I am soooooo excited!! This week is going to be a truly amazing one, because I’m one of the artists involved in Lorraine Clarke’s ‘The Spectre of Abandonment’ exhibition, which opens on Tuesday 9th and runs until Sunday 14th September at Candid Arts.
All of you who’ve bought one of the Loose Muse anthologies will have seen Lorraine’s truly awesome work because she’s allowed Loose Muse to use her art work for the covers of all five anthologies. And if you’ve ever been to her studio in Tottenham, you’ll know what an extraordinary artist she is.
Anyway, a few months back she and I were talking, along with fellow writers Sue Johns and Sarah Reilly, and all agreed how much we’d like to do a collaborative project together thus ‘The Spectre of Abandonment’ exhibition was born. Sue, Sarah and I have written new poetry/prose inspired by some of Lorraine’s existing work, and Lorraine has produced new art work inspired by the poetry of us three writers. She’s also included new sculpture with her own poetry…must be hell to be so talented!!!
As Lorraine says in the exhibition’s publicity, “Spectre of Abandonment” is ‘an exhibition of installation and sculpture exploring how the art forms of fine art and poetry can interact’, and it’s alrady attracted a lot of interest which is marvelous.
We’ll be doing readings of the poetry we’ve written each day of the run, with all three of us writing at the Private View on Tuesday 9th September – open 6-9.00 p.m., readings 7-9.00 p.m. One or more of us will be reading each day between 7-9.00p.m. (I won’t be there on 10th as I’ll be hosting the Loose Muse 10th Birthday event at the Poetry Café on that day).
All of us will be reading on Saturday13th, and finally again on Sunday 14th with readings from 2-4.00 p.m. So there are lots of opportunities to come and see us all strut our stuff, and the best thing is it’s FREE so you’ve no excuse not to be there. Candid Arts is at 3-5 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, which is literally right next to Angel Tube, so it’s easy to get to. If all of this is confusing you, just look at www.clarke-art.co.uk for a full list of opening and reading times.
I’m really excited about working with such a talented bunch of women, and having had a bit of a preview of some of the pieces Sue, Sarah and Lorraine have produced as a result of our collaboration, I know the creative breadth of the work is incredible. Hopefully you’ll agree when you come along and see the end results.
See you there I hope…
I know I’ve not blogged for ages, but have been so embroiled in trying to get my novel finished almost everything else has taken a back seat for the past few months. No wonder novelists tend to oddness – they live in their heads and forget to have a real life! But enough of that!!
This September 10th we’re celebrating Loose Muse’s 10th Birthday with an event that includes birthday cake galore…please all of you who are coming, bring a literary-inspired cake to share…it’ll be London’s biggest sugar rush and we’ll all probably be wire to the moon for a fortnight. But cake AND good writing – what’s not to like? We are keen to have cakes decorated in a literary fashion, so if you ice letters onto them or full colour portraits of your favourite icon, its up to you…
We’ll also be unveiling the beautiful new Loose Muse Banner, especially designed and made by fantastic visual artist Catherine Tuson, who has gifted us her talent as a gesture of solidarity and also because she’s a pretty amazing human being. Now we’ll have something stunning to hang up at Loose Muse events in London and anywhere else I’m able to get to whenever there’s a LM event.
As well as the Loose Muse name and dates, the banner will also display the name of ten iconic women writers, chosen by me and the other members of the Loose Muse Editorial Group. After a lot of thought, between us we chose our Top Ten Women Writers – those women who we all agreed had made extraordinary contributions to world literature through the quality and uniqueness of their writing, often under difficult circumstances. Although the days are long gone when women had to hide behind a male pseudonym so they didn’t bring shame and disrepute on their families, women writers still often don’t get the credit or the recognition they deserve (which is one of the reasons I set up Loose Muse in the first place).
So, who have we included on this list. Well, it was incredibly hard to choose just ten women writers from all those writers who through the centuries have made a genuine and far-reaching contribution to the world’s literature. Our list may or may not be controversial – certainly we hope it will engender discussion as well as inspiring people to put their own lists together and possibly read authors whose work they don’t know.
