The Public Health, Private Illness interdisciplinary medical humanities conference hosted by the University of Glasgow was postponed (thanks to the current pandemic) from April but – exciting news – it is happening instead in the first week of September, 2020. Here is the full programme – you are invited to join in.
Rosie is delighted to be invited to read at 7pm on THURSDAY 3 SEPTEMBER as part of the conference’s creative writing showcase. This is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Please join us – you can find out how in Rosie’s blogpost here.
Rosie was unable to attend a Reading and Discussion event on Her Other Language: Northern Irish Women Writers Address Domestic Violence and Abuse at the Belfast Book Festival at the Crecent Arts Centre on Sunday, 14th June at 4pm.
Sadly, because of this new world we find ourselves in this year, Word of Mouth Whitstable has come to a halt. If you would like to take it over, please contact Rosie on firstname.lastname@example.org The team of the Umbrella Cafe in Whitstable have done magnificent work in feeding hungry people in the area throughout the worst of 2020’s health crisis and continue to focus on that. Rosie is full of admiration and invites you to contribute to their work through the links you can find here.
‘WORD OF MOUTH’ is a series of monthly spoken word evenings in Whitstable’s marvellous Umbrella Café with Rosie as your host. The atmosphere is always warm and welcoming and ENTRY IS FREE. Four featured writers (from any genre) have ten minutes each to entertain you. There are also up to 10 FREE OPEN MIC SLOTS for writers who sign up on the evening. We can enjoy the lovely licensed café with hot and cold drinks, soup, and fantastic cakes they bake themselves. The Umbrella is a community-based café that operates Pay It Forward.
If you would like to have ten minutes to showcase your writing at Word of Mouth Whitstable, please contact Rosie email@example.com
Thursday 5 March, 2020: BECAUSE OF THE FOUL WEATHER AND SOME MISGIVINGS ABOUT HEALTH, THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. Very many thanks to everyone who was going to come, to Jo Verney and the Umbrella café staff and to all our featured performers and to Graeme Bosley who was going to host. We’ll reschedule this event as soon as we can.
In the week of International Women’s Day, WORD OF MOUTH WHITSTABLE on Thursday 5 March, 2020 is an IWD SPECIAL featuring Guyanan author and poet Maggie Harris, one of our most prolific and personal poets, always hilarious, Gillian Laker – Cinnamon poet and former Canterbury poet of the year, artist and dramatic poet of the heart Clair Meyrick, unforgettable poet Setareh Ibrahimi Franklin (perhaps with her baby daughter Freya), along with Helen North’s haunting songs about the complexities of our female lives. As always, up to ten open mic spots will be available for people of all genders and none.
Thursday 2 April, 2020, IT’S RAINING MEN – the men will have their turn with an evening to make us laugh, cry and wonder at the beauty and otherwise of life. Our featured writers will be Tommy Carver-Chaplin, Callum Beesley, Alex Brand, Rik Collier, David Dykes, Barry Fentiman Hall & Kadir Samad. As always, up to ten open mic spots will be available, as above.
On Thursday 7 May, 2020, POETRY & ART come together in a celebration of writers who are graphic artists as well. You will have a rare opportunity to see Rosemary McLeish‘s arresting and beautiful oil pastel paintings and work made from found objects and while she reads from her excellent poetry collection, I Am A Field. Clair Meyrick‘s delicate paintings of the natural world will be on display while she reads her turbulent poetry of the heart. Mark Holihan is a professional graphic designer who has not only designed covers for Cultured Llama press, they have published his poetry – There Are No Foreign Lands – too. Come and enjoy Mark’s personal artistic work while he reads from his new poems about walking the Camino de Santiago. And joining us from the Isle of Sheppey is the multi-talented fine artist, writer, blogger and singer-songwriter Jo Eden.
Our featured writers/ artists will bring their artistic work for you as well as their books and pamphlets. As always, up to ten open mic spots will be available, as above.
On Saturday 22 February, 2020, FAVERSHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL is hosting a whole day of POETRY AT THE HUB:
- Between 12 noon and 1.00pm that day, Rosie invites you to join her in A CELEBRATION OF WORD OF MOUTH #WHITSTABLE with outstanding poets Charlotte Ansell, Sue Rose, Gillie Robic, Setareh Ibrahimi Franklin & Mary Anne Smith. There are more details and the booking page here.
- Between 5 and 6pm, Rosie will join poets Derek Sellen, Gary Studley, Mary Anne Smith and Luigi Marchini in A FESTIVAL OF LOVE POETRY.
