I interviewed Peter Salmon, whose first novel, The Coffee Story, was a New Statesman Book of the Year. Peter talked to me about his recent biography of Jacques Derrida, An Event Perhaps, and the nature of writing that pushes the boundaries. Peter Salmon is the former Centre Director of the John Osborne/The Hurst Arvon Centre. Continue reading PETER SALMON: “THE GLORY & HORROR OF MAKING BOOKS”
A piece about how the writer’s imagination works, using examples from my recently published novel, Love’s Register.
My thoughts about writing Love’s Register begin with the image of the novel as a house of cards. What I see is an interlocking structure where each word has to be added carefully, judging how much weight it can bear. If the words hold together they support each other, if they don’t the whole caboodle comes tumbling down.
But to keep up that balancing act all the way is difficult. It’s a long hard journey and a well-judged finish – whether it’s a denouement or a reveal – can make all the difference. It’s what I look for when I read with a novelist’s eye, comparing the quality of the first and last chapters. Continue reading BOOKS AS SPORT, ARTWORKS, WORDSEARCH, CARD TRICKS?
I interviewed TV, film and radio scriptwriter Annalisa Dinnella, who performs stand-up comedy and has about 5% vision. Annalisa, who is currently working on a show as part of Channel 4’s 4screenwriters 2020, has written for BBC TV 1 & 3 and for Radio 3 & 4. Annalisa’s work has been nominated for the Imison Award and her Radio 4 piece, Annalisa is Awkward, was described as “delightful” by Grayson Perry.
Leslie: Could you offer a few anecdotes that describe your experience of the world as a visually-impaired (VI) person, please? Continue reading COMEDY AND SCRIPTING TV/RADIO WITH 5% VISION
I interviewed Iranian-born artist Maliheh Zafarnezhad about her transformational East-West art focussing on women’s feelings and experiences in exile. Maliheh has lived in Iran, Ireland and the UK, working as a gallery assistant, curator, filmmaker, editor and graphic designer.
Leslie: What are the connections between your early life in Iran and your later development as an artist and film maker?
Maliheh: I was born in a traditional Iranian family in a small city called Sabzevar. My father was a teacher but he was also a musician and composer. He taught me how to play santur which is an Iranian traditional instrument. I think the music was the first and main reason that introduced me to the art world. Continue reading EAST-WEST ART AND THE SOUL OF EXPATRIATE WOMEN
Andreena Leeanne is a poet, an abuse survivor and a truth-speaker. I interviewed Andreena about her writing and creativity, her childhood experiences, being black and gay, and her LGBT Open Mic sessions.
Leslie: Can you trace where the creativity in you comes from and what has nurtured and sustained it from childhood to today? Continue reading GAY, GIFTED AND BLACK
I interviewed photographer and theologian Werner Ustorf about his left-leaning ‘Agnostic Lutheranism’, his work as ‘Chair in Mission’ at Birmingham University, his writings about the Western-Aboriginal encounter in Central Australia and his impressions, as a British citizen born in Germany, of the UK today. The interview is illustrated by Werner’s black and white photographs. Continue reading FAITHFUL UNCERTAINTY
I interviewed Kuli Kohli who says about herself: “I was born with mild cerebral palsy in northern India and moved to England at an early age. I am a creative writer, poet, mother, wife and full-time council worker. Having the ability to write has made my life richer and more rewarding.” Kuli helps run Blakenhall Writers’ Group and has established a new writers’ group dedicated to Punjabi Women in Wolverhampton.
Leslie: Can you describe, please, how cerebral palsy has affected you. What are the typical issues you face every day? Continue reading POETRY, WRITING GROUPS AND CEREBRAL PALSY
I interviewed Art Therapist and Counsellor Charlotte Jane Kessler about her therapeutic work in health/drug centres and her art therapy, grief work and women’s circles. Charlotte introduced me to concepts such as her ‘power pallet’ and ‘gift exchange’ as well as offering some inspiring stories about people she has helped.
Leslie: Looking back, what stands out from your 10 years working with non-statuary mental health and drug services? What did you learn from this period? Continue reading ART & GRIEF THERAPY, MARK MAKING & WOMEN’S CIRCLES