It’s arts. It’s yours. It’s free.

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