An opportunity for short story writers…


Hi gang,

I’ve been asked to share the following, so get our your biro or flex your fingers:

From Annabel Hervey-Bathurst:

New website: Stories for lipreading

We are hoping to help deaf people to practise vital lipreading skills through watching short stories being read aloud online, on a free-of-charge website which we are setting up. I have hearing loss and attend lipreading classes, and have seen what a huge motivation it is for students to be following a gripping story – and what a massive difference lipreading skills can make to deaf people’s lives.  There’s very little online provision of lipreading practice at the moment, and almost nothing good that’s free of charge in UK English, so we’d love to do something to fill the gap.

We are contacting a few Hampshire writing groups and tutors to see if their members might like to submit unpublished short stories which we can use. As the project is entirely run by volunteers and the website will be free of charge to all users, we sadly aren’t able to offer the writers any financial incentives. However, we hope that the unusual nature of the project and the requirements which it imposes on the writing style might be sufficiently challenging to interest writers. The project is still in its initial stages, but we hope to select stories and film the lipreading videos over the summer.

I attach a document outlining the project and giving writing guidelines.  If you have any questions, or would to discuss the project, I would be absolutely delighted to hear from you.

 Please get in touch with:

Annabel Hervey-Bathurst –

Download: Short Stories for Lipreading – invitation to submit work March 2016 to get more information about what sort of stories are suitable.



Amazing evening at Loose Muse Summer special

We all had a fab time at the recent soiree hosted by Agnes. As we commiserated with each other on being the only losers not on holiday in August, some fabulous performers and new blood to Loose Muse made the evening a delight.

Afterwards we slurped down red wine and a promise was made by one Lauren Westwood (oh yes, we haven’t forgotten!) to bring, construct and eat a Jaffa cake and pickled onion kebab at our next official Loose Muse event (Wednesday 9 September, if you’re interested). Yes, she is a woman of the epicurean tendencies as you can tell, and, as such, a natural Loose Muser.

Take a look at these marvellous videos of the poems ’22’, ‘Fairy Tales’ and ‘The Transition’ by Natalie Moores, and ‘Romeo and Juliet on Ket’ by Charlotte Robinson.

The girls belong to another poetry group called Part-time poets and we were delighted to have them in for our lovely event.

Check them out here.

Liz Berry and Tania Hershman wow audience in Winchester

We had an amazing, record breaking evening at Winchester Discovery Centre on Monday 13th July at ‘Loose Muse Winchester’.  Fabulous Forward Poetry Prize winner 2014 Liz Berry read from her Collection ‘Black Country’ wowing the audience with her subtle almost ethereal  performance and beautiful poetry.

Liz Berry

Tania Hershman, our other guest feature, truly entertained with her award winning short stories and amazing poetry leading to a triumphant end of season evening.

Tania Hershman

On Monday August 10th there will be a special evening of Open Mic instead of the usual booked features, so I am looking forward to hearing much more from our very talented local writers.

Family Matters Tour: Startling personal stories touch audiences in Winchester

The Family Matters tour has been travelling around the country, bringing these highly personal stories from four of London’s best-loved poet/writers (Agnes Meadows, Patricia Foster, Janett Plummer and Linda Shanovitch) to life.

Feedback has been great, with people telling us:

“Sharing stories about family, just born and long travelled on, #loosemuse #familymatters. We could have been round a stone age campfire…”

“At last night’s ‘Family Matters Show’ at Loose Muse Winchester we laughed, we cried, we learned together…I went away feeling uplifted.” 
“A truly inspiring and moving show.”

Here are some pics from the Winchester performance:

Reading from  ‘A Caribbean Pied Piper’

Patricia Foster performs
‘A Caribbean Pied Piper’

Janett Plummer performs ‘The Unhappy Mother’

Janett Plummer performs ‘The Unhappy Mother’

Agnes Meadows performs ‘Love on the Eastern Front’

Agnes Meadows performs ‘Love on the Eastern Front’

Agnes Meadows

Agnes Meadows

These astonishing stories are drawn from the writers’ own families, illuminating the ways in which we are all connected. Join them for a revelatory ride, as the cast spill family secrets, and they examine the ties that both connect and bind us.

