Friday, 22 September 2017

September Update (the Keith Jarrett experience)


I have a story coming out in The Mechanics' Institute Review, Birkbeck's annual anthology of short fiction. MIR14 (yep, it's been running for fourteen years!) will be launching next week and copies will be available here (or you can ask me nicely and I'll source a signed one for you).

I'm also keen to have my latest book of poems read more widely. So, anyone who orders a copy of Selah directly off me (either through Paypal link on this page, or by emailing me) will also get a copy of my last pamphlet I Speak Home.  

If you've already got copies of those, and you're sick of reading me, then MIR14 has some great stories by other people... and I have plenty of other reading recommendations!


There's just over a week left to listen to me on the BBC Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross. Tori Amos, among others, is interviewed in this episode, but if you just want to hear me, I come on around 1:13:15.

Again, if you've already heard me - there's live poetry from Malika Booker on this episode which aired last night (the night of the Forward Poetry Prize announcement... drum roll...).

Seeing as it's back to school/uni/work for everyone, there's a special back to school Lunar Poetry Podcast on air, where Jacob Sam La Rose, Miriam Nash and I discuss poetry and education. Please check it out!

And again, there's a whole host of other interviews on the Lunar Poetry site also worth checking out.

3. SEE

I'll be updating my Upcoming tab soon. In the meanwhile, I'm popping up at various places: Madrid in two weeks (I'll talk about that in another post), then Cheltenham for the literary festival, and doing some teaching and reading and general life stuff. I've just started my (projected) final year of my PhD so that will be the biggest priority for me for the next year - and I'm likely to go AWOL at various points.

My only London poetry gigs in the next month will be Backstory Cabaret at Bloomsbury Festival on October 20th (my local!) and Stablemates on 26th October at the (new, improved) Poetry CafĂ©.

As far as other people reading/performing, I'm looking forward to National Poetry Day. There are so many events going on, it's ridiculous! I'm also going to Southbank's Poetry International Weekend on October 14/15, which looks promising.

Ok, back to work! 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Brief End of Summer update!

1. The Arts Show with Jonathan Ross

Post-carnival, I rocked up to the BBC Radio 2 studio and had a conversation with this legend and read out two poems. You can listen in soon here or catch it live tomorrow (Thursday), 10pm.

2. Safest Spot in Town

It's been a real joy hearing from some of my friends who watched this, but nothing lasts forever. This monologue will be going off air Friday just after 10pm, so you have 48 hours to watch. Last chance! (Some of the earlier Queers monologues are already expired, but go to the website and check out the ones still left).

3. Upcoming

Tomorrow, I'll also be stopping by for a pre-launch edition of Reverb Chamber in Gravesend (and I'll be featuring there in November!) Can't wait... I hear there's a few special guests, so it's one to look out for.

I've tried to keep September free as I'm cramming in lots of reading for the beginning of the new term. And I'll be teaching at uni from October, but that's another story...

I have a story published in the Birkbeck anthology, The Mechanics' Institute Review* (14th edition), coming out in a couple of weeks. And there's a few other gigs to come in October/November. All of that will be updated in the Coming Up tab over the next week or so.

*fun fact: In addition to MIR14, I also have a story published in MIR5 (i.e. 9 years ago), the only creative work I had published under my pseudonym J. D. Keith. Sadly, I killed off the pen name in a quest to be more 'authentic', and to try and own whatever I wrote, however embarrassing...

Ok, finally, if you don't have a copy of my book, Selah, and you want one, free of charge*, email me with the subject END OF SUMMER in the next day or two (or before I delete this part of the post) and I'll send you a copy. (*excludes non-UK addresses unless you can pay postage!)

Friday, 4 August 2017

Coming Up: Wilderness and Edinburgh (3 Things)

NOTE: I will be updating this post over the next few days as things develop

1. Wilderness

I'm heading over to Wilderness Festival in an hour, and I'll be there today until Sunday. I'm performing at The Forum on Saturday evening, with some amazing people - including Sophia Walker and Sophia Blackwell.

I'm also looking forward to catching up with Raymond Antrobus (running the Apples & Snakes event this eve) and Katie Bonna (whose show is on TWICE today).

