ART & GENDER – Leslie Tate

I’m lying on my side in a darkened studio with lights and a camera pointed at my bare back. Christoffer is taking the pictures, directed by Andreas and Dagmara. The studio is in Aarhus, Denmark, I’m naked, and the film, called ‘Landscapes’, puts together close-up images of seven LGBTQI people over 60.

It’s a four-hour shoot, first across my back then tight on my chest, moving to my hand and finally to my upper body and face. While the camera pans through smoke effects and I’m in the picture, the film crew are exclaiming how beautiful it looks. Dagmara calls the session ‘funky’. It’s as if they’re sightseers in a gallery being constantly surprised and astonished by the artwork they see there. Continue reading ART & GENDER – Leslie Tate


Eilis Phillips

In part two of my interview with Eilis Phillips, synaesthete, historian, blogger, musician and author, I asked her to expand on her academic work, her experiences of synaesthesia and how ‘being different’ has affected her world view .

Leslie: Could you give a few details of your studies & teaching, please? You’re a member of Supernatural Cities – what does that involve?

Eilis: I teach undergrad students in historical methods across several different units, and I learn a lot from them. Continue reading EILIS PHILLIPS AND THE JOYS OF SYNAESTHESIA, Part Two


Eilis Phillips

I talked to Eilis Phillips about her synaesthesia and her multiple creative roles, which include academic historian, musician, blogger and author. Eilis says of her writing: “I’m inspired by all writers of the fantastic, in particular by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Peter Beagle, J. R. R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, a veritable bevy of nineteenth-century Gothic authors, and the fabulous ghost stories of M.R. James.”

I began by asking Eilis questions about synaesthesia, moving onto her other activities afterwards. Continue reading EILIS PHILLIPS AND THE JOYS OF SYNAESTHESIA, Part One


‘Afterlife’ – a still from Mark Crane’s forthcoming animation of Violet

This is the final diary entry written by Beth, the protagonist of my novel ‘Violet’. It was influenced by accounts of near-death experiences. Rather than dwelling on the physical trials of dying it focuses on recapitulating life – the marvellous, sad, varied, inspiring social experience. Continue reading VIOLET – LAST ENTRY


Kinga Fabó

I interviewed international poet Kinga Fabó whose work has been translated into 17 different languages. Kinga has been published in journals such as Modern Poetry in Translation; Numéro Cinq, Ink Sweat & Tears, Deep Water Literary Journal and anthologies like The Significant Anthology, Women in War and World Poetry Yearbook 2015. Her latest book, a bilingual Indonesian-English poetry collection Racun/Poison was published in 2015. She lives in Budapest, Hungary.

I handle strong, unusual themes in a casual, matter-of-fact manner, in an everyday style, simply and detachedKinga Fabó. Continue reading KINGA FABÓ – SHAPING THE FREE SPIRIT OF POETRY


A still from the film ‘Heaven’s Rage’. Details of EASTBOURNE & MANCHESTER showings at end of blog.

This blog tells the story of an award-winning film on tour and the LGBTQ book that inspired it. I originally wrote it for the expressive arts organisation, Lapidus InternationalLeslie Tate. Continue reading TOURING ‘HEAVEN’S RAGE’


When character drives story the narrative no longer depends on ‘hooks’ or plot twists and satisfaction comes from seeing more deeply into personality. This kind of writing goes beyond ‘entertainment’ or ‘reveals’. It’s often quite personal, taking the reader into psychological space, so when the ‘ah’ moment arrives it’s usually a discovery about innerness or hidden feelings. Character-led writing values depth over cleverness, subjectivity over analysis, and may depend more on tone of voice than content. And because it’s person-centred it may feel ‘exploratory’ with very little happening until suddenly the protagonist’s mind shifts and the authentic personality steps forward. Continue reading CHARACTER-DRIVEN STORIES


Nadia Nadif as Yasmina in NEW ANATOMIES Battersea Arts Centre

I interviewed Nadia Nadif, actor and theatre activist. Appearing with innovative theatre companies in a wide range of roles, Nadia has taken part in family shows (including learning how to stilt walk!), plays about domestic violence, and performed a Sudanese trance dance as part of a production at the Edinburgh Festival. She has also toured the Middle East with a comedy-farce show.

I began by asking Nadia about the pivotal role she played in creating The Scar Test, a challenging exposé of the UK’s inhumane treatment of refugees in detention.

Leslie: You acted in ‘The Scar Test’. Can you explain the title and the content of the play, please? Continue reading NADIA NADIF: ACTING TO LIVE

Author and Poet