I've been a bit quiet, haven't I? Last year, I was recovering from a shoulder replacement, but also, Comps and Calls really took off, being named one of the best websites for writers by Reader's Digest. Woohoo! If you're a writer, then do check www.compsandcalls.com/wp, for all sorts of free opportunities. With both Comps and Calls and this site, I owe a massive vote of thanks to Keir and Neil, who help me to do it all. With my disabilities, I could never wrangle both sites alone.
I have been busy on the writing front too - I've had loads of publications. Over 250 of my poems, stories and articles have been published now, so those on the 'Publications' page are a selection, rather than the whole lot. I've also won several more writing competitions: the Dean Charlton nature poetry competition with 'Fallen Nature', the Once Written March Contest with 'Savouring the Moment', and the Spank the Carp Spring Contest with 'Spring's a Right Jack-the-Lad'. (Remember you can always buy my book 'How to Win Writing Competitions'. I have no more talent than dozens of writers who don't win competitions - why and how I do win, is all in the book.)
I need to get a t-shirt that says, "I once performed with Tony Walsh"! I've been delighted by his well-deserved success. The right poem at the right time and the right, of course, place. Three cheers for Manchester and for Tony! Though I love Cheshire, I miss Manchester all the time.
Due to my health, I haven't been performing much, except a visit to a much-loved venue of mine: Sale Write Out Loud at the Waterside Arts Centre. It's a lovely event, on monthly.
Much love to all, and I'll write soon,
If you're thinking that I've been unusually quiet, you're right. The reason is that I've had my left shoulder replaced! Typing has been very difficult (and it's hard enough with arthritis anyway). However I am getting back to normal, and kind friends are letting me dictate to them, so I should be updating this site properly very soon.
I've had some fantastic wins and acceptances lately. I won the Wergle Flomp Humor (sic) Poetry Contest, which brought a tidy sum as well as some publicity and, of course, the joy of having one's work appreciated. You can see me reading my winning poem here (be warned - not suitable for under 18s). I was also a runner-up in the Cheshire Literature Prize, which was thrilling. I got to meet the High Sheriff of Cheshire, in his velvet breeches. He was armed with a sword and a merry disposition. I met Michael Arditti, too, who was signing books. "You might do this one day," he said encouragingly. Er, Michael... As if that wasn't enough, I was one of the winners of the Intergenerational Storytelling Contest, which is pleasing. I've also had a slew of acceptances, but one that is very special is that from The Antarctica Journal. I've now had poems or stories accepted on every single continent! You can see some others on the Publications page. As you can tell, I've been on a bit of a high, which is wonderful after last year's stresses. I am so grateful for the happy times. Wishing you a happy, stress-free (well, as close as possible!) festive season and New Year,
Summer 2015Well the weather is mixed but I'm having a lovely summer, thankfully. For one thing, my new book is out! I've now won eighteen writing competitions and literary awards (it was fourteen when the book went to press!) and I've written down everything I've learned along the way. So have a look at 'How to Win Writing Competitions (and make money)' if you want to know what gives entries the winning edge. Reviews have been very positive so far and I'm hoping that lots of writers will achieve success and gain income by using it. I've won a gold medal and a bronze medal in the UPLI Awards, which is lovely as the medals aren't figuratve, but real! My inner child was thrilled when I put them on. They're really rather special. There were also certificates and money, which are of course useful and pleasant too. I also won the Concrete Cow Poetry Competition, which was fun as the theme was books, and the prize a book token. I do love book tokens because one can't spend them on sensible things like bills or groceries - one has to spend them on books. A wonderful win was the Balticon 49 Science Fiction Poetry Contest. For my poem 'Songs of the Starcleaners' I won $100, a certificate and a sumptuous programme. The quality was very high, judging by the runners-up, and I feel very lucky. After about ten attempts I've finally been among the winners at the Spectator competition, too. Entrants had to invent new names for paint colours and write a piece in the style of interor design magazines, so I really went to town. On a more serious note, my poem 'After Alphabets' was accepted for the Seamus Heaney tribute anthology. I admired Seamus enormously and I'm very pleased to be able to pay homage to him and his work. I've had several other acceptances and a good few publications, too. It feels as if my years of hard work and struggle, especially with my health and disabilities making it extra difficult, are paying off at last. I've even been featured in an article in Writing Magazine - What I Wish I'd Known About....Getting a Poetry Collection Published [PDF]. I hope that you are having a great summer too! Much love, and speak soon, Cathy x
Spring 2015The sun is shining (well occasionally!), the birds are singing and we've moved to a lovely new place with wonderful landlords. Life is getting better! There's good news on the literary front too. In the UPLI Global Poetry Competition I won gold in one category and bronze in another, and I was also lucky enough to come third in the Rank Formsby Poetry Competition. I've also performed at the launch of Selkie Singing at the Passing Place, the wonderful book by my dear friends Sarah Miller and Melanie Rees. I was in support and opened the gig at Central Library, which is always fun, as then one can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. There was a slight issue because I couldn't climb onto the stage! I performed in front of it, however, which worked. Gerry Potter was the other guest and he was sublime, as always. Sarah and Melanie were just so lovely that it's hard to write about - such talent and kindness! Some people think that the Manchester poetry scene is a bit 'luvvie'-ish. Well, the truth is that we really like each other and each other's work, and take pleasure in supporting each other. It's a very warm scene, and this was a very warm, special night. Perhaps most importantly, though, I've had a poem chosen to be used as part of a literacy programme in India. I could not be more honoured. What more could a writer want than to help people embrace the joys of language? I've had a good few acceptances, but I haven't been able to update the publications page as all my stuff is still in boxes. I'll do it soon! There are some links to online poems on the Publications page, though. In the meantime, happy Spring! I wish you warmth. Cathy x
Jan 2015Don't forget to enter this comp over at Mother's Milk! I'm judging the poetry category. The children's comp is free for them to enter, and the adult's requires a purchase (which can be as small as a greetings card. Or if you've bought my book or Angela Topping's recently then you will get an entry). The entries will be anonymised so that there will be no favouritism. Deadline 18th Jan 2015! As a disabled person my time and energy are very precious and limited. However you can see details of some new publications on the relevant page. There were some fine moments in 2014 - my second collection published and getting marvellous reviews (including in Mslexia!), a poem being read on Radio 4's Poetry Please, and many competition prizes, publications and a few (health permitting) performances. What will 2015 hold? Well, so far I've had news of a small comp win (The Riding Light Review newsletter's microfiction comp for November), and an acceptance from a paying (again small, but still!) publication. Not bad for the first week! Happy New Year!
