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.



A Different kind of X Factor – Part 1

Hi gang,

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’re not saying you have to create tiny books out of icing, but we’re not not saying that either.

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:

  1. Jane Austen – one of the most widely read writers in the English language.
  2. George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) – leading Victorian writer and author of seven novels.
  3. Charlotte Brontë – whose novels have become classics in English literature.
  4. Sappho – the first recognized woman poet.
  5. Maya Angelou – one of the most influential and multi-talented African-American writers.
  6. Agatha Christie – still one of the world’s best-selling authors.
  7. Vera Brittain – outstanding contributor to the literature of WW1.
  8. Mary Shelley – novelist and dramatist, best known for her gothic novel ‘Frankenstein’.
  9. Margaret Atwood – Canadian poet and novelist, best known for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
  10. J K Rowling – who inspired whole generations of children and adults to read.


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.