And of course, hearing Renni Eddo-Lodge and other writers/speakers... and Grace Jones and Bonobo and plenty of musicians. I'll have to pace myself but, hey...

If you're there, please come say hi! If not, wish me dry weather! :)

2. Edinburgh (so far)

I'll be one of the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam judges this year. The heats are on at 8.30pm from 7-10 August; the final is on the 13th.

So far, I'm also guesting at Other Voices on Tuesday 8th in the Banshee Labyrinth 

I may have a spot at Hammer & Tongue one of these days...

My biggest single aim this year is to see at least half as many NON spoken word poetry shows as I do spoken word ones. I'm always keen to be signposted to any unmissable theatre/comedy/art/whatever, but I'm on a limited budget after forking out half my life savings on accommodation [ouch]. I'd forgotten what last minute room finds can be like!

3. Safest Spot... update

Well, the first ever script I've written was aired on TV 2 nights ago. And I feel great about it. I could write a much longer post, but I won't. In the meantime, it will be on iPlayer for another 28 days, alongside all the other monologues - and if you order a book, you can read along with it at home, like I did :)

Well, I'm off to find my tent!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Safest Spot in Town

I've mentioned the Queers monologue series a few times now.

Safest Spot in Town, the play I wrote, will be on at The Old Vic on the 31st July - now just a couple of weeks away - alongside three other plays by Jon Bradfield, Michael Dennis and Brian Fillis. I'm pleased that Kadiff Kirwan will be doing the stage version as well as the film version. I couldn't have wished for a better actor to take on the role... seriously, he's legend, and I'm saying this as objectively as possible (watch it and see if you agree...).

The Old Vic show SOLD OUT! (and pretty quickly - which probably had something to do with Russell Tovey starring in Brian Fillis's More Anger). Not to worry, short of queuing up for reserves, the film version will be on BBC Four in the next few weeks to watch at leisure in the comfort of one's own home.

Meanwhile, here's a trailer:

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Book Overload!

Here's the full list:

Jay Bernard - English Breakfast
Kayo Chingonyi - Kumukanda
Lorna Goodison - Collected Poems
Roger Mais - Black Lightning
Nick Makoha - Kingdom of Gravity
Nate Marshall - Wild Hundreds
Karen McCarthy Woolf - Seasonal Disturbances
Miriam Nash - All the Prayers in the House
Olumide Popoola - When We Speak of Nothing
Leone Ross - Come Let Us Sing Anyway

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

UPDATE: the last 2 weeks

It's been the most full on couple of weeks for me. Like EVER.

In chronological order, some of the printable highlights:

i) As per my last post, I took a school group to Parliament, in between conference sessions at the British Library and a bunch of other stuff, like going to Tate Britain.

ii) I co-presented work with Malika Booker at Birkbeck University and then, the following day, was performing in Basingstoke for Come Rhyme with Me, alongside Fergus Evans and Toni Stuart!

iii) The Golden Shovel event (also mentioned in the last post) was off the hook. I got to meet two of my poetry heroes - Patricia Smith and Terrance Hayes - and managed to string a coherent sentence in their presence. I also caught up a lot with my mentor, Peter Kahn, who's now back in Chicago.

iv) I went to Madrid for the weekend... I won't say more, but it involved catching up with friends and hanging out, and avoiding my birthday.

v) I went to Huddersfield and had the most amazing time in two schools, doing workshops with young people. I'm still impressed by what they had to share.

vi) I performed as part of the Penguin Pride live event in Camden, alongside Toby Campion, MC Angel and Kele :)

vii) I got on a 7am train to co-chair a conference panel in Newcastle. Later, I over-napped and almost missed the entire reading of Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and Lorna Goodison (I'll never forgive myself that). But, the next day, I woke up in time to present as part of another panel at 9.30.

viii) Back in London, I somehow ended up on a pride march with UCL staff (long story!) and met friends at UK Black Pride.

ix) Oh, and of course, my bookshelf has grown by about a dozen books! Grrr... that will have to be another post.

After all of that (and more), understandably, I'm a bit tired! I may provide links later...
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See Coming Up tab at the top of the page