Every writer has their own special soundtrack that inspires them, whether it’s the music that they listened to in their teens or the music that gets them in that calm and chilled out place as an adult. Well, we’ve got a night that will get you inspired to write, read and rock n roll all at the same time.
We are working with Crawley Black History Foundation to produce a special event called Inner Visions: writers & the music that inspires them, which is part of the Crawley Wordfest, a two-week long festival that takes place in Crawley from 16 to 28 March 2013.
The night runs on 20 March 7.30 to 9pm and is free entry, with world cuisine food and drink (wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverage) for sale.
Update: Authentic Caribbean food from Benjies Caribbean Kitchen will be on sale on the night. Jerk chicken and vegetable curry plates will be on sale for £6 each, accompanied by rice, salad and more.
I’m really thrilled that we are returning to the fab Crawley Library to do another unique event that makes writing and literature, in all its different shapes and sizes, fun and accessible to a wide range of audiences, showcasing local Black and ethnic minority talent.
For this event, we’ve got historian and author Colin Grant reading from &I, The Natural Mystics, a group biography of the original Wailers and talking about the music that informed his book: ska, reggae and the mento that fuelled the music of Jamaica.
We’ve also also got the totally compelling Rounke Coker, a Nigerian writer and storyteller, who will be writing a new short story based on the influence of Western music in Nigeria in decades past, with Bob Marley’s music playing a prominent role. Expect to laugh your socks off!
Gregory Dax will be performing, playing popular Black music taking you through the decades. Set to be an inspiring and intimate night.
Presented by Crawley Black History Foundation & Writing Our Legacy as part of Crawley Wordfest
Inner Visions, Wednesday 20 March, 7.30-9pm. With Colin Grant, Rounke Coker and Gregory Dax. Catering from Benjies Caribbean Kitchen, with plates at £6. Drinks for sale. To book your free place, go to http://crawleyinnervisions.eventbrite.co.uk
I’m very happy to present to you photos from Paul Jackson and Bip Mistry and film from Joel Shepherd featuring the live lit performances from creative writers Priti Barua, Umit Ozturk and Lynne Blackwood. They performed for the first time on 24 January 2013 at Nightingale Theatre as part of our new live lit programme called Incubate.
Since 14 December, they’ve had the opportunity to work with BAFTA-nominated, Perrier award winning writer and acclaimed producer Stuart Silver to turn their original writing – everything from one-page scripts, a short story and an even flash pieces – into live lit performance fit for the stage. They rehearsed for 4 days in the studio, and I know put in a lot of time and hard work to produce some excellent results. See Lynne Blackwood’s account on our site about what the experience was like.
Stuart Silver, Producer, says: ‘Working with such obviously talented writers is a thrilling process, and Priti, Lynne and Umit have leapt into the challenge of turning their wonderful writing into performance as a first step to developing live literature works with dynamic shifts, risk, surprise, wit and warmth.
‘For the two days we’ve spent together, there is of course so much to explore with such richly nuanced texts and we’re thoroughly looking forward to seeing these three pieces performed for an audience for the first time. It’s obviously an essential experience from which, with continued mentor support they can further develop the pieces and explore the performance techniques we’ve all been setting in place.’
The night of 24 January was packed out with audiences – yes, a sold out night! – and we saw moving, daring, and humorous performances from all three writers. If you missed it, not to fear, as we have videos of Umit, Lynne and Priti, plus a special 2.5 minute promo video of all three. Plus we also have photos on our Facebook page and on Flickr, so have a look and enjoy.
We expect to see more from these three writers in the near future!
A final thanks to Steven Brett at the Nightingale Theatre for supporting this programme, Akka Ali, who was the INCUBATE coordinator, and Sarah Lee, who is mentoring all three writers to help them get funding to continue their writing developments.
Umit Ozturk performing ‘Who do you think they are not?’
Umit’s humorous short play “Aunt’s Agony” is about a person working in a call centre who’s trying to sort out people’s problems from around the world and tackles the issue of cultural diversity – and cats!
Umit Ozturk says of the residency: ‘Incubate helped the flames of my passion for stage to reincarnate! In this piece of stage performance, I am hoping to have a witty look at the perception of the diversity of cultures in the society, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region. I would like to ask the audience this question with a loud smile: “who do you think they are not?” and help them in finding the answers.’