Winter 2014My main news is competition wins - I've been very lucky recently! I won a flash fiction competition from the Mslexia e-newsletter, little Ms, and my prize was £350 and a huge box of delicious breakfast foods. Great prize! Then I won $100 from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities for my poem I Want One. I've also had a raft of work published - see all the new listings on the Publications page. I've been very busy working on several new projects, which I hope to share with you soon. In the meatime, have a lovely festive season, whatever your beliefs. Best wishes x
Summer 2014Big news first - my new book is out! There's a launch at On the 8th Day Café, Manchester on 28th August 2014 from 7-9.30pm. Angela Topping, whose book 'Letting Go' was also published by Mother's Milk Books, will be reading, and we will have two guest stars in the lovely shapes of Rosie Garland (aka Rosie Lugosi) and Sarah Miller. It's going to be huge fun. Food and drink will be available. In the meantime, if you can't wait, you can buy the book now. In other news, my knee replacement went okay and I am recovering well. Because of the op and aftermath I haven't been submitting much, but you can see all the details of my recent publications here. Do come to the launch and say hello! Speak soon. x
June 2014My new book is out and getting great reviews! Find out more or buy it at Mother's Milk.
April 2014My poem 'The Poetry Diet' is going to be read on BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please on 11th May! I'm dying to find out which actor or actress they hire to read it. Do listen in, and let me know what you think!
'My Writing Process' Blog Tour - in which I will plug my NEW BOOK several times (you can't say you weren't warned).I was honoured to be invited to this blog tour by the fabulous Rosie Garland (though frankly I'd be honoured to be invited to anything by Rosie. She could make an exhibition of old sheep dung sound interesting). It's made me think about my writing processes and creativity in general, and it's been marvellous to have yet another excuse for staring out of the window with my mouth open and calling it 'working'. Here is Rosie's blog entry. So to the questions. 1. What am I working on? I'm so glad that you asked! I have a new book coming out at the end of May, and I'm just fiddling and fine-tuning with my editor. It's my second poetry collection and it's called 'Look At All the Women', and will be published by Mother's Milk Books, who did Angela Topping's excellent collection 'Letting Go' last year, and the anthology 'Musings on Mothering' the year before. It's been my first experience of working with an editor for a full collection without, ahem, 'romance' being involved with at least one staff member of the publishing house, so I was a bit nervous about being unable to use my wiles and charms to get my way and wangle what I wanted. Fortunately, Teika (my editor) is a really lovely person who respects the poetry and the poet, and has listened to me at every stage. She has helped enormously with input, too, and the finished collection will be all the better for her skilful (and tactful!) hand. I feel very lucky, and almost like a Proper Writer. You can find more details here. It'll be out at the end of May. I'm also working on a novel - a murdery mystery set in the Pride and Prejudice world, set three years after the events of Jane Austen's novel. I was halfway through the first draft when I heard of the existence of 'Death Comes to Pemberley', but I think that mine will be rather different - Mary Bennett is the heroine of mine, and it's very light and (I hope) fun. It needs a bit more editing and weeping over by me before I send it out into the cold world to sing for its supper (and mine).