There’s still a chance to catch them here:

Thursday 21 May – Burgh House & Hampstead Museum, New End Square, Hampstead NW3 1LT, 7.30pm – 9.30pm. £8. To book, call 020 7431 0144 or buy online @

Wednesday 27 May – The Library @ Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ. 7pm – 9pm. Free! To book a place call the Albany Box office on 020 8692 4446

Wednesday 10 June – Family Matter performance at Loose Muse @ The Poetry Café, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX. 8.00 pm, £6.00/£5.00.

The best online articles celebrating International Woman’s Day

Nellie Bly

We here at Loose Muse celebrate woman’s rights every day of the year, 24/7. But we like it even more when everyone else joins in. How did you bang your drum for the inspirational women in your life today?

Here’s a run down of the best online articles about International Woman’s Day.

International Women’s Day: the 10 best feminists

The Guardian’s Helen Lewis looks at their pick for the ten ‘best’ feminists to think about when considering how far women’s rights have come. Despite the fact that we find the use of the word ‘best’ problematical, it’s a fun look at some of the women who have pushed women’s rights forward, even those who ‘are inconvenient, exasperating – or sometimes just wrong.’

Hundreds march for equality on International Women’s Day

(Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Ooooh. ‘Slebs who turned out to show solidarity on IWD. See Annie Lennox, Paloma Faith, Made in Dagenham actress Gemma Arterton and BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney donning their Suffragette sashes.

10 Facts for International Women’s Day

The state of women’s rights around the world – at a glance. Did you know that women perform 66% of the world’s work and produce 50% of the food? And that they earn just 10% of incomes and own 1% of the property globally? Food for thought.

National Geographic’s Portraits of Strength: Seven Extraordinary Women

These gorgeous images are of women who inspired seven of National Geographic‘s finest photographers.

Till next time, here’s to celebrating and supporting the women in your life who are brave, inspirational, powerful and awe-inspiring.

Lots of love,

Sara-Mae, Agnes and Chikodi.

Loose Muse Winchester takes off

A Different kind of X Factor – Part II

If I’m going to be an iconic one day, this is going to have to be good…

If you read my last blog, you’ll know that as part of Loose Muse’s 10th Birthday celebrations we unveiled a banner that included the names of our Top Ten Iconics – ten women writers as chosen by members of the Loose Muse Editorial Group and myself for their quality, uniqueness and the contribution they’d made to world literature.

It was really tough to restrict ourselves to only ten women writers embracing these criteria. We spent a lot of time going over lists of women writers who deserved to be included. Everyone on our top ten list deserves to there in spades. Hopefully the creation of the list will inspire debate among Loose Musers and help you to put together your own lists as well as reading or re-reading the work of those names we included (although personally if I never read Jane Austin again as long as I live, it’ll be too long…sorry, I’ve never been a fan, and she’s on the list because she was chosen by other members of the Ed. Group).

Anyway, because it was so hard to restrict ourselves to just ten names, we also came up with another ten…numbers 11 to 20. And these are:


  1. Louisa May Alcott – feminist writer best known for her ‘Little Women’ books.
  2. Virginia Woolf – a member of the Bloomsbury Set and foremost modernist of the 20th century.
  3. Mary Wollstonecraft – writer, and author of ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’.
  4. Anne Frank – diarist and writer, who challenged prejudice and hatred.
  5. Beatrix Potter – author/illustrator/conservationist best known for her children’s books.
  6. Anna Comnena – the world’s first female historian, author of ‘The Alexiad’, which is still in print today.
  7. Grace Nicholls – Guyanese poet, central to our understanding of Caribbean/British literature.
  8. Irish Murdoch – Irish author/philosopher, best known for her novels about good and evil.
  9. Harriet Beecher Stowe – abolitionist who reached millions with her novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’.
  10. Christina Rossetti – writer of romantic, devotional and children’s poems.


