Faversham Lit at The Hub – special lunchtime event for Word of Mouth #Whitstable 22 Feb 2020

Faversham is rightly proud of its excellent Literary Festival, happening for only the third time next month. As well as the many top writers on offer, the festival is hosting a whole day of POETRY AT THE HUB on Saturday 22 February, 2020. Tickets are £10 for the whole day – just £10! – or £3 for single events. Headliner is marvellous Luke Wright – tickets for his event are £8. Where’s The Hub? It’s at The Limes pub, 59 Preston Street, Faversham, Kent ME13 8PG. 

Between 12 noon and 1.00pm that day, please join me there with an outstanding and unusual combination of poets. They’ve all read at Word of Mouth/ Words on Waves so it’s A CELEBRATION OF WORD OF MOUTH #WHITSTABLE – you can book your tickets here.

Sue Rose‘s poetry is published by Cinnamon Press and Hercules Editions. Her latest, Tonewood (Eaglesfield Editions, 2019) luxuriously combines her beautiful poems about trees with Lawrence Impey’s black and white photographs. In 2009 Sue won the Troubadour Poetry Prize and was Canterbury Poet of the Year in 2008. She is a founder member of Scatterlings, a group of poets formed to give readings in Kent and beyond. She lives in Herne Bay and recently got herself a beach hut to write in.

Charlotte Ansell‘s collection Deluge was a Poetry Book Society recommendation last winter. She lives moored on the Medway and her floating but anchored life is reflected in her words. The Society says: Deluge by Charlotte Ansell, as with her previous work, displays an unerring emotional honesty. Confronting displacement, ageing, therapy, family, as well as social shifts like gentrification, Charlotte draws perspective from the community she lives in and distils it into the stunning exhortations and vignettes that make up this collection. Having moved from boat moorings in London to boat moorings in Sheffield, Deluge nods to the change with poems such as Queen of the North, which opens with “Oh my God Sheffield why/ do you always leave your coat at home?” and Dear Canal, a private note to the waters “still harbouring/ knives, forks and spoons.” 

 Gillie Robic is a Live Canon poet with two beautiful collections and appearance in several anthologies to her name. She has been a professional puppeteer for many years and designs, writes and directs for her company Suspended Animation in London. So, not only does she play marvellously with words, her storytelling is intoxicating too. 

Setareh Ebrahimi’s collection ‘In My Arms’ is published by Bad Betty Press. The Poetry Book Society says this: Spy on stolen moments between the intrepid and humanely flawed figures who populate Setareh Ebrahimi’s world. In My Arms is an assured and seductive debut, dancing to its own musicality. Setareh lives in Kent and is currently exploring the poetic possibilities of new motherhood. 

Mary Anne Smith is well known in the north Kent poetry world. She has been published in many magazines and anthologies, and has won prizes internationally, listed here on her website. She is well known for her beautifully told biographical poems about literary figures like Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf. IMG_2314


Word of Mouth #Whitstable on Thursday 6 Feb, 6.30pm

On Thursday 6 February, 2020, 6.30pm, WORD OF MOUTH #WHITSTABLE at the Umbrella Café will be a GREAT BIG OPEN MIC OF LOVE in honour of St Valentine’s Day. Everybody is welcome to read for up to FIVE MINUTES and your time in the limelight can have an Un-Valentine’s flavour if you like. There are so many kinds of love. There’s the family kind…IMG_E0885love of our hobbies and pastimes…IMG_6425 (1) love of favourite places…img_3394and of course the romantic kind.82102471_10159016207752835_4921278780225355776_nWe can explore and honour them all in prose, poetry, non-fiction, drama, memoir and music. You’ll have up to 5 minutes each or two poems, whichever is shorter.

As ever, this is a FREE EVENT and the lovely, licensed Umbrella Café will be open. I look forward to seeing you there – we start at 6.30pm. 


Writing workshops at the Faversham Literary Festival

Faversham Literary Festival is incredibly suave and successful for something that’s only in its third year and I am thrilled to have been invited to facilitate two of the FAVERSHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL WORKSHOPS, both on SATURDAY 15 February, 2020 in Faversham’s famous Guildhall.

The festival will provide paper, pens and biscuits but feel free to bring your favourite writing materials if you like. As always, I’m looking forward to writing alongside you (it’s one of my favourite things) and having a happy chat about writing that I hope will help.