I'm also working on my monthly writing schedule as determined by my listings website compsandcalls.com. I make a list of the comps and calls that interest me, and then use the themes as writing prompts. If any writers are reading this then I encourage you to do the same - everything is free to enter or submit to, and can be entered (or submitted to) by easy electronic means. There are also plenty of unthemed competitions and calls for submission.2. How does my work differ from others in its genre? Well, I work in a variety of genres, from science fiction to formal poetry, so it's hard to answer this without waffling on for aeons. I think that the main difference with my collection is that it's funny and iconoclastic in places, and serious and feisty in others. My last collection was described as 'by a female Spike Milligan' which tickled me! My dream is to be the lovechild of Ogden Nash and Sylvia Plath, which would be the acme of everything desirable. Though I don't think that being different is as important as writing your own truth as well as possible. No two people have an identical view and experience of the universe, and I loathe the idea that we all have to have a Unique Selling Point. The writing is what matters. Perhaps you should buy my new book to see what the real answer is to this question... 3. Why do I write what I do? Because I can't not. Believe me, I've tried. I did every job under many suns until my health gave out, and I am enormously lazy, and I had no self-belief for about thirty years, and I still wrote. I'm a writer whether I like it or not. I've been much happier since I accepted that and just got on with it. I write what falls out of my mind and pen. I also like to make people happy and make people laugh. Writing something that makes a room of people laugh their heads off is one of the biggest buzzes in my life, and one of the things that makes me feel that my writing is worthwhile. I can't think of an excuse to plug my book again in the answer to this question, but fortunately I had all my shame surgically removed some time ago. Why not email Mother's Milk Books and ask to be alerted when you can pre-order the book? 4. How does my writing process work? I'd love to say that I have a carefully-worked-out writing schedule based on a cohesive and insightful theory, but it wouldn't be true. For one thing, when you have serious health conditions you can't do the thousand words per day thing, as sometimes you can't write at all. When I can write, I do - often in bed at night when all my tasks are done or at least put aside, and I can let the lovely velvet silence of night soothe me into creativity. I know that image is a cliché, but it's how it feels - like a cool swathe of comforting cloth. I suffer from photosensitivity, so darkness is important. I write some stuff longhand in a cheap Asda version of those Moleskine things, with a Tratto fibretip pen, which are becoming increasingly hard to find. They are wonderfully light for arthritic hands and the ink flow is really good. Sometimes I write directly onto the PC, with the fingers that work properly, when they do. The first stage of editing is the typing up of longhand versions. How many more edits a piece takes varies from one to about thirty. Then there are workshops, which I don't attend as often as I'd like or as often as I used to, but are always valuable. Then there are the opinions of friends and colleagues and their ideas and exercises, which help too. In fact the writing community has given me so much that I can never repay it - encouragement, support, help of all kinds and, perhaps most importantly, perspective. Shame has finally kicked in and I won't plug my book again (or only a bit). Buy my book, or buy someone else's and support a poetry press and a poet. They're all lovely. The especially lovely people who'll be doing the next round of this blog tour are: Keir Thomas - http://keirthomas.com/KeirThomas/Blog_tour.html Keir's most recent books are iPad and iPhone Kung Fu and Mac Kung Fu (Second Edition). He has written more than 10 other best-selling books, one of which won a Linux Journal award and one of which has been read by more than 1,000,000 people worldwide. His $0.99 Kindle ebooks, written as a "publishing experiment", consistently top Amazon's sales charts - beating titles by the world's biggest publishers. Prior to book authoring he edited several computer magazines in the United Kingdom and continues to write for many other titles. Sarah Dixon - http://thequietcomperemcr.wordpress.com/ Sarah L Dixon, mum to 3 year old Frank, hosts Post Box Poets and runs regular writing workshops in Manchester. Sarah has been published in BOMP3, Cahoodaloodaling, YorkMix, The Ugly Tree, Rain Dog and won First prize for Journalism with the acpNews in 2007 for a piece about her wedding (to Philip) in the style of a Post Mortem Report. Sarah is taking The Quiet Compere format on a tour of the North next year thanks to Arts Council funding.
Spring 2014I've got a bit behind with the website, sadly, for all sorts of reasons. The bad news is that I've been rather ill and coughing up blood. It may just have been asthma, so fingers crossed please that it eases off now that the weather is getting warmer. This bad stuff, however, is far outweighed by good stuff. For instance I've been busy writing and performing, and also having loads of acceptances - 2014 is looking good already with acceptances from James Ward Kirk, Penny Ante Feud, 50 Haikus, Haiku of the Dead, Bipolar Voices, Moon Magazine, Walking on Thin Ice, Haunted Traveler and Fantasy Scroll Mag!
I've also had a poem commended in the Rialto/RSPB competition. It's called Glen and was inspired by three things: a trip to Glen Afric when I was young, stroking the antlers of a stag at Dunham Massey, and Susan Fletcher's lyrical novel Witchlight, which I recommend. I'm very honoured to have work recognised by such a prestigious publication.
I also won the 'Winter Without Clichés' competition from Liverpool Creative Writing with my poem 'Works Xmas Do', for which I'm very grateful.
Oh, on the performing front I won the Open Mic at Write Out Loud Sale for February 2014! The standard was very high so I'm very pleased.
And my final competition success is to be Commended in both the poetry and prose categories of the Mother's Milk Creative Writing Contest. This is the excellent publisher who produced both 'Musings on Mothering', one of the best anthologies I've ever been in, and Angela Topping's beautiful collection 'Letting Go'.
From March onwards my 'Comps and Calls' listings - free to enter writing competitions and calls for submission - will be featured at compsandcalls.com, so do have a look if you're a fellow writer. They are updated on the first of every month.
Also I should be having my second leg cyborged soon with a new knee. Wish me luck.
See you soon. I have big news on the way....
Autumn 2013The big news is that I've won a Gold Award in the Creative Futures Literary Awards for disabled and marginalised writers. I'm so grateful and pleased. As a disabled person, one misses out on all those gigs on the top floors of pubs, and it's lovely to be encouraged and supported for a change. You can see the details of the anthology, which contains my poem 'I Want One', on the Publications page.