There were so many others who could have/should have been on the list.   And I’m sure there’ll be all sorts of irate comments of the ‘Why didn’t you include X? She’s much better than Y’, or ‘How could you leave out XX?’ But whoever’s on the list deserves to be there just as much as another 10 or 20 or 30 other names who haven’t been included only because we could make the list endless.

We are hoping to have a proper debate as part of Loose Muse’s 10th Birthday celebrations, which will be a good opportunity to come along, listen, debate, vent your spleen or cry in frustration. So watch this space for details of when and where for the Grand Iconics Debate.

In the meantime the October Loose Muse is on 8th October and features award winning poet Malika Booker and Jordanian novelist and poet Fathieh Saudi.

So come share the passion, share the joy.



The Most Glorious CakeFest Ever!

Agnes with the winning cake made by Rachel joseph

Hi gang,

Yeehaa! LM celebrated it’s 10th birthday on 10th September, and at last am able to write to you about it.

It was a mega cake-fest, enough cake to make your heart and veins whimper in despair. Ironically, Sara-Mae Tuson, my incredibly hard-working fellow editorial group member, had texted me that afternoon to say she was worried there wouldn’t be enough cake. She’d spent the day baking cupcakes (which were absolutely delicious by the way…I had two and could easily have scoffed half a tin full without a qualm!). I had wanted to bake something, but spent the afternoon in total despair because there was no electricity in my block between noon and about 4.00 p.m. (don’t ask!!). So couldn’t log on or print anything out, or do any of the things I wanted to do ….aaargh! I had to go to M&S and buy two cakes instead.

As all of you who were there know, there was enough cake to feed an army of poets for a month. Even though we ate vast quantities, gave away as much again to everyone who would take it, I still had to take a stupendous amount home and was therefore eating cake for a week. My teeth and gut still haven’t stopped protesting, and I haven’t been able to look at anything remotely cake-like since then – though this will pass, I’m sure.

The night was a stupendous success. Sara-Mae and Chikodi Nwaiwu had both come earlier that evening and worked like Trojans to set everything up and make the room look a bit special. I love them both, and it would be absolutely true to say the night wouldn’t have been what it was if it hadn’t been for their hard work. We also unfurled the fabulous Loose Muse banner, which had been designed and made by artist Catherine Tuson. It looks amazing, so a massive thank you to Catherine, even if she wasn’t able to be there on the night to see the unveiling.

Sally Spedding had come all the way from Wales to be the other feature – she was totally fab. She’s a novelist whose work concentrate on the dark and dangerous, definitely right up my street, and a truly lovely, lovely person. She’s keen to help me set up LM Wales in the New Year, and has been talking to venues. A lot of women writers seem very keen indeed to get something going there, so watch this space. And as always there was an incredibly strong open mic with 16 readers sharing their poems and short stories with an enthusiastic audience. They had come from Cornwall, Winchester, the south coast, NYC, and Spain – lots of old friends as well as some new faces, all joined by the desire to see women’s writing get the credit and credibility it deserves.

I got flowers and pressies and had the satisfaction of a lot of people telling me how much they valued LM and everything it stood for/represented, which was extremely gratifying. It’s always nice to know that what you do has value beyond anything you imagined.

And so we go from strength to strength. The next LM event in London is on October 8th and features novelist/poet Fathieh Saudi and award-winning poet Malika Booker – there won’t be any cake, but it promises to be another exceptional night. So why not join us then at the Poetry Café…

Come along and share the magic.



Loose Muse 10th anniversary – here’s to another decade! – part I

Sara-Mae Tuson, Loose Muse board member, holds up the new banner made by artist Catherine Tuson.

Sara-Mae Tuson, Loose Muse board member, holds up the new banner made by artist Catherine Tuson.



The audience prepares to be wowed.

Agnes Meadows with the winning cake by Rachel Joseph.


Agnes Meadows with the gorgeous new commemorative banner made by artist Catherine Tuson.



Cake galore

The Spectre of Abandonment

Loose Muse Anthology Autumn 2013

Hi gang,

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 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…