FROM BOOK TO FILM

Leslie Tate in Heaven’s Rage

The newly-released film Heaven’s Rage is a story of self-discovery: of soul lost and found, and the truth behind everyday appearances.  Based on my memoir of the same name, the film explores ‘Burning questions, hidden feelings and pressures to conform’.

It was made by:

JENNIFER SMEDLEY AND PLANTAPRESS – GROWING AN INDIE PUBLISHING HOUSE

Jennifer Smedley signing books to her cousin.

I interviewed grassroots publisher and author Jennifer Smedley about running an independent publishing house and writing her own novels.

Leslie: As owner and creative director, can you tell us the story in a nutshell of Plantapress from how it began up to today?

Jennifer: I started to write my debut novel Snofjell in 2002, setting myself a target of a chapter per day. I was 23 at the time, and I must say I write very differently now! Continue reading JENNIFER SMEDLEY AND PLANTAPRESS – GROWING AN INDIE PUBLISHING HOUSE

MICHELLE PAYETTE-DAOUST ON CREATIVITY – Part 3: EACH OF US IS A WORLD

Michelle Payette-Daoust

In the third part of her lyrical essay exploring creativity, Michelle Payette-Daoust  examines the personal  stories we tell, using pieces appearing over the last three years on this site to illustrate her ideas.

Michelle writes:

‘Reading through the posts on this blog, I’m reminded that there are as many stories as there are human beings. And then some.

This is so easily obscured by our tendency to define ourselves by our attachments to family, social class, faith, race, ancestry, nation, or any other allegiance that allows us to feel kinship to a tribe, no matter its size. Continue reading MICHELLE PAYETTE-DAOUST ON CREATIVITY – Part 3: EACH OF US IS A WORLD

MICHELLE PAYETTE-DAOUST ON CREATIVITY – Part 2: TIGHT FISTS OF FEELING

Gwen Hardie, Fist I; National Galleries of Scotland

In the second part of her lyrical essay exploring creativity, Michelle Payette-Daoust writes about ‘otherness’ and ‘opening the door to suffering’, using as illustrations, blogs published over the last three years on this site. As in the first part, Michelle also looks at my creative role as link-man and commissioning editor.

Michelle writes: Continue reading MICHELLE PAYETTE-DAOUST ON CREATIVITY – Part 2: TIGHT FISTS OF FEELING

JOHN MACKENNA INTERVIEW – THE THINGS UNSPOKEN

John MacKenna

In this special guest post, John MacKenna, the winner of the Hennessy Literary Award, the Irish Times Fiction Award and the C Day-Lewis Award, was interviewed by children’s and adult novelist, Sue Hampton.

Sue’s introduction: Once We Sang Like Other Men is a new short story collection by award-winning Irish poet, playwright and novelist John MacKenna. I found it compelling, bleakly beautiful, sometimes disturbing and often deeply moving. The blurb says:

‘These wide-ranging stories follow the disparate disciples of the Captain – a mysterious, powerful and magnetic figure whose violent and chaotic death at the hands of the army radically alters their lives in myriad ways. From rural North American farms and dive bars to the suburbs of Ireland and the sands of Palestine, we witness their struggles to find a place, a peace, in a world that is fractured and incomplete.’ Continue reading JOHN MACKENNA INTERVIEW – THE THINGS UNSPOKEN

MICHELLE PAYETTE-DAOUST ON CREATIVITY – Part 1: WHERE THE WORLD EXPANDS

Michelle Payette-Daoust – “How I discovered Leslie’s rich and marvelous blog is a mystery he and I may never solve. We certainly owe it to the opaque workings of Facebook’s algorithms. We’ve tried to figure out which connection we had in common there, but we’re still only guessing. Perhaps the better question is, “Why?”. I know that Leslie much prefers that question to, “How?” in his interviews with guest artists, whose generous responses are often penetrating and always rewarding. Whatever that first thread of convergence between my life and Leslie’s was, it moved me to tug at it once, twice, enough that I was soon reading his blog.”

I invited Canadian blogger, bi-linguist and teacher Michelle Payette-Daoust  to write about creativity. Michelle responded with a three-part lyrical essay,  exploring several of the  creative pieces published on this site since it began. Michelle also ‘looked between the lines’, examining my orchestrating role as interviewer, blogmaster and MC.

Michelle writes:

I was born and still live in a suburb of Montréal (Québec) and have only travelled to England twice for short stays. Unlike Leslie Tate, the author of this blog, I’m not connected to a broader artistic community, and I’ve never been published, except in local newspapers. My vision of the world has been profoundly shaped by my simultaneous bilingualism which—in a Canadian province where debates about language, identity and politics are ongoing and always fraught—has allowed me to move effortlessly between the English and French speaking worlds here and to understand and feel invested in the view from both sides. Because my bicultural identity is more fluid and flexible than most Québécois, my province’s intermittent lapses into nationalist identity politics cause me sharp pain and anxiety. Continue reading MICHELLE PAYETTE-DAOUST ON CREATIVITY – Part 1: WHERE THE WORLD EXPANDS

PLAYING THE PEOPLE’S MUSIC

Martin and Kim Olyett

I interviewed grassroots musicians Kim and Martin Olyett about their passion for traditional folk – a type of music Kim defined as: “About people and what they did.” After naming Julian Mount as the source of her definition, Kim Olyett added, “I believe it is possible to write new folk songs about people nowadays and these songs will become a testament to our lives in the future. I don’t see this music as historical but rather organic, something that grows with each generation.”

I began the interview by asking joint questions to both Kim and Martin.

Leslie: How did your interest in folk music and words begin, grow and develop? Continue reading PLAYING THE PEOPLE’S MUSIC

FIVE LIVE AUTHORS

Five Live Authors, shot and edited by Photographer and Film-maker Phil Richardson, captures the highlights of a book event in Berkhamsted. Phil’s film brings to life the live flow of ideas between the following authors: Continue reading FIVE LIVE AUTHORS

Author and Poet