I've also had a poem - 'The Unknown Germ' - accepted for an anthology on the subject of advertising. My work will be alongside that of luminaries such as George Szirtes, John Hegley, Sheenagh Pugh and Angela Topping. I can't help feeling that now I've been published alongside Sheenagh (one of my idols), there is nothing left to wish for in life!
Twice recently I've been commended in competitions: for the Portico Prize (I get to go to the posh celebration! I'll have to scrub my frock) and the Poetry Pulse Poetry Competition. I also won the Plenitude Twiction Competition which got me a free subscription to a great mag.
Acceptances have arrived from Stonetelling, The American Poetry Journal and Sprout, too, so it's been a time of great affirmation. Aren't editors wonderful?!
See you soon,
July 2013Oof! It's hot. Very hot. But the literary world never stops, not even for a rare day of proper summer in Britain.
I've had work published in several unusual and exciting anthologies recently - you can find details on my publications page. I've also had acceptances from Constellations, Infective Ink and NorthwestPoets, so I'll have the links to those to share soon.
Despite my continuing dreadful health (cardiologist next month and still no date for second knee op), I'm doing two gigs this month - one at Lead Poets in Chorlton on 25th July at 7.30 pm, run by the marvellous Sarah L. Dixon. Then on 30th July I have a set at Stirred 'Warm World', the feminist poetry night run by Anna Percy and Rebecca Audra Smith, two leading lights of the Manchester poetry scene. That's on 30th July at 7.30 at the Three Minute Theatre. I have a 15-minute set at each event. I'm very grateful for both slots, and if you can come, it would be lovely to see you.
In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy the weather. My pale blue skin has gone off-white, and if the sun continues this odd shining thing, then I may acquire in time, if not a tan, a beige.
May 2013Well I survived Napowrimo, largely thanks to the support of the excellent Napowrimo sharing group on Facebook. I came away with 34 poems and a short story, and some of them seem quite good. My arthritis has been all but unbearable, and without the support of the group I'd never have produced so much work.
My poem 'Tokus' was shortlisted in the English PEN Made-up Words competition, and will be included in their anthology; my poem 'Ad Break' was also shortlisted for the Prole Laureate competition. I've had two pieces accepted by The Voices Project and they should be posted in June.
Meanwhile I'm on the second full edit of my novel, and trying to flog my second poetry collection and a genre short story collection. That'll be a piece of cake, obviously...
See you soon!
Spring 2013The first news is that Best of Manchester Poets 3 is out! You can see it on the Publications page in all its glory, along with a - hmm, what's the collective noun for publications? Omnibus? No, already in use - how about an overjoy of publications? Anyway, there are quite a few, some available online to see without spending your cash, others available for a small outlay.
On April 29th you might want to head to Waterstones in Deansgate at 6pm. A couple of women-themed books are being launched there, including 'She's the One', one of the anthologies you can see on the publications page. I should be reading my poem there, if all's well.
Acceptances have been a bit quiet recently, probably because I've been editing my novel and preparing a collection of short stories and one of poetry, so I haven't been submitting as furiously as usual. That said, Dark Pens, Poets Against ATOS and Donate a Poem for Freedom have all accepted work, which is great. Oh, and I'm doing Napowrimo again too, which is like trying to cook a gourmet meal while running round a race track. But fun.
See you in Summer. x
Jan/Feb 2013Well, the year is racing by, and I've already been very lucky on the publication and competition fronts. My very first submission of the year was an entry to the M.R. Jordan Writing Contest, and I won it! A lovely way to start the year. You can see my winning story there.
I've also had four acceptances from (respectively) The English Chicago Review, The Buttontapper Press, Seventh Star Press and TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, so I'll link to those when the publications are announced/received.
Having finally finished the best of Manchester Poets 3 submissions, I'll be editing my own novel soon. I'm a bit scared about it but also curious to see how the wrestling match will go, and whether I'll win.
See you soon. x
DecemberI've been incredibly busy, which is wonderful. Nanowrimo really took it out of me, but I do have the first draft of a novel. I shall be editing it to within an inch of its life in the New Year. Now I'm really enjoying writing poetry again after that mass of prose, and feeling very lucky that I write both.
I've had a few more publications, though my scanner isn't available at the moment, so images will have to wait for some of them.
I'm runner-up in the Hayden's Ferry Review Spooky Limerick Competition, which is great - there aren't enough outlets for dark/horror limericks! If you're on Facebook, do search for the Write Out Loud Community Page - there's a Write Out Loud page as well so make sure it's the Community page - as on the first of every month I post a massive list of free writing competitions and calls for submission, all with easy electronic entry. It's called Cathy's Comps and Calls and many writers have had success, even their first publications, by using my links.
Have a great festive season. Next year I plan to: edit my novel, submit it to agents, be nicer to people even when they're annoying, keep submitting my poetry and stories and entering writing competitions, get fitter, keep posting my comps and calls, have my left knee replaced, move house and stay moderately sane.
Good luck and happy everything,
OctoberOh, I've been busy! I travelled to Birmingham to peform my winning poem 'Song Necklace', accompanied by wonderful dancer Shuma Pal, at the 'Inspired by Tagore' launch at the Mac centre for the arts. It was a warm, intimate event with a bold mixture of styles and approaches, and I really enjoyed it. A video of the event should be posted on the Sampad site soon, and I'll link to it when it is.
I won one of The Malahat Review's weekly monostich contests, and my prize 'a bundle of books', will hopefully be arriving soon. Shame I didn't get the grand prize, but I'll be delighted to read some unusual Canadian books - such a rich literary heritage and I'm not familiar with enough of it.