Lynne Blackwood performing ‘The Lesson in Dhansak’
Lynne’s piece is based on a short story called “The Lesson in Dhansak”, which is the only piece of Lynne’s writing to be drawn from a personal experience. Her story powerfully combines her Anglo-Indian community’s loss with being different in a hostile country and her father’s valuable lesson to her as child about life and how to overcome difficulties.
Lynne Blackwood says: ‘Working with Stuart has been a liberating experience for me. His nurturing brought out talents I wasn’t yet aware of and allowed me to express myself in a confident way, despite the physical limitations. His observations also allowed me to look at my work in a different manner and to see where improvements to the original short story could be made. Thank you INCUBATE, Amy and Stuart!’
Priti Barua at Nightingale Theatre
Priti Barua says of her experience on the residency: ‘I have been positively inspired by the INCUBATE residency, the insights and guidance of Stuart Silver and the support of fellow writers and mentorship is invaluable. As a result I am becoming more conscious of the power of the spoken word and my deeper desire to connect with the audience in effective dialogue, both silent and spoken. It is both daunting and exhilarating to think that the words written in silence will take on new meaning in the theatrical space and I hope give me the courage and confidence to keep writing!’
INCUBATE 2012 promo video
Portsmouth writer Lynne Blackwood was one of three successful applicants for our first ever Incubate live lit residency, working with Stuart Silver, coordinated by Akkas Ali, and now working with mentor Sarah Lee to develop an application for funding to support her talent. Lynne writes about what the experience has been like – the challenges, the fears and the excitement at unfolding inner strength, beauty and ambition – on the stage and off.
This is probably going to be one of those posts where you think, “Oh goodness this is really too long to read,” but please continue, because I wish to demonstrate just how the INCUBATE programme changed my life as an isolated, disabled and struggling writer (of many talents, as I can now proudly say!).
How did it all happen?
I was writing like a fury, entering competitions and desperately seeking professional development. But without a ‘track record’, doors were more or less closed. I submitted a last minute application, thinking, “No, not me, never in a million suns.” But how wrong I was.
Several days later, I had to change all pre-Christmas plans and jump on a train to Brighton for a two full-day residency. I should perhaps explain an essential fact as to why this post is longer than usual. Isolated, disabled and living off benefits, yet a committed and passionate writer. That’s who I am.
The night will feature a new live lit performance from three Sussex and South East writers – Umit Ozturk, Lynne Blackwood, Priti Barua – who are all exciting, up-and-coming Black and ethnic minority talents.
Since 14 December, they’ve been working with acclaimed producer Stuart Silver to turn their original writing – everything from one-page scripts, a short story and an even flash pieces – into live lit fit for the stage.
Stuart Silver is a BAFTA-nominated, Perrier award winning writer / performer / producer / director working solo and collaboratively across theatre and gallery venues, television, radio, public spaces and in creative educational and mentoring contexts. He created the acclaimed monologue ‘You Look Like Ants,’ and is the co-founder of nobleandsilver, the multimedia comedic performance group. He has featured in television programmes such as The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and Man to Man with Dean Learner.
After the performance audience and industry will have a chance to feedback on the performance and will also be invited to join writers and the Writing Our Legacy team to stay for a celebratory drink upstairs.
Don’t miss this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see some unique talent in this very special programme!
Writing Our Legacy has joined forces with New Writing South to offer you a deal on two excellent workshops.
On Saturday 27 October, Jacob Ross is running a workshop for New Writing South. And on Saturday 3 November, Writing Our Legacy is holding a workshop with Umi Sinha.
We are offering the chance to attend both workshops for £30. Workshops include all refreshments (and lunch in the case of the Writing Our Legacy workshop), so this price represents great value.
Jacob Ross is a novelist and short story writer, and a well-known figure in the national literary landscape. He has judged several important prizes including the Olive Cook and Tom-Gallon literary awards, and the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. In 2013 Jacob will be judging and editing submissions for Closure, an anthology of contemporary Black fiction for Peepal Tree Press. This workshop is a fantastic opportunity to meet Jacob and find out what he’s looking to include in the anthology.
