Sunday, 2 March 2014

SUNDAY NIGHT NEWS - Creative Writing Workshops and March Gigs

This week, three exciting things happened.

The first was the announcement of the finalists for the Fenland Poet Laureate Competition 2014!

The Judges!
In the adult category, our ten shortlisted poets are: Miriam Brown, Deb Curtis, Emma Danes, Poppy Kleiser, Helen Pletts, Richard Powell, Paul Quant, Michael Riccardi, Jonathon Totman, and Rosemary Westwell.

Then in the 11 - 17 age group, the finalists are: Florence Browse, Rana Gadir, Ben Hamilton, Macy Hilton, Hannah Lemmon, Lucy McInerney, Harry Sayer, William Sinfield, Kristina Tunnard, and Rachael White.

All twenty poets have been invited to perform at the Fenland Poet Laureate Award Ceremony on Wednesday 19th March at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, and I'm really looking forward to announcing the winners at the ceremony!

The winners will be announced in March!

The second exciting thing that happened this week was my workshop at the Thomas Clarkson Academy, in Wisbech. This time, we focused on storytelling, using a series of exercises and group discussions to really get the students thinking about place, character and plot.

There were eighteen students in the class, ranging in age from 12-15, and I had a really great time working with them!

The activity that really seemed to capture their imagination was one called 'The Lost Suitcase'. The students were asked to describe five items discovered in an abandoned suitcase, then work out what sort of character might have lost the suitcase. The idea of the game is to think about the personality and life of each of your fictional characters, in order to make them more realistic and believable.

In our workshop, we had some very inventive character studies including spies, murderers, jewel thieves and gangsters, as well as a man with a mini camel. ("It has to be mini, Miss, or it wouldn't fit in the suitcase.")

It was a lot of fun and hopefully I might be invited back again soon!

I've got another schools' workshop booked for April. This time, I'll be working with Y13 and I'm looking forward to trying some activities aimed at an older audience. I'll let you know how I get on!

28 Sonnets Later
Also this week, we completed the 28 Sonnets Later Project for 2014!

My favourite poems in this year's project include Pheasants Moseyed by Adam Warne, Fourteen Caveats by Andy Bennett and on second thoughts, maybe you should just take up golf by Russell J Turner. I'm also pretty happy with a couple of the poems I wrote for the project, and I might even read one or two of them at performances in the not too distant future! 

If you want to check out all the poems that we wrote over the course of the month, you can find them on the 28 Sonnets Later website.

Good stuff all round!

This week, I have two gigs booked, which is pretty exciting too! On Friday 7th March, I'll be heading down to Stowmarket in Suffolk for The Whole Shebang, a fun and friendly open mic night at the John Peel Centre for the Performing Arts.

This open mic night welcomes all kinds of performers, and I'm really looking forward to the chance to finally get to the John Peel Centre, as I've been wanting to check it out for absolutely ages! There are a lot of talented folk down in Suffolk too, so it's going to be a cracking night!

Then, on Saturday 8th March, it's International Women's Day and I will be taking part in an event in Peterborough, celebrating female performance, and raising money for Peterborough Rape Crisis.

We'll be performing in St John's Square, and I'll be on stage at around 1pm. There's a fantastic afternoon's worth of entertainment planned, with musicians, poets, belly dancers, Bhangra dancers and speakers, and all for an incredibly good cause.

If you're in town on the day, don't forget to pop over and say hi! See you then!

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