I've also had a raft of acceptances over the last couple of months: Hecate, Third Flatiron, Hyacinth Noir, Pirene's Fountain, Flashflood, Sein und Werden, From the Depths, Static Movement and Paragram have all accepted poems or stories. Many lovely publications with my work in have arrived recently, as you can see from the Publications page.
I'm going to spend November doing Nanowrimo so don't expect to hear from me until I've recovered!
Best wishes all and enjoy Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night.
AugustHuge news this month - I've won the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest! I'm very proud as I've been following this and enjoying the winners for years. There's some great press about this here and here among other wonderful articles.
New fans should bear in mind that my book Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature is still available!
I also came second in the Watch Me Bounce 'Resilience Through Story' and you can read my poem here: http://www.watchmebounce.com/front/2nd-place-winner-in-poetry-unbeaten/
So quite a month already, and we're only a couple of weeks in...
JulyWell the main experience of the month has been having my right knee replaced - a gruesome experience and not one I recommend (yet)! However the month has been brightened by many publications and also many acceptances: Silver Boomer have accepted two stories from me, and I've also had acceptances from Storm Cellar, Whortleberry Press, Fortunates, Zharmae, The Recusant, My Father Lost Me to the Beast at Cards and an anthology I'm not allowed to mention yet! I'm also tinkering with a short comedy book, and sighing at The Weight on My Soul that is the Unsaleable Unfinished Novel. So life goes on, with a cyborg knee... Incidentally, if anyone wants my guide to How to Get Published, email me and I'll send it to you. The more we share, the more we learn.
MayIt's been an astonishing month so far. I've had acceptances from The Buddhist Poetry Review, Flash Fiction World and Third Wednesday, and been announced as a runner-up in the Thynks Healing Competition. But best of all, I'm the winner in the Sampad 'Inspired by Tagore' competition, which attracted over 1400 entries from 37 countries! I've had my name in the Calcutta Telegraph, no less, and I'm very excited about the launch of the UK version of the anthology, in October. Meanwhile my book 'Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature' is still selling well - the Kindle version is very reasonably priced, too. On my Publications page you'll also find a link to the poem that won me the runner-up in the Prole Laureate competition. Phew!
AprilI'm having a go at National Poetry Writing Month - a poem every day in April! Please visit http://jehanine.tumblr.com/ to see my efforts - and be very forgiving!
Spring 2012Good news and less good. A love story of mine, 'The Way to My Artichoke Heart', has been accepted by 5minutefiction.co.uk for an anthology! It'll be an e-book of around twenty love stories and very reasonably priced at £1.50.
Unfortunately the email I sent to the Kings Arms (see Feb 2012 below) met with a very hostile reception. I hadn't expected sackcloth and ashes, but apparently courtesy was too much to hope for. They ended up by calling me a bully and refusing right of reply, which was rich! Still, a lesson learned: never believe the hype about a celebrity. I've had an awful lot of support for leaving the gig - complete strangers who were there felt exactly the same as I did and left disgusted with what they heard.
Still, onwards and upwards. My writing is going very well, and you can see by previous posts that publishers and editors think so too! See you in the summer.
Feb 2012Outside we're getting bright sunshine and freezing ice, so it seems appropriate that my recent writing experiences have been similarly extreme. First of all the good news: I've won the Swanezine Poetry Competition 2012!
I almost didn't send my sonnet 'Child and the Future' off, but shrugged my shoulders and went for it on the 'why not?' principle. So I'm delighted to keep my prize-every-year run going.
Next the bad news - my Feb 3rd gig at the Kings Arms was a disaster, and I apologise to any of my friends and fans who attended this appalling event. My set (I was on first) went ok, though some of the audience were very rude and talked throughout, and went in and out at will. Often happens at a pub, but not at a paid poetry sit-down event like this. When I retook my seat they behaved the same way to the second performer, the excellent Antony Rowland. I really enjoyed what I could hear of his set, but behind me people were mutttering, "How much more crap do we have to sit through before Mike comes on?" The Mike in question was Mike Duff, whose 'poetry' wasn't much like that of his online persona; rather, as one viewer put it, 'he made Roy Chubby Brown look like Clare Short'. His first piece basically made fun of fat women throughout, in a very hostile and sneering manner. I was sitting there trying not to cry, being a fat woman. This carried on with poems about his unfaithful girlfriend being anally gangbanged in a pub loo, and he even managed to turn a poem about his brother's death into something hateful: the footballer John Terry cries about the wrong things, so 'isn't a man'. Of course not, Mike.
If anyone has 'working class culture' or 'free speech' floating through their mind: a) sexism and fattism span all the classes, actually, and b) there's a difference between allowing free speech, and building a platform for hatred and handing it a microphone.
My publisher Keir Thomas and my fellow Puppywolf publishee Angela Smith were there, and after Mike's set we all agreed to leave. You can read Angela's account of what happened here.
I emailed the organisers, including former Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton, to explain why we had left and to ask for my share of the door money to be donated to an anti-bullying charity, as that seemed the most positive way to go after being subjected to such a litany of hate. So far I have had no reply from them at all. I'll let you know if anything further comes of this.
Winter 2011-12Another acceptance - a political poem called 'The Reason', very simple, at Poetry 24. Very pleased to be on there, as it's a site for vital, relevant poems connected to news stories.
