I interviewed Raine Geoghegan about how her writing and stage work have been affected by M.E. and Fibromyalgia. Raine, a former actress, dancer, theatre director and choreographer, worked in the West End and London Fringe. She has now moved into writing prose, poetry and teaching short courses in drama and voice work. Raine has an MA in Creative Writing and has been published in Anima; Poetry & Jazz Magazine; Reflections of the South Downs, Mslexia, and Creating Connections, a disability living magazine. Currently Raine is working on a project with a mentor based on her Romany Heritage. She has had M.E. and Fibromyalgia for twenty years. Continue reading THE ROMANY SPIRIT AND THE GIFT OF ILLNESS
My poem Visit, highly commended in the Brian Dempsey Memorial Competition, 2017.
My mother’s in the kitchen as we knock and enter.
We’re expected. Except for the kisses and silk-grey hairdo,
she’s unchanged. Her dewlap cheeks are warm.
After passing through health checks, teabag squeezings
and the week in headlines, we occupy the lounge.
Inviting us to sit, she hunts out coasters.
Our talk begins again. Inside its structure
– tape loop or formula – I’m invisible,
standing at the window, observing the small boy
with shadow self and hideouts, surrounded by branches
on the wrong side of the shed. Continue reading VISIT
I interviewed poet Natalie Scott about her prison writing uncovering forgotten histories, her use of dramatic monologue and poetry as therapy. Natalie has a PhD in Creative Writing, has two pamphlets and a full collection in print, and her poems have appeared in journals including Ambit, Agenda, English in Education, Aesthetica, Live Canon, Pennine Platform, Poetry Scotland and South Magazine.
Leslie: From what seeds did your poetry first grow? How did it develop? Continue reading NATALIE SCOTT – PRISON LIVES AND VICTORIAN VOICES
I asked Hannah Marks, who works as a children’s book illustrator, what has inspired her own, very distinctive style. Hannah is a graphic designer currently living in the Hertfordshire countryside just north of London.
Leslie: How did your interest in illustrating children’s books begin? Continue reading ILLUSTRATING THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS
I grew up in the Fifties wanting to be a spiritual child. I didn’t see grand visions or hear strange voices and my world was small, measured by school times and mealtimes and trips to see the family. But in private spots and in places I visited there was a pictorial quality, a sense of something extra, an additional factor that filtered in, making for significance. It was visible but elusive, an edge to experience unnoticed by anyone else, like a signal from a distance that doesn’t transmit and yet somehow registers. I was witness to impressions that couldn’t be named. Continue reading WRESTLING WITH MY ANGEL by Leslie Tate
I interviewed Anne Samson, co-director of TSL, a publisher going beyond the traditional publishing model and working very closely with its authors. Anne says about TSL: “We’re somewhere between traditional publishing and self-publishing – indie/independent doesn’t quite fit although that is where we broadly sit.”
Leslie: So, can you describe TSL – who and what it publishes and why? Continue reading AN INDIE PUBLISHER’S STORY
Prize-winning poet, Harriet Levin Millan writes about what she has learned from listening to the stories of refugees, and how she has turned that experience into literature.
How Fast Can You Run, Harriet’s debut novel, based on the experiences of Michael Majok Kuch from South Sudan, has been selected as a Charter for Compassion Global Read and as a Forward Indies Best Book of the Year finalist in three categories. Harriet is also the author of two books of poetry, with a third to appear in 2018. Among her prizes are the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and directs the Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing at Drexel University. Continue reading THE WORDS WE USE, SPEAKING ABOUT REFUGEES
I interviewed Dawn Finch, librarian, activist, novelist and historical researcher about her amazing range of cultural interests. Dawn is the past president of the leading UK professional body for librarians CILIP and writes novels for young adults as well as books about ancient history.
Leslie: Your profile says you have a ‘lifetime fascination with antiquarian books, history and the Gothic’. Can you describe your relationship to books as a child and how that has led to your writing today? Continue reading DAWN FINCH – ADDING A PEBBLE TO THE MOUNTAIN