I’m really looking forward to reading at the Poetry NI Summer Reading at the Crescent Arts Centre on 27th August.
I’ll be reading alongside a great mix of established names and exciting new voices – Maria McManus, Chris Agee, Ruth Carr, Kelly Creighton, Matt Kirkham, Geraldine O’Kane and Lynda Tavakoli. The night will be hosted by Colin Dardis and starts at 7.30pm.
I’m looking forward to taking up residency in Down County Museum from 3rd – 5th June, working with schools on poems about the famine.
This is part of the build up to the 150th anniversary commemoration of the famine. Some of the poems will be read at a special event in Newry in the autumn.
I’m running a Creative Writing Masterclass at Rockport Arts Centre on Saturday 9th May and a Poetry Hothouse on Saturday 16th May.
In the Creative Writing Masterclass we’ll look at how to structure any story, create vibrant characters with a deep inner life and discuss some good writing practice to enliven any story. The day will involve a mix of writing exercises, ideas, inspiration and feedback. It is suitable for all levels of experience.
The Poetry Hothouse will explore what makes a good poem, how you put emotional depth into your poetry and how you create vivid imagery. I will use inspiration, tips, guided writing exercises and feedback to get you writing. This day will increase your skills and confidence, whether you’re a beginner or are already writing.
Bring a notepad, pen, packed lunch and your imagination. The room overlooks the sea and there’ll be a chance for a sea walk over lunchtime.
Both courses run from 10.30am-3.30pm. The cost is £30. Booking is essential and places must be booked through Rockport Arts Centre – via paypal at RockportArtsCentre.com, tel 028 9042 8372 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As Terra Nova’s Arrivals 2 goes on tour across the north, here’s a little bit about how I found the writing process for my play The Lost Souls Party and about the challenges of writing for intercultural theatre.
I’ve been lucky to write for both Arrivals 1 and 2. I came to this process thinking ‘multicultural’. But the real friction is in the intercultural clash. I love Terra Nova’s idea of the clash of tectonic plates when two cultures collide. This is all so acutely highlighted in the mash up when people from different cultures come together in personal relationships; they are forced to create something new together. It’s a rich seam to explore.
The process has pushed me to write outside my usual safe limits. Initially this was terrifying. But I think the real strength of the Arrivals writing process is the Masterclass weekend where people from many other cultures who are living in N. Ireland come together and share their stories and experiences, as we share ours. The details of a life lived, the nuances of the daily rituals, the deep emotions that surface allow the writers to write authentically, to add the details that make the final pieces sing true.
The weekends also give an incredible insight into how those not born here see us – and it’s not always flattering. Last year all I could see were the differences between cultures. This year what struck me most was the similarities, the common ground we all shared.
The workshopping and readings of the plays at various stages of development means there is always someone on hand to check a fact or a detail with and this is so important.
However the intercultural element is only the foundation stone, and what you build on it can be anything. This year the plays have taken a real departure in both style and tone from the realism of last year. It’s vitally important to show different faces, voices, stories on stage – but at the end of the day it’s all about what it means to be human.
I’m delighted with this lovely interview with me by Jim Meredith that features in the new issue of the Honest Ulsterman magazine.