I've also got a gig coming up, health permitting, and a very special one too: Poems and Pints at the Kings Arms, Salford, now run by Paul Heaton. Details of the event here and as you can see I'm in some great company. I'll be doing a 20 minute slot so do make it down there if you can.
Blimey it's cold. However, it was a warm and wonderful night on 1st December at the 8th Day Cafe in Manchester, where Best of Manchester Poets 2 was launched. You can read a review of the night on Write Out Loud - a lovely review except that it fails to mention me in any way, despite the fact that I made the opening speech. Gah! (tosses head à la primadonna) It's spot on re. everything else though. The best thing about Steven Waling's review is the description of the evening as 'kind'. It really was - everyone helping to make it flow and work well. Several people said it was the best launch they've been to, which was lovely to hear.
Anyway! More acceptances, soon to be appearing on the publications page when I get my copy: Enchanting, a fantasy story (and defence of fantasy writing in general) has been accepted by The Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, one of my favourite mags. The e-zine 'Melusine' has accepted two poems to be published soon. And if you're feeling wintry, there are some superb poems up at the Poet Advent Calendar where my poem can be found on 2nd December. It was a terrific project and I'm very proud of the company I'm in - Billy Bragg, Angela Topping, Gerry Potter and Jo Bell, no less! I still think Dermot Glennon's poem is the best, though Jo's comes a close second.
I'm also limping on with my vampire/misery memoir crossover novel, which is being bled slowly from me. Or that's how it feels, anyway. I've also written a cheery genie/djinn story recently.
See you in the Spring!
Autumn 2011Lots more news!
I'll also be doing a gig at Central Library on 23rd November, 1pm in the Becker Room. Salford Women Writers are launching their pamphlet about, and in aid of, Breast Cancer Care, and I'm delighted to be doing a reading. Please come if you can - it's a worthy cause and there'll be many other readers too. And it's free!
Being chosen as one of two runners-up in the Arthritis Care Creative Writing Competition 2011 meant a lot to me. I've suffered from arthritis for twenty years, with all the attendant ups, downs and teeth-grittings. I entered mostly as a writing exercise - the word limit was very low and the theme was The Olympics, so it was very challenging. I tried to capture the strength and humour one finds when at one's lowest. Poets will notice various verse elements and internal rhymes - I nearly wrote it as a poem! This is my piece:
Acceptance SpeechI'd like to thank all those who made it possible - friends, family, carers, crutches, stick, walker, but most of all, painkilling drugs. Without them I'd never have won gold today in the 10 metre limp, so this is their victory too.
Of course I had to put the work in. Training never stops - hauling oneself upright each day, sometimes in tears; fighting the fears of failure, of uselessness, of being a burden. Those endless days stumbling, fumbling with electric can-openers, dragging myself to the bathroom, staggering, with pain always nag-nag-nagging.
I didn't take a single day off, you know. To win, one has to be pretty singleminded.
I learned not to waste energy complaining. I also learned to be pleased about the good things - being able to do those few metres, so that I can get to the bathroom myself. In fact that's what I visualised to help me win the race: a loo at the finish line. I can also hold a phone and talk to someone - at the same time! - and heat up soup in a microwave, type emails (somewhat slowly), so I might enter the Arthritis Heptathlon in four years' time, as these are all important elements.
So today at last my achievements are recognised and I get this gold injection, this medal for my excellence and persistence. And there I'd been, thinking that no one cared and that society thought I was a loser.
No. I'm an Olympian, a god - Hephaistos the limping deity, my metal medal forged twisted, like my crooked smile and wry humour, but truly strong, proud and victorious.
Summer 2011Two more publications recently, both fiction and both online, so they're freely available to read! More info on the publications page. Also I have a 15-min slot coming up at Open Mind on Friday 12th August at An Outlet, 77 Dale Street, Manchester. I'll be doing loads of new stuff so do come along - Dave Viney and Rod Tame will be part of the entertainment too. Apart from that I'm busy co-editing the second volume of Best of Manchester Poets. I think it's going to be even better than last year's edition.
Spring 2011Thanks to a chest infection, arthritis and similarly dull things, I've done very little since my book launch. That's right - book launch! I exhausted myself in October promoting my new poetry collection 'Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature', available from Amazon.co.uk, puppywolf.co.uk or any good bookshop. Gorgeous cover - worth it for that alone, I reckon. You can see it in its glory on my Publications page.
I'm also very proud to be included in 'Soul Feathers', a poetry anthology in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care. To have my poem 'Sequence' printed alongside work by Leonard Cohen, personal hero Benjamin Zephaniah, Bob Dylan, Carol Ann Duffy and various other luminaries is breathtaking, and I'm allowed to feel smug if it's in a good cause, right?! Again, available from online book stores or any good bookshop.
Due to my wretched health I've been cutting down performances, but maybe soon I shall return...
Sept/Oct News 2010I have oodles of gigs in the next two months, including my book launch! Details below:
Sept 14th: 'Poetry with a Slice of Humour' as part of Marple festival. 7.45-8.45 at the Carver Theatre, Marple. I'll be doing a set of humorous poems. This event is free!
Sept 16th: Pass on a Poem Friends Meeting House, Manchester, 6.30-8pm. Donations. I'll be reading Robert Herrick's The Hag.
