All posts by Leslie Tate


Paula Watkins

I interviewed artist Paula Watkins, author of Cut, Shape, Stitch, who creates her own life-enhancing artworks in a range of materials. Paula is a community artist and teacher, passing on her gift by showing adults and children how to express themselves through textiles, stitch and mixed-media.

Leslie: How have your background and key formative experiences contributed to your development as an artist?

Paula: As a young girl I enjoyed art so much that I had presumed that it would be my career with teaching as an additional choice. Yet when it came to careers advice at school I was told to look into something more academic and discouraged from following my heart. Continue reading PAULA’S WORLD OF TEXTILES, STITCH AND MIXED-MEDIA


IMG_1391I was introduced to Deaf writer and artist Melissa Mostyn by my friend Jill Hipson – who I’d already interviewed about The Rich Culture of Deaf People. Meeting Melissa, I could see straightaway that she was another amazingly active, resilient individual living in two worlds, understanding both the deaf and hearing communities. I asked Melissa to answer a few questions and she came up with a guest blog describing her upbringing and her personal struggle to recover her identity as a Deaf person. What follows builds on an extract from her e-book, My Daughter and I

‘For much of my life, I have been a Deaf writer and artist in some shape or form. Continue reading MELISSA’S STORY – A DEAF IDENTITY RECLAIMED


3478127_orig[1]I interviewed John Yamrus. His published works include 24 volumes of poetry (with three more due out this year) as well as two novels. John has had nearly 1,800 poems published in magazines around the world and has played an important role in promoting modern poetry through appearances on TV. His poems have been taught at both high school and college level in the USA

In answering my questions John, who is a free spirit, wrote: ‘I’m approaching it like I’m doing it live. In trying to keep myself open to the questions, I’m not reading ahead… trying to keep myself surprised. Except for spelling and things like that, I’m not going back and making corrections. I’m trying my best to keep it fresh for you’.342740_orig[1] Continue reading THE READER AS MUSE.


cnw[1]I asked Chris Norton-Walker about what drives him creatively as a stand-up comedian. Chris is an actor from the Central School of Speech and Drama with an MA and several stage, film and TV appearances, whose first love is performing on the national comedy circuit. He has reached the final rounds of several major stand-up competitions.

Leslie: What do you enjoy most about stand up and why?

Chris: The lifestyle’s good. I don’t mean the ‘showbiz lifestyle’ of parties, women and money because, I can assure you, there is none of that. I’m talking more about being your own boss, making people laugh and a lack of dreary Monday morning commutes. And I’ve done those, they are not fun. What is great about stand up is Continue reading THE PLAYFUL ART OF STAND UP


Sherief Hassan

Sherief Hassan is a multi-talented actor, scriptwriter and consultant who has co-ordinated film-based events for Channel 4, Sadlers Wells and the Royal Festival Hall. He is the inventor of the Sine Player ‘edutainment’ app which links film studios, producers and creative researchers in the digital field. He is also a committed environmentalist and chair of Dacorum Green Party. I asked Sherief to talk about what inspires him to be green both in his personal life and in the arts, media and politics.

Leslie: Who are your green heroes and why? Continue reading THE ART OF BEING GREEN

Not The Death of the Author

Skyscrapers are not raised simply to conceal dead mice – Saul Bellow.

Leslie reading Berkhamsted Live 5I find that the best writing comes out of the dark. Often it starts from a single word, a thought or an incident that sets off a search – which I’m experiencing now, writing this blog – involving lots of stops and false starts.

While I’m searching I try out phrases and listen to how the words sound, judging their effect on the reader. I’m also editing every sentence as I go, juggling the phrases to achieve the most elegant formulation and removing words that overburden it. At the same time I’m plugging gaps, enhancing effects and reading back to ensure continuity. In addition, and crucially, I’m writing for feel, mood and flow, visualising the incidents and riding the emotional waves as I go. Continue reading Not The Death of the Author


Marilyn Kallett
I interviewed Marilyn Kallet, poet, translator and author of seventeen books, who is the Nancy Moore Goslee Professor of English at the University of Tennessee and teaches at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Auvillar, France.

Leslie: Your poetry/translation work involves dreamwork, vision-questing, ethnic writing and Surrealism. Can you describe the key qualities of these areas, please.

Marilyn: I have translated two major Surrealist poets, Paul Eluard (Last Love Poems) and Benjamin Péret (The Big Game), both published by Black Widow Press, which specializes in Surrealist authors. Continue reading MARILYN KALLET – LIVING WITH IMAGINATION


Every one also gave him a piece of Money, from William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job.

Thirty years ago, when I taught in London, I came across a short story called Bud’s Luck. It was about a quiet, dreamy schoolboy who finds a magic coin that keeps coming back to him. He uses it to clear all the local slot machines of sweets and chewing gum – stockpiling more than he can ever eat. But when Bud shares his ‘winnings’ with his classmates, his luck becomes a curse. Word gets around that Bud has been spotted emptying machines and every evening a different gang show up to bully him and steal the coin. The next day he’s beaten up again because the coin disappeared into the machine and didn’t work. And when the boys find the magic coin resting snuggly in Bud’s pocket, it sets off another beating.

In desperation Bud drops the coin down a drain, leaves it on a railway line and flings it in a river, but every morning the coin returns and he has to set off, alone but quietly resigned, to face school and his angry classmates… Continue reading STORIES LEAD TO STORIES