Our Top Ten Iconics (in no particular order) are:
We found it so hard to restrict the list to just ten, we’ve also got another ten – numbers 11-20, also all fulfilling the criteria of quality, uniqueness and contribution to world literature…but I’ll write about them in my next blog.
In the meantime come along to the Loose Muse 10th Birthday celebration event on 10th September, at the Poetry Society as usual. Features will be me (doing a full set for a change!). Plus the amazing novelist Sally Spedding, who’s coming all the way from Wales to be with us that night.
So come share the passion, share the joy.
Here at Loose Muse HQ we are loving the weather (albeit in the sense that it is really being brought home to us that we are 65% water, or is that 65% sweat?). In the midst of writing projects and overseeing two sparkly new free events coming up soon (see the events page), we are also planning a lovely special event to celebrate Loose Muse’s 10th anniversary.
It is going to take place of September 10 and it will involve literary cupcakes(!). If there are any bakers out there who wouldn’t mind bringing a tray of cupcakes with letters on them, that would be very much appreciated…
We would also like to make a quilt which is to have 10 squares on it, each with a short quote from a literary icon.
So, we need your votes. Here are some suggested candidates, in no particular order:
Lots of love,
Agnes, Sara-Mae & Chikodi
Just a quick reminder about our deadline for the next anthology. We’ve already published a number of these gorgeous collections, and if you want to get your work published you’re in with a great chance. As you know, you have to have attended at least one LM event to be eligible, but with our *new* Manchester and Cornwall based events opening up the pool of writers, we’re expecting some fab new work to start pouring in. So why not get in there early?
Deadline for Submissions for the next Anthology – 7th March.
If you have attended any Loose Muse event at any time during the past couple of months, you can submit poetry, short stories, flash fiction, a short play, or even an excerpt of your unpublished novel. Email me (email@example.com) your submission or give a hard copy to me, Steph in Manchester or Angela or Fiona in Penzance. Launches for this new Anthology will be held in all three places late April. It’s going to be the best yet!
Fancy using your writing skills to raise money for charity?
Jean-Marc Pierson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is organising a public speaking/spoken word contest to raise funds for UNICEF – with special thoughts for the children of Syria.
Find five friends who would be prepared to give £5.00 each – then register to take part in the:
ONE MINUTE SPEECH CHALLENGE @ 2.00 p.m.
Saturday 22nd February @ Resource for London,
365 Holloway Road, Islington N7 6PA
For more information and how to register:
So that’s the latest update. Here’s hoping this awful weather will let up and spring to start boinging about like Tigger.
Now that Christmas is well and truly over and 2014 has got off to a wet and windy start, I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’d like to accomplish in the New Year. M OK, OK yes, top of the list is regaining my girlish figure…again!! But much more important, and more likely to be achieved, is the following 5-point plan:
And talking of Loose Muse, the event on February 12th is already looming on the horizon. February features will be novelist Sally Spedding coming from Wales, and the multi-talented Hilaire. So join us on February 12th at the Poetry Café.
Come along and share the magic.
With the year galloping headlong towards the 2013 finishing line, and Christmas a stone’s throw away, it’s the time I often get nostalgic about Christmas Past. Now I know the whole spirit of the season is more about giving than receiving, but I couldn’t help reflecting on some of the truly atrocious pressies I’ve received in the past, making me dive head-first into the chocolate truffles and Christmas pudding with brandy butter and full-fat cream to compensate.
One of the worst had to be the year I got a box full of brown and turquoise striped stretch terri-towelling knickers 2 sizes to small….these from a man who professed to love me. Needless to say the relationship didn’t last (tho’ that was more to do with the fact he hit me a few times before I hit him back and left!). Another doozy was the gift from an ex-friend who refused to buy me book tokens because ‘they were too boring’, but instead got me a heart-shaped broderie anglais scatter cushion. Noooo!
My mother (God rest her soul) was supremely unimaginative in the present-buying stakes. She often got me something she really wanted herself, which was about a million miles away from anything I might actually like. One year it was an electric frying pan, another year a yoghurt maker, neither hitting my internal Yule Tide button. Well, I’m so not a domestic goddess, that a kitchen appliance would never occur to me as a present to die for. Although it fairness, I still have the electric frying pan and still sometimes use it, and think of my Mum every time I do.