Oct 1st: I'll be co-hosting Poetry Pillow with Dominic Berry, and also performing a guest set. If you can't make my launch gig, come to this one where I'll be previewing some of the poems. 8pm at An Outlet (it really is called that), Dale St, Manchester.
Oct 5th: Mouthy Poets at Earth Cafe, Manchester. I don't have details of times yet, but email me closer to the event. Myself, Steph Pike and Jackie Hagan being powerful, polemical and punchy.
Oct 14th: 'Bugged' launch, City Library, Deansgate. This is the launch of an anthology of poems and stories inspired by overhearings, and I have a poem in it. I think it's 2pm but again, email me closer to the time.
Oct 21st: LAUNCH OF 'CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE AND SCENES OF A SEXUAL NATURE' by Cathy Bryant, 6.30-7.30pm, City Library, Deansgate. Guests Chris Dommett, Simon Rennie, Angela Smith and Rod Tame! Free! Don't miss it!
Oct 30th: Performance at West Midlands Vegan Festival, approx. 12.30pm. Then there are all the open mic events... get well soon cards will be welcome in Nov... ;)
I've also had two more poems accepted for a print anthology. This is by the same people who did 'Poems for Big Kids', so it's a quality publication. It's also an interesting one - the theme is science and technology.
Love to all and hope to see you at some of the above events, Cathy xxx
August 2010As you can see in my Publications section, I've had another acceptance, this time for Bugged. As always I'm delighted, but I was especially inspired by this quirky, fun project.
Apart from that it's been hard work all the way, having photos taken for the publicity for 'Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature', my collection due out in Autumn. As you may know, the camera is rarely my friend, and I am somewhat aesthetically challenged these days. However the photo - as you can see here - is awesome! My publisher is picking over my poems for inclusion in the book even as we speak, which is nerve-racking. Of course I'm very excited to have my own collection coming out though, and I keep telling myself that it's worth the worry.
Best of Manchester Poets is selling well, I'm told, and I'm so pleased to have been one of the editors and contributors. You can buy your copy through Amazon.
I've also been asked to perform at this, as part of the Marple Poetry festival! It looks like a great night, so I hope to see some of you there.
Poetry with a slice of humour
Tuesday 14 September 19:45 - 20:45
The idea is to entertain a small audience who may have come because they may have an interest in writing, be writers, just enjoy poetry reading, or maybe just want to learn more about us, and the opportunities we have in the area.
It will be at the Carver Theatre - a quite compact little theatre seating around 200, in Marple centre. There is a convenient car park, which will be free after 6 pm
The festival website goes live this weekend with the various happenings listed.
The readings will last an hour in total - and will be generally humorous in nature, but interspersed by more serious items.
June 2010Hello all.
Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs! I've won the Marple Poetry Competition! I was shortlisted in the Formal/Free verse category, but won the Humorous Verse category outright with my poem 'The Poetry Diet - drop a stanza in just two weeks!'
Obviously I'm thrilled. This was only the second competition I'd entered, and I thought that my Hon Mention in the Many Hands Comp was probably a one-off.
I've now met Ian and Joyce Reed, who ran the competition - there were over 400 entries and they gave a lot of time and effort to the competition. Lovely people.
You can read the poem or see more details of the competition and winners here: http://www.marplewriting.org.uk/page6.html
April 2010I've been insanely busy recently, what with moving house and co-editing the Best of Manchester Poets anthology, out in June. I've submitted very little recently, though I did have one acceptance. Well sort of - I sent in a poem and a photo to go with it, and Fuselit rejected the poem but accepted the photo! I love Fuselit - it comes across as a real labour of love and is full of interesting things. The 'Tilt' issue with my photo in also comes with 'Bardgames', a great little zine of writing exercises based on board games!
I'll write again soon.
February 2010I have three poems and a very flattering photo up at the 'zine Women Writers. I'm very proud of this - I've wanted to express my feminism for a while via poetry, and this was a marvellous way to do it. Also I performed at Poetry Pillow dressed as an elf! Well I was too ill at Christmas, and I wasn't letting that costume go to waste!
The biggest news so far, though, has to be that my first collection, which is probably going to be called, Playing Devil's Avocado, will be published in the autumn by Puppywolf! I'm so excited!
Puppywolf is also publishing a Best of Manchester Poets anthology, and I'm very flattered to have been asked to be part of the editorial board. It'll make a change to evaluate submissions rather than waiting for rejections....anyway, to see more about this project or to submit to it, go to puppywolf.co.uk/.
22nd January 2010I'll be performing at the following event along with the very talented Dominic Berry, and Steve Lyons, who is the rudest poet I know! Do come if you can as it promises to be a great night.
Write Out Loud - Sale - 2010!!!trafford poetry open mic malarkey
- Type: Music/Arts - Performance
- Network: Global
- Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
- Time: 7:30pm - 10:30pm
- Location: Trafford Waterside Arts Centre
- Street: 1 Waterside Plaza
- City/Town: Sale, United Kingdom
January 2010 sees the return of Write Out Loud's poetry night at TheTrafford Waterside Arts Centre, Sale.
First time readers are especially welcome. Open mic spaces are available ona first come, first served basis. If you want a space, get there early asspaces go quickly!
GUEST POETSSteve Lyons is a regular performer on the Manchester poetry scene. His poetry is earthy, punchy, humorous and insightful.
