All posts by Leslie Tate


Ailsa Mair, fire spirits, photo by Barnaby ‘Badger’ Brown

I interviewed musician and storyteller Ailsa Mair Hughes who improvises on her cello outdoors, sings, composes, and works with other artist in dynamic site-specific creative projects. Ailsa describes herself as ‘an untamed musician’ who performs ‘up trees, on boats, streets and beaches and more’.  In all of her projects, Ailsa says that she brings with her, ‘A passion for the connection between music and nature’. Continue reading UNTAMED MUSIC FOR HEALING THE PLANET PART 1


Chisato Minamimura. Photo by Mark Pickthall©

I interviewed Chisato Minamimura, a Deaf dance artist who has performed in over 40 international locations working with Candoco Dance Company, Graeae Theatre Company and others. She appeared at the London Paralympic Opening Ceremony 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Cultural Olympiad. Chisato, by collaborating with cutting-edge digital artists, has created a unique style of choreography from a Deaf perspective that she calls ‘visual sound/ music’. Continue reading CHISATO MINAMIMURA – A DEAF DANCER’S FIFTH SENSE


Heather Tweed – Anubis Installation, Centrespace Gallery. Lifesize, faux fur, mixed media.  © Paul Chapman

I interviewed artist Heather Tweed whose creative work embraces painstaking historical research, popular 19th Century entertainment, and dark & mythic dream-figures. Heather’s often teasing and evocative art has been shown in Venice, Bristol and at The Edinburgh Festival. Heather, who studied at Exeter, Leicester and City University London,  is a multi-media artist and teacher practised at using paper maché, sculpted clay, language and sewn fabric.

Leslie: What was it about your childhood and education that gave you your continuing interest in art, sculpture, sewing and books? Continue reading HEATHER TWEED – DREAM ART AND TREASURE HUNTS


Bridget Pitt

I interviewed Bridget Pitt, anti-apartheid activist, environmentalist and novelist. Bridget’s story ‘Next Full Moon We’ll Release Juno‘ was shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story competition, and ‘The infant Odysseus’ was runner up in the 2015 Short Sharp Story Award. Recently, ‘The Rhino’s Child‘ came second in the Aftermath End of the World Short Story contest.

Bridget says about her novels: “My first published novel, ‘Unbroken Wing’, was written in the sleep-starved daze of early motherhood, and draws on my experiences in the anti-apartheid struggle. ‘The Unseen Leopard’, published after 12 years of procrastination and feverish rewriting, reflects my growing concern with environmental issues… Continue reading A SOUTH AFRICAN HERSTORY



I interviewed Gabriella Logan (Guitar Gabby) who founded and manages the all-Black Woman, Afro-rock band Txlips. The band describe themselves as “…a dynamic group of diverse Black women across the U.S. whose mission it is to challenge the boundaries set for women in the music industry as well as to inspire girls and women worldwide to be an unstoppable force.”

Leslie: In a nutshell, what kind of music do you play? What’s behind your name ‘The Txlips Band’? Continue reading TXLIPS – WOMEN WHO ROCK


Paul Regan after the show

Interview with member of the Magic Circle Paul Regan whose show about mental health issues was a great success at the Edinburgh Festival. Paul uses humour in his magic, board games, bespoke tricks and runs courses to encourage more women to become magicians.

Leslie: How did you learn to become a magician? What kind of magic do you practise? What are the hard work aspects of the profession?

Paul: There are lots of different ways to learn magic. I learned by doing. In essence, I taught myself a few tricks, turned up at Magic Corner at Covent Garden, and started trying to be a performer. Continue reading THE MAGICIAN’S TALE


In part two of my interview with Andy Miller, winner of the 2011 Yeovil Poetry Prize, I asked about his second and third books, both written in mixed styles. Andy tells the story of putting together ‘lyrical essays’ in one book and ‘edited diaries’ in another.

While Giants Sleep

Leslie: What were the deeper intentions of writing about music and travel in ‘While Giants Sleep’? How does the book deal with life stages and the psychology of relationships?

Andy: My immediate response is to say that I did not really have deeper intentions and that the book is a collection of miscellaneous pieces without any strong unifying themes. But that is not completely correct.

I began writing for publication professionally when I was training as an educational psychologist at the University of Sheffield in the mid-1970s. I had a fieldwork supervisor at that time who cajoled me into writing a paper jointly with him for journal submission. I had little opportunity to decline the ‘invitation’ (I needed to pass the course!) and I was thrilled to be inducted into the world of publication whilst being equally terrified of being exposed as a lightweight and imposter with ideas way above his station. Continue reading WRITING ACROSS GENRES (2)


The Naples of England

I interviewed writer and psychologist Andy Miller, winner of the 2011 Yeovil Poetry Prize, about mixing genres as an author. In the first part of Andy’s interview he describes how his fact/fiction book ‘The Naples of England‘ grew out of his childhood in Weymouth and some tragic family secrets.

Leslie: In writing your book ‘The Naples of England’, what decided your choice of memories – and to what extent were you adapting rather than literally recording your own upbringing?

Andy: ‘The Naples of England‘ had an unusual journey to publication in that it was originally intended to be part of a hybrid of memoir and literary fiction combined in roughly equal proportions. Some years ago now, I set out to explore, and did in fact complete, a full book-length piece about family secrets and, specifically, the suicides of my two grandmothers. Continue reading WRITING ACROSS GENRES (1)