She was terrible at Christmas time, always wanting to know what my brother and I had bought her, and going on and on about it for weeks. And of course we’d tease her mercilessly, which drove her ker-razee. It got so bad one year I got home to find her attacking the suitcase in my bedroom with a carving knife to find the presents inside. After that, we left Mum’s gifts with the next door neighbour to make sure she didn’t do either herself or the furniture lasting damage. Bless her.
Anyway, with only a couple more weeks ‘til the 25th, there’s still the December Loose Muse to look forward to and add a touch of inspiration to the Christmas Season. It’s on the 11th, featuring Rebecca Audra Smith and Clair Dunn. As usual it should be a good one, so hope you can make it to listen, share some of your own work in the open mic, and indulge yourself in the festive chocolate I’ve promised.
Come along and share the magic….and I hope you all have the Christmas you wish for, filled with grace and fabulous friendships.
This month instead of blogging about life and the meaning of the universe, I thought I’d highlight a few writing competitions, and give people a chance to enter if they wanted to. I get information on all sorts of different comps and don’t always have the chance to pass the information on, or even to enter myself, so the least I can do is make a list of some of them here.
Words and Women – A new prize for writing women in the East of England
1st Prize – £600 – winner and runners up feature in Words & Women’s flagship anthology.
Deadline: 30th November
Judges are looking for distinctive work, crafted, strong, creative and adventurous. Open to all women living in the east of England, over the age of 16 – short fiction, memoir, life writing and creative non-fiction, up to 3,000 words. For more information go to www.wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk
South Bank Poetry – 2nd SBP Poetry competition
1st Prize – £200, 2nd £125, 3rd £50. 4th Prize a 2-year subscription to SBP mag, 5th 1-year subscription + all published in the SBP Edition 18 in 2014. Judge – Clare Pollard
Deadline: 30th November
Entry fee £3 per poem. No entry form required, send 2 copies of each poem, one anonymous, one with name & e/contact details to: Peter Ebsworth, South Bank Poetry, 74 Sylvan Rd, London SE19 2RZ. Cheques/postal orders payable to Peter Ebsworth.
1st Prize – £1,000, runner up £100, 4 Highly Commended £25 + the chance to have your collection of short stories published by InkTears.
Deadline: 30th November
Submissions must be 1,000-3,000 words in English, on any theme. Entrants must be 18 years or over. Each submission must be accompanied by £6.00 entry fee, payable via Paypal.
Full entry Rules on – www.inktears.com/Inktears/WritersNewWritersContest.html
1st Prize – £1,000, 2nd £500, 3rd £250. Judge – Sir Andrew Motion
Deadline: 31st November
Submissions no more than 40 lines, typed single-space in standard 10-12pt font, one-sided on A4 with no identifying marks. Entry fee of £5 per poem, cheques in stirling payable to The Plough Arts Centre.
An entry form must accompany each entry downloadable from www.theploughprize.co.uk
1st Prize – £250, 2nd £100, 3rd £50 + all winners published in Writers’ Forum.
Deadline: 11 March 2014
Words for the Wounded is a charity for the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen & women.
Write no more than 400 words of fiction, or a real-life tale, or poem, on the theme of The Journey, a physical or emotional journey. For more info look at: www.wordsforthewounded.co.uk
I know there are lots of writing competitions happening all the time – maybe it’s about time Loose Muse started its own in 2014 – but these are some to get you all writing, and maybe it’ll be a Loose Muse supporter who actually wins. Hooray.
Next Loose Muse is on December 11th, with Manchester poet Rebecca Smith and romantic crime novelist Claire Dunn, so it promises to be another good one you’ll be sorry to miss.
So come along and share the passion, share the joy,
Love – Agnes
The lights were low, the atmosphere was spooky, and the stories and poems were straight out of the Hammer Studios. No, not a scene from ‘Britain’s Most Haunted…’, but the Loose Muse Pre-Hallowe’en Special Gothic Open Mic Night. Well, being a closet Goth, what else was I going to do for an extra Loose Muse event at the end of October but add a dash of Dracula and the chance to hear some truly horrible writing in the run-up to Hallowe’en.