Cathy Bryant is a poet of great warmth and humour, whose poetry often looks at the everyday from a wry perspective, but still manages to retain a sense of wonder, beauty and the magical.
Dominic Berry - Manchester's premier queer vegan wordsmith, is the co-founder/co-host of two popular poetry nights Freed Up and Poetry Pillow, and founder of writing group Animal Writes. Dominic is also the author of two books (Tomorrow I Will Go Dancing, Lyric of Dragon Claw Keep). Dominic's poetry is exciting, provocative and good-humoured.
Host for the evening is Manchester poet Steve O'Connor.
It's just £3/£2 concessions to get in.
Trafford Waterside Arts Centre - 0161 912 5616
4th January 2010Goodness me, it's a while since I've updated, isn't it? Basically I went from frantically busy - performing at the East Midlands Vegan Fair, the Animal Reads event and Poulton-le-Fylde Vegan Festival as well as my regular open mics - to frantically ill with a prolonged ear infection that has so far taken three lots of antibiotics to deal with. So my heartfelt apologies for not being in touch.
Big news in January! If you see the copy of Woman & Home magazine with the purple cover and photo of Lulu, turn to page 182 and there's a mention of me and my story 'Fragile', which was runner-up in their short story competition. Also I've got a special mention in the 'Many Hands' poetry competition.
'MH' stands for 'Many Hands' by the way - I wrote a poem for the cafe at a fundraising event so I'm delighted that it was placed. 'Prrr, Prrr' is a comic sonnet about having cats versus having children.
Video from Poulton to follow!
September 2009As promised, my poem 'Her Light Touch in Darkness' is printed in this month's edition of Velvet magazine, which is nice.
I'm having a month off performances in September; just resting and relaxing, which, given my health problems, is going to be necessary from time to time. There are a couple of great videos of me at the Many Hands fundraiser though, courtesy of the masterly cameragoddess Angela Smith:
It was a lovely gig, and the sensitive will be pleased to see that I'm properly clothed rather than pyjama-clad.
August 2009Terribly short notice I know, but tonight (Saturday August 22nd) I'm doing a 15 minute set as part of the 'Many Hands' fundraising night event. The Many Hands cafe will be a community arts space and vegan cafe in Chorlton, so it's well worth supporting. As well as me there'll be a violinist, Himalayan drumming and the poetry of copland smith and Linda Chase. The evening starts at 7.30 and the suggested donation is £3.
There will be vegan wine and canapes available! Hurrah! It's at the Scout Hut of St Clement's Church, Edge Lane, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, M21 9JF. Phone Leigh on 07910075950 for further details. Such a good cause. If you're curious about my performances but can't make one, you can see me here in very unflattering pyjamas: part 1 and part 2 (embedded below).
I didn't win the Woman & Home competition, sadly, but was a runner-up. So no riches and fame yet, but never mind. My story finishing in the top ten of over eight hundred entries is still very pleasing!
This month's Freedup (for location details etc see earlier posts) is on Thursday 20th August and the theme is Trash. I haven't decided yet whether or not to read, but it's a cracking night out either way.
On 7th I was the special guest at Poetry Pillow, a 'slam without the bam' run by Dominic Berry and Steve O'Connor. It was a 15 minute slot so I was very nervous, but there was a fantastic atmosphere and I ended up feeling really intimate with the audience. Unsurprising perhaps as I was in my pyjamas! (There's a free raffle for those who attend in pyjamas.) There should be a video of it up on YouTube soon. Look out for the bunny earrings.
July 2009My short story 'Fragile' has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards in the category 'Woman and Home Best Short Fiction'. Gulp! If I win I get an award, publication in the magazine and £1000! There are nine other stories shortlisted though, so it's a slim chance. As a runner up I get a prize too, free coffee and books I think, so that's still lovely.
Two performances planned this month, on two consecutive days!
Freedup at the Green Room, Whitworth Street West, Thursday 16th July from about 7.30pm. This is a great night - about 20 poets will read in a fantastic and friendly atmosphere.
Poetry Pillow at An Outlet, 77 Dale Street, Friday 17th July from 7.30pm. This is a competition but in a gentle, pillow-like way. There's a free raffle for those who turn up in their pyjamas! £3 or £2 Concessions. This is open mic so join me!!!!
June 2009On Thursday 18th June I'll be doing a 3 minute spot at Freedup Poets at the Green Room, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, which starts at 7.30pm. It's free to get in and the theme this month is 'Beasts'.
May 2009The poem 'Her light Touch in Darkness' will appear in either the August or the November edition of Velvet magazine.
Two Performances in May:
Monday May 25th, 7pm Matt and Phred's, Tib St, Manchester - POETS AND MASH celebrates its birthday in true poetic style with a host of beautiful guest artists and a healthy dollop of birthday surprises. Come help us celebrate! Door entry £4 / £2 if you're skint.
Performing for us will be:
Thursday 28th May, 6pm, Central Library
This is part of the 'That's Your Lot!' gig to say farewell to 'The Ugly Tree' poetry magazine. Poets will include me and Dominic Berry, and the amazing Jackie Hagan who is bringing glittered cakes! Take this chance to be part of the NorthWest's Literary History as we say goodbye to an iconic publication. I don't know what the charge is, but let's face it, it won't be loads will it? It's usually a few quid.
Best wishes and looking forward to seeing you,