Umi Sinha is a highly experienced creative writing tutor. She taught autobiography and fiction at the University of Sussex for over ten years. She is also a published writer of short stories and children’s stories, and a trained storyteller. Her workshop will take place at Brighton Museum. Using objects and artefacts from the Museum as prompts, the workshop will focus on memoir, and on fictional ways of telling ‘The History of Ourselves.’ Umi will also discuss upcoming opportunities for new writers to get into print.
Enjoy footage and audio recordings from our recent Asian Voices. It was an evening of writing inspired by the historic Brighton Pavilion and India, held at Crawley Library this past Saturday.
Despite the rain, the modern library held a sizeable local audience, with former soldiers and people of different Asian backgrounds in attendance. We were really pleased to see so many people arriving early, and quickly fill in while we had teas, coffees and biscuits and everyone go to know one another before the night had begun.
Bert Williams MBE from the Sussex Chattri group gave a lively talk about the Indian soldiers stay in Brighton during World War I, when Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Indian soldiers were treated at the Brighton Pavilion, a make-shift hospital, and their now famous letters home. This was followed by a dramatic reading from actors Rez Kabir and Richard Sumitro and Uschi Gatward, who brought to life a play based on the Indian soldiers letters, called Through the Flames by emerging Asian LGBT playwright Sonya Roy. Lastly, writer and creative writing tutor Umi Sinha read from her new historical novel in progress about Indian soldiers and a new think piece that reflected on the relationship of her Indian heritage and with this place England she calls ‘home’.
Here’s a review written by Sonya Roy of the event:
On Saturday evening on the 20th October at Crawley Library a wonderful event took place. INSPIRE was an evening of history and writing inspired by the Brighton Pavilion and its links with India. In the early days of the first World War, many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim soldiers were bought to Brighton which had been turned into a hospital town. For nearly two years thousands of Indian soldiers were resident in what was at that time a small seaside town. And in that time there was a shortage of English men as most had joined up so there were a lot of lonely English women who were drawn to the “dusky warriors” from the East.
INSPIRE took fact and fiction and created a fusion of fact and fiction in the guise of a talk from the Chattri group and two short readings, one from a play called Through the Flames and a novel entitled Belonging. Bert Williams gave an informative talk about the Indian soldiers and their contribution to Sussex during WWI and two writers, Sonya Roy and Umi Sinha put forward their interpretation through fictional accounts of relationships forged in war.
Two London actors Rez Kabir and Richard Sumitro did an amazing reading of two of the characters from Through the Flames helping to create a haunting atmosphere that spoke of a world at war and a love that dared not be named in a racially intolerant Empire. And Umi Sinha’s book Belonging though not yet finished, will hopefully be on the shelves of Sussex Libraries when finally published.
The evening was very well attended with some and Uschi Gatward did a brilliant job of compering the evening’s educational entertainment that was so popular it overran as there so many questions and comments from the audience.
Crawley Black History Group were the hosts for the night and Amy Riley from Writing Our Legacy was the linchpin which enabled this event to happen in the first place. I really hope that this will be repeated next year with more Asian literary talent and even more history on offer.
We are honoured to have Luis Muñoz, a former Chilean activist who survived arrest torture during Pinochet’s regime and authored this harrowing account of his life in his autobiography ‘Being Luis; A Chilean Life’ (Impress Books).
Luis will read from his book on Saturday 17 November, from 3-4pm in Brighton Museum, during Latin Voices Live! Afterwards he will have a question and answer session. Luis will be signing copies of the book, which will be on sale.
Being Luis; A Chilean Life is a powerful account of love, life, death and survival, recounting Chilean history from the 1960s to the present. It charts Luis Muñoz magical but at times difficult childhood, his undercover activity as a left-wing activist, his arrest and torture by Pinochet’s military regime, his exile to England and how he overcame his experiences to move forward with his life.
Luis now lives in East Sussex and is a well known commentator on Chilean affairs. He has close links with the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and the Helen Bamber Foundation.
The reading will be followed by a Question and Answer session
‘Being Luis; A Chilean Life’ ISBN 0954758617 paperback £11.99 Impress Books
Latin Voices Live (Day of Dead) takes place on Saturday 17 November, 10am-5pm, at Brighton Museum (all day) and Brighton Dome (1-5pm). Music, dance, film, literature, arts and crafts, and family friendly workshops throughout the day. Entry is free all day, workshops by donation. Mexican food, Latin cocktails and other drinks on sale.
The incredible Patience Agbabi reads from her remake