And we had a good night with lots of variations on the dreadful, the doom-laden and the down-right scary. For my money Niki Aguirre’s nightmare short story about a woman who dreams of being followed by a faceless Man In Black was one of the high spots, although it did mean I slept with the light on when I went to bed. That’s the trouble with having such a vivid imagination (and having trained as a psychic…yes, really!), it means every creaking floorboard, cold draft and odd noise in the night freaks me right out.
Having said all that, October is still my favourite month, and Hallowe’en one of the celebrations I enjoy most. Just to set the record straight for those who’ve been led to believe it’s a night of unparalleled evil and devil worship, Hallowe’en has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and a preparation for the darkness of winter. It is an ancient festival when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead are at their thinnest, and the passage between the two worlds is easiest. It was also a way for people to celebrate their ancestors and to get in touch with those who had passed over. So yes, it was sometimes on the scary side (imagine sitting on a hillside in the October darkness centuries ago, with midnight approaching, waiting for that doorway to open and reveal….well, you get the picture!!).
But it had nothing to do with vampires, evil hauntings or devils waiting to snatch your soul away. That came much later with the church’s hunger for control and power, plus the commercialization that have turned it into what it is today.
When I lived in Canada (about a million years ago), my pals and I had a great variation on the ‘trick or treat’ game where children would knock on your door and ask for sweeties. Instead, we went ‘trick or drinking’, so every door we knocked on in down-town Vancouver was offered the chance to give us a drink or be ‘tricked’ in some way. Of course, we didn’t really trick anyone, and by the end of the night we were absolutely plastered. But we had a great time, and everyone we had a drink with thought it was as much fun as we did. It’s a different world now of course; if a bunch of strangers turned up at my door one night demanding alcohol, I’d probably call the police! Aaaah…the innocence of youth.
Anyway, only a few more days to the November Loose Muse, which will be held on the 13th, and feature poet Jacqueline Gabbitas and writer Leah Thorn. It’s going to be another good one – when are they not – so I hope you can come along and share some of your work with us, be it ghostly, ghoulish or just plain great.
So come along and share the passion, share the joy.
As any of you who have ever tried writing a historical novel will know, you have to do a truck load of research to make sure you get all the dates, facts and figures right so your story is as accurate and colourful as possible. This is both a pleasure and a problem. A pleasure because you learn an awful lot more about the era your story’s set in and the characters living at the time. A problem because:
a) it’s never ending, and
b) you also unearth some truly weird, wacky and wonderful stuff – thus the subject of this blog, specifically stuff relating to health and medicine.
My novel’s set in the 12th Century (it opens in 1177) – a time of supreme brutality, violence and weirdness. If I had a £5 note for each time something I had read in the course of my research had made me exclaim out loud ‘Get out of here. No way!’ (or mother colourful words to that effect), I could go on a long holiday somewhere warm and sun-kissed.
I’ve already blogged about weasel testicles being used as a method of contraception, but check these facts out:
I could go on, but that’s probably enough to put you offer your dinner so I’ll stop.
My aim was to get this novel finished by Christmas and so far I’ve finished just over 100,000 words, and it looks as if I might actually achieve my goal. Hooray!!! I’ve become such a recluse while writing this novel, I’m surprised people still recognise me on the rare occasion I turn up at gigs. And I’ve hardly written any poetry in the past year…too busy living in the 12th Century with my head in a totally different place. There are other things I want to write, including my fantasy novel ‘The Conference of Dragons’ which has been smoking away on the bookshelf of my imagination for a long time now…so, as usual, watch this space.
In the meantime, don’t forget we’re having a Special Pre Hallowe’en Gothic Loose Muse Open Mic at the L’Osteria Restaurant in Greys Inn Road, London on Tuesday 29th October – 7.30 p.m. £5 donations would be very much appreciated to keep things moving until I can get some more funding. And the next Loose Muse is on November 13th and features Leah Thorn and Jaqueline Gabbitas.
So come along and share the passion, share the joy.