WRITING WORKSHOPS TOO – on SATURDAY 15 February, 2020, Rosie will facilitate two of the FAVERSHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL WORKSHOPS, both in Faversham’s famous Guildhall. To help you find your way through the website, here are details of Rosie’s workshops with booking pages:
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
On Thursday 6 February, 2020, 6.30pm, Word of Mouth 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.
This barnacled old heart of mine was chucked into a flowerbed last year and turned up this autumn washed gloriously free of barnacles by seaside rains – is there a poem or story there? Over to you …
On Saturday 25 January 2020, Rosie is off to Deal 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 your host. With luck, Angie will read some of her marvellous poems too.
On Monday 13 January, 2020, Rosie is looking forward to returning to read at WINCHESTER LOOSE MUSE with novelist Isabel Rogers from 7.30pm. These excellent evenings celebrate women’s writing and have a really good open mic. Thursday 9 January, 2020, 6.30pm, will be a FAVERSHAM SPECIAL thanks to Angela Dye who brings to #WordofMouth poets Katy Evans Bush, Rosemary McLeish, Christopher Hopkins, 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.
WORD OF MOUTH’S CHRISTMAS PARTY, Thursday 5 December, 6.30 – 8.30pm: Fantastic news that Whitstable’s finest ukulele band THE USELESS PLUCKERS will play at WORD OF MOUTH’s Christmas party at the Umbrella café #Whitstable. THIS FREE EVENT features the acclaimed international poet Agnes Meadows, LicketySpit Slam winner and author of hilarious ‘Talk to the Paw’ Pauline Holmes & Kadir Samad from Kurdistan with his emotional bilingual poetry. Rosie will be your host as usual, sprinkling the evening with seasonal poetry, and there are 10 OPEN MIC slots available of five minutes each. Whitstable’s licensed Umbrella Café will be open, serving tea/coffee and cakes, and a hot meal.
On Wednesday 13 November, 2019, 8 – 10pm, Rosie is honoured to be a featured writer alongside Safiya Allaf at LONDON LOOSE MUSE Women Writers Night in the Sun Pub, on the corner of Drury Lane and Betterton Street, in Covent Garden, London WC2B 5RH, just 100 yards from the Poetry Café. This event includes Q & A and an open mic session in each half. Tickets are £6 (£5 concessions).
On Sunday 10 November, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Rosie has been invited by SAVEAS WRITERS & DEAD HOARSE WRITERS in Canterbury to read at the Pilgrim’s Hotel opposite the Marlowe Theatre. She will read from her latest Lapwing collection Six-Count Jive and new poems she is gathering about the north Kent coast. This is a free event (donations welcome) and includes an excellent open mic. Word of Mouth Whitstable on Thursday, 7 November, 2019 brings the city and seaside together. Our featured writers from Canterbury’s SAVEAS WRITERS are Gary Studley, Jeffrey Loffman, Derek Sellen and Mary Anne Smith:
Derek has won prizes for poetry, plays and short stories, including Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2018. His favourably reviewed recent collection, The Other Guernica, is inspired by Spanish art.
Jeff was born in London, grew up in Yorkshire and is a workshop leader and event organiser. His prompters are Hill, Jones, Bunting, Duncan, Hughes, history and place and his latest book is BREATH-TAKING: A Geography.
Mary Anne is well known to north Kent audiences. Her work has been recognised in both national and international competitions, including first prizes in O’Bheal Five Words and Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and is also widely published and broadcast.
Gary leads Dead Hoarse Writers and Writing For Life. An art & writing tutor, compere, and writer of prize-winning poetry & prose, Gary has worked with Marlowe Theatre, English Heritage, Canterbury Festival & Porchlight.
On Sunday 20 October, Rosie is delighted to be invited – as part of the CANTERBURY FESTIVAL – to read in the Pilgrims’ Hotel, 3pm, with Fiona Sinclair, Derek Sellen, Mary Anne Smith and Luigi Marchini. More details of SKETCHES OF KENT are here!
October’s Words on Waves will be on Thursday 10 October, 2019 to coincide with World Mental Health Day and will feature poetry from Fiona Sinclair, Christopher Hopkins, poet and child psychotherapist Charlotte Ansell and poet, singer and therapist Melinda Walker.