To help you find your way through the festival website, here are details of my workshops with booking links:

Get Writing – Keep Writing

Are you longing to write and have no idea where to start? Have you begun, stumbled and would love to find your way again? Published novelist and poet Rosie Johnston runs writing groups in Canterbury and Cambridge and will write along with you while she shares tricks to help you get going, keep going and enjoy your writing.

10–11.30am £15. Book tickets here

The Essence of Storytelling

What magic tricks keep us reading to the very end of a story? Published novelist and poet Rosie Johnston runs writing groups in Canterbury and Cambridge and will write along with you while she shares tips on making your novel, short story or memoir compelling from the first to the very last page.

12.30–2pm £15. Book tickets here

The original of this cartoon hangs in the room where I’m typing now…Golding cartoon

Thank you, Loose Muse Winchester

I’m just back from an excellent time at Loose Muse Winchester. What a welcome they gave me. Sue Wrinch organises these monthly Winchester evenings (a sister ship to  Loose Muse London) where she invites two writers each time and, with an excellent open mic, everyone celebrates women’s writing. It was such a pleasure to be there.
Sue Wrinch hosts beautifully and included three poems from her own new publication, Stained Lips (Morgan’s Eye Press). Sue is so good at expressing heartbreak with economy and beauty.
My fellow feature was Isabel Rogers who has moved from poetry into fiction and read from her second novel Bold as Brass, a laugh-out-loud account of school teaching in the UK with important observations about how music is taught.
Special thanks to Angela who made it to the evening in spite of illness and managed to read her beautiful poem Darling. She took the time to introduce herself and tell me that she is a great fan of my first three poetry books and was looking forward to having the latest. We shared some time talking about how the darkness of abuse never quite leaves us, but that recovery enriches us in ways we could never have imagined.
The crypt of Winchester Cathedral floods often and here is Sound II, one of Antony Gormley’s statues of himself. The statue’s cupped hands hold water reflecting its face and the whole scene interlocks archways, light and ripples in exquisite stillness.

Writing groups in #Cambridge & #Canterbury

Here are dates for my writing groups in Canterbury and Cambridge between now and the spring break. Both groups are thriving and both are free – just bring your favourite writing materials. For the Churchill one, you should please have some connection with the college though that can be through family or work, that’s fine. For our Canterbury group, Rose Lane Writers, just come along. You’ll be very welcome.

Coffee or tea in a friendly café, a pen and plenty of paper or a screen, and lovely writing friends – can’t think of a better way to spend these chilly winter months.


Treats to come

When I moved to this coast in Kent, I fell in with a warm, vibrant writing community and can’t wait to let you know what is coming up for me in the next couple of months.

On Monday 13 January, 2020, I am looking forward to returning to read alongside Isabel Rogers at WINCHESTER LOOSE MUSE: 8pm. This event celebrates the best of women’s writing and I’m deeply honoured to be invited. I’ll pay my respects to Jane Austen in Winchester Cathedral again when I’m there. 

Poster for LM Winch Jan 2020

On Saturday 25 January 2020, I’m off to Deal, Kent for a poetry reading at 6.30pm in the Deal Bookshop along with Christopher Hopkins, Maggie Harris, Derek Sellen and Mary Anne Smith with Angela Dye as our host. With luck, Angie will read some of her marvellous poems too. This is part of a chain of launch events for Christopher’s latest book The Shape of a Tulip Bird and we’re all delighted to be involved. Please join us. 


On Thursday 6 February, 2020, 6.30pm, Word of Mouth #Whitstable will be a GREAT BIG OPEN MIC OF LOVE in honour of St Valentine’s Day.

Everybody is welcome to read for up to FIVE MINUTES and your time in the limelight can have an Un-Valentine’s flavour if you like. There are many kinds of love & we can explore and honour them all in prose, poetry, non-fiction, drama, memoir and music. As ever, this is a FREE EVENT and the lovely, licensed Umbrella Café will be open.

Here is a visual prompt if you’d like one…


I have been invited to facilitate TWO WORKSHOPS AT THE FAVERSHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL on Saturday 15 February, 2020:



On Saturday 22 February, 2020, FAVERSHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL is hosting a whole day of poetry at The Hub: 

Please come to all and any of these events if you can. I wish you a happy writing time, wherever you are. IMG_2326

Word of Mouth #Whitstable this coming Thursday – #Faversham Special

This coming Thursday – 9 January 2020 from 6.30pm – will be a magnificent FAVERSHAM SPECIAL at Word of Mouth at the Umbrella Café in #Whitstable‘s Oxford Street (the best Oxford Street). Faversham’s powerhouse of literary connectivity Angela Dye is going to bring with her:

Katy Evans-Bush! Katy’s two collections are published by Salt, the most recent Broken Cities won the Poetry Business competition in 2017. Her essay collection Forgive the Language is published by Penned in the Margins. Her ten-years blog at Baroque in Hackney was shortlisted for the George Orwell Prize for political writing and she now lives in Faversham and works as a creative writing tutor and freelance editor. KEB typewriterChristopher Hopkins‘ latest poetry collection The Shape of a Tulip Bird deals with his experience of miscarriage and follows his two chapbooks, The Last Time We Saw Strangers and Take Your Journeys Home. All are published by Clare Songbirds Publishing House, NY. He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and twice in the American Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. Originally from Neath in South Wales, he now lives with his wife and daughter in Faversham.

Rosemary McLeish is one of the north Kent coast’s best loved poets. Her marvellous collection I Am A Field was published last year by Wordsmithery. Rosie is a highly acclaimed artist too and will be back in May for a Word of Mouth special about our excellent artist poets.

Melinda Walker, a Word of Mouth favourite, has a most beautiful reading voice following her long acting career. She will read some of her exquisite, heartfelt poetry, often about the privilege of looking after her aunt who has Alzheimers.

Helen North is an outstanding folk singer and songerwriter from Faversham. Her CDs are among my top favourites and anyone familiar with her work will know to bring a hankie as some of her songs are likely to produce a tear or two.

And as a very special treat – has this ever happened before? – Helen and Melinda (one of the Larkbirds – ‘Kent’s very own singing sensation’ – in her spare time) will sing together!

We have a free OPEN MIC too – you are welcome to come and read for up to 5 minutes – prose, memoir, drama, non-fic are all welcome, not just poetry. Please sign up with me on the night.

THIS EVENT IS FREE, thanks to the generosity of Whitstable’s Umbrella Café which will be open, licensed and serving hot food as well as cake, tea and coffee. It’s behind the main Umbrella Centre opposite the Fishslab Gallery and the Rock Lodge – just follow the little alley beside the main centre and look to your right. 

We gather from 6.30pm – doors open at around 6pm. See you there!Word of Mouth Whitstable facebook



Winter poems online

A very happy New Year to writers everywhere. Do you have an inner drive to write? Is a day with writing in it happier than a day without? You’re a writer.

The run-up to the festivities was so busy that I forgot to post some marvellous news. As well as London Grip publishing Palm Tree Victory – a poem of love and victory I wrote in honour of my darling Auntie Jean – in early December, the Mary Evans Picture Library Poems and Pictures blog published Beach Hut Christmas. Just before the holidays too. Greenwich publisher Live Canon commissioned it in 2018 and it has been lived out with great happiness at my beach hut here on the north Kent coast, UK.

I wish you happiness and fulfilment in your writing and many happy scribble-treats in the year to come.  IMG_5280

WORD OF MOUTH #WHITSTABLE January’s Faversham Special

Whitstable’s monthly spoken word event WORD OF MOUTH is back – ready for a better year than ever – on Thursday next week, the 9th, at 6.30pm.

The Umbrella Café doors will be open from 6pm and it’s going to be a #FAVERSHAM SPECIAL thanks to Angel Cakes Dye who is bringing top-notch poets Katy Evans-Bush, Rosemary McLeish, Christopher Hopkins – with his brilliant new book The Shape of a Tulip Bird – and Melinda Walker who will not only read her emotional, beautiful poetry but will also sing with magnificent folksinger, and no mean wordsmith herself, Helen North.

This is a FREE EVENT, the Umbrella’s licensed café stays open throughout with tea, coffee, cake and hot food, and there’s an OPEN MIC! If you would like to come and read for up to five minutes, please sign up with me (free) on the night. The café is behind the Umbrella Centre in Whitstable’s Oxford Street (the best Oxford Street) opposite the Fishslab Gallery and the Rock Lodge.

See you there!

WoM Whit Umbrella general poster