On Friday 4 October at the CRESCENT ARTS CENTRE IN BELFAST from 6pm. Lapwing poets fly in from all over the place to celebrate Dennis and Rene and their marvellous work at Lapwing for 40 years and counting. The line-up includes (in no particular order) Shelley Tracey, Lorna Shaughnessy, Damian Smyth (this time as poet), and again Moyra Donaldson, Peter Pegnall and Rosie. Dennis and Rene Greig will read too – as will Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, current Ireland Professor of Poetry. Another amazing event.
40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF LAPWING – on Friday 20 September 2019, from 1 to 2.30pm, poets and friends of Dennis and Rene Greig will read at BELFAST’S LINEN HALL LIBRARY in a celebration of forty years of Lapwing Publications. The line-up includes Fred Johnston, Moyra Donaldson, Sam Burnside, Peter Pegnall and Rosie Johnston. Above is Rosie up the Cave Hill in her dad’s rucksack a wee while ago. He loved the Linen Hall and spent countless happy hours of his life there.
Words on Waves is with MUSIC on Thursday, 5 September 2019, at 6.45pm – POETRY, PROSE & VINYL – and features folk singer Helen North with some of her exquisite, original songs, prize-winning author and poet Maggie Harris, prize-winning poet Mary Anne Smith and Barry Fentiman Hall of Wordsmithery fame.
From September Words on Waves combines music with four booked writers each time (ten minutes each) and open mic sessions for up to ten readers (five minutes each). Fiction, poetry, drama, memoir, published or work in progress – it’s all welcome. We’ll dance, laugh and enjoy words and music together from 6.45pm to 9.30/10pm. Tickets are £5 including wine and soft drinks.
Words on Waves on Thursday, 1 August will be an OPEN MIC WITH MUSIC! For just £3 each as usual, including wine, you are welcome to come and hear open mic readers alternating with musicians between 7pm and around 10pm. If you would like to read, please sign up on the evening to read for up to five minutes. All genres are welcome! Why not give it a go?
Words on Waves, Thursday, 4 July 2019, at 6.45pm is a wonderful collection of local talent of all kinds. One of the beauties of these evenings is we never know whether we’ll hear fiction, memoir, drama, poetry, music or a fusion of everything. We’ll hear singer-songwriter Jacqui Selby’s brilliant songs performed with her usual verve, and writing from Nick Hayes, Hilary Rouse-Amadi, Louise O’Connell, new poet in residence of Apotheca, Faversham – Melinda Walker, Pauline Holmes and artist and poet Clair Meyrick.
Words on Waves, Thursday, 6 June 2019, 6.45pm: prize-winning poet Rosemary McLeish reads from her new collection I am a Field, thriller writer Vicky Newham brings a mix of poetry and prose, poets Sarah Jenkin and Setareh Franklin (was Ebrahimi) join us (unless Setareh’s just given birth!) along with, from Connor Sansby‘s WHISKY AND BEARDS, Angela Dye, Sam Rapp, Alex Vellis and Connor himself.
On Thursday 30 May, 7pm, Rosie is honoured to join Mary Anne Smith, Christopher Hopkins and Matt Chamberlain at Faversham’s TOP HAT AND TALES, 110 High Street (just down the hill from The Sun) for an evening of Prosecco, hats and fabulous poetry organised by Angela Dye.
On Sunday, 5 May 2019, 3-5pm, come to Margate to experience a combination of poetry and beautiful art – Rosie looks forward to reading alongside Rosemary McLeish, Jessica Taggart, Barry Fentiman Hall and Clair Meyrick at the spoken word event as part of NEON BLUE TALES at The Pie Factory, Margate.
Words on Waves, Thursday 2 May 2019 @ 6.45pm promises to be one of the most exciting, international, vibrant evenings yet.
From Kent we welcome Callum Beesley who won first prize at Faversham Literary Festival’s short story competition this year with Little Toffee Apple and soon starts an MSt in Creative Writing at Cambridge University. Matt Chamberlain will join us with his recently released CD I remember the green gaze. He’s currently working on a new book with Thanet writer, Melissa Todd. And we look forward to hearing Danne Jobin, a PhD student and assistant lecturer in American Literature at Kent University, who has read at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival (Queer Studio).
From Greenwich, publisher LIVE CANON brings five of their most exciting writers to Whitstable. Gillie Robic is a puppeteer and voice artist whose first collection Swimming Through Marble is a joy. Her second poetry collection is published soon and we hope she’ll give us a sneaky preview. Andrew George is a barrister whose 2017 poem Breakfast at Theresa’s won the LB of Greenwich prize that year. What’s it like being a war reporter? Mark Huband has reported from all over the world, covering genocide in Rwanda and Burundi, conflicts in Angola and Sudan, Abidjan and Nairobi. He oversaw coverage of Al-Quaida following the 11/09/11 terrorist attacks for the Financial Times. Mark will be previewing his forthcoming collection Agony: A Poem of Genocide. Tessa Foley is a prize-winning poet who works for University of Portsmouth and has volunteered with Portsmouth Abuse & Rape Counselling service for the last 4 years; to raise funds for the organisation she self-printed a book of poetry inspired by and dedicated to the strength of survivors of trauma, rape and child sex abuse complete with illustrations by her sister Anna. She plays the ukulele and might bring it along. What’s it like being poet in residence of a railway station? NJ (Nancy) Hynes will be able to help you out with that too!
Words on Waves, Thursday 18 April, 6.30 – 8pm: we’re experimenting at Harbour Books with our very first OPEN MIC evening. We don’t have a microphone of course, don’t need one, but we’ll welcome you and your wonderful words at an evening where anyone and everyone is invited to step into the limelight. No sign-up required, just come down and give it your all! Regular readers and first-timers all welcome, up to 20 lines of poetry each and just £3 entry. Spread the word!
Words on Waves, Thursday, 6 April 2019, 6.45pm: our magnificent April line-up includes Jessica Taggart, Clair Meyrick, Rosemary McLeish, Setareh Ebrahimi, Seretta Wilson, Mary Anne Smith and Derek Sellen.
FRIDAY 8 March 2019 Rosie is honoured be one of the Special Guest poets in Faversham’s Guildhall, 7 – 10.30pm, as part of the Finale to Faversham’s extraordinary week of events celebrating INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, organised by Angela Dye. The Rockhoppers lead a programme that also includes Sue de Nim, Christopher Hopkins and Melinda Walker, the Larkbirds will sing their naughty nostalgic hits, there’ll be comedy from Twinprov and an open mic for musicians and poets. Wine and canapes FREE with a raffle to help costs.
On Thursday 28 March 2019, Harbour Books in Whitstable will LAUNCH Rosie’s fourth poetry book SIX-COUNT JIVE (Lapwing Publications) from 6.30pm. Whitstable’s finest ukulele band, The Useless Pluckers, will help the celebrations.
Harbour Books will be pouring their marvellous Prosecco and if dancing breaks out, we just might jive in the street. Everyone is welcome! This is a FREE event.
THURSDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2019 @ 6.45pm:
Words on Waves is thrilled to welcome Sam Rapp, Clair Meyrick, Callum Beesley, and our first publisher’s showcase, of writers published by CULTURED LLAMA in Rochester:
Maria C. McCarthy, the herdswoman of her Cultured Llamas, has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent and won the Society of Authors’ Tom-Gallon Trust Award in 2015. After living for several years in Teynham, where she wrote in a shed looking out on boats on an orchard, she now lives in the Medway Towns, and looks out on boats on the river. Maria will be reading poetry from strange fruits (Cultured Llama, 2011) and There are Boats on the Orchard (Cultured Llama, 2017); and stories from As Long as it Takes (Cultured Llama, 2014)
Anna Maconochieis a London writer whose stories have appeared in the Erotic Review, the Dublin Review and the Bitter Oleander. Anna will be reading from her short story collection, Only the Visible Can Vanish, (Cultured Llama, 2016)
Ben Barton has been nominated for the Canterbury Poet of the Year Award and the erbacce-prize, and will be reading from The Hospital (Cultured Llama, 2018). Also a film artist, Ben’s film Stella Erratica was funded by the late David Bowie, and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. He lives in Folkestone with his husband and son, beside the North Downs.
Mark Holihan is a former Californian, now settled in Kent. He returns to Words on Waves, after a very popular first appearance with The Scatterlings, to read again from his Cultured Llama collection, There Are No Foreign Lands.
THURSDAY 10 JANUARY 2019 @ 6.45pm:
Chase away the winter chills with beautiful writing at WORDS ON WAVES at Harbour Books in Whitstable, Kent.
Our readers include Steve Kendall, former life model Carol DeVaughan reading from her new poetry collection Life Class (Oversteps Books, 2018), Wordsmithery publisher and poet Barry Fentiman Hall, Christopher Hopkins, Angela Dye & Caroline Millar with something new, if there’s time, from Rosie herself.
Book your seat by phoning 01227264011 or calling into the shop.
THURSDAY 6 DECEMBER 2018 @ 6.45pm:
Escape from your festive pressures with mince pies, wine and wonderful writing at WORDS ON WAVES at Harbour Books in Whitstable, Kent. Our magnificent line-up includes Leicester poet, tutor and Magma prize winner (2015) Pam Thompson, Sue Rose from Herne Bay (published by Cinnamon and Hercules Editions), Derek Sellen reading from his new Cultured Llama collection, The Other Guernica, Isabelle Defaut, Melina Walker, Roger Tooth and Mary Anne Smith.
Book your seat by phoning 01227264011 or calling into the shop.
On THURSDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2018, in the CAA in Bedford Street, WC2 at 8pm, Greenwich publisher Live Canon will launch their exciting Christmas anthology – including Rosie’s new poem Beach Hut Christmas. Please let Rosie know if you’d like to come (to help caterers) and she’ll ask for you to be added to the list.
Peter Pegnall, Dominic James, Quentin Cowdry and Rosie will read between 7.30 and 9.30pm with, as the Cafe says, a break to ensure a comfortable and well-hydrated crowd. Peter says, ‘like any supergroup, Bright Scarf poets harmonise and clash, paint with their voices, dance with their words‘.
October’s WORDS ON WAVES at Harbour Books in Whitstable
is on Thursday 4th @ 6.45pm. Tickets are £3 including a glass of Prosecco and Rosie will be hosting as well as reading alongside Fiona Sinclair, Nancy Charlie, Isabelle Defaut, Dominic James and Karen Stanley.
Words On Waves is a series of monthly spoken word evenings showcasing a wide variety of local writing talent and it’s developing a tendency to sell out fast! Please call into the shop or phone 01227264011 to reserve your seats so that you and your friends can immerse yourselves in an ocean of fabulous words. Coming up in November & December, we’ll have Steve Kendall Pam Thompson Christopher Hopkins Sue Rose and more.
September’s WORDS ON WAVES at Harbour Books in Whitstable
is on Thursday 6th @ 6.45pm – tickets: £3 including a glass of Prosecco and Rosie will be hosting again.
Words On Waves is a series of monthly spoken word evenings showcasing a wide variety of local writing talent. This month features local poets The Scatterlings – Geraldine Paine (Faversham) Sue Rose (Herne Bay) and Mark Holihan (Broadstairs) – Clair Meyrick and Annie Harrison. Please do come along, bring your friends and immerse yourselves in an ocean of fabulous words. Tickets are available through the shop 01227264011 https://www.facebook.com/harbourbooks/
Words On Waves at Harbour Books in Whitstable
Thursday 2 August 2018 @ 7pm – tickets: £3 including a glass of Prosecco
Rosie will be hosting again at the second of a series of monthly spoken word evenings in Whitstable. Local authors/special guests to be announced. Please do come along, bring your friends and immerse yourselves in an ocean of fabulous words.
Tickets are available through the shop https://www.facebook.com/harbourbooks/
Words On Waves
Thursday 5th July @ 7pm – tickets: £3 including a glass of Prosecco
Harbour Books in Whitstable, Kent is hosting the first of a series of monthly spoken word evenings in July. Local authors/special guests Vicky Newham and Gail Atherton will be showcasing their upcoming works along with aspiring writers and Rosie will be your host. Please do come along, bring your friends and immerse yourselves in an ocean of fabulous words.
Tickets are available through the shop https://www.facebook.com/harbourbooks/
On Monday 12 February 2018 Rosie presents her work at Loose Muse Winchester in the Discovery Centre between 7.30 and 9.30pm. Jacqueline Saphra, recently shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize for All My Mad Mothers, founder of The Shuffle and teacher at The Poetry School, will be reading too.
On Tuesday 16 January 2018 the Bright Scarf poets will read at the West Greenwich library, SE10. Time to be confirmed. Bright Scarf are Peter Pegnall, Dominic James, Quentin Cowdry and Rosie. Thanks to Irena Hill for organising.
On Friday – 8 September 2017 Rosie reads in the new studio space at the Greenwich Theatre as part of the latest Live Canon 154 Shakespeare’s sonnets event with actors from Live Canon and some of the other 154 poets. It’s the same format as our Diorama event in the summer – Live Canon actors read the Bard’s original sonnets and we living poets read our own commissioned responses. The variety is wonderful and laughs are guaranteed.
We’ll all be in the bar from 7pm and readings start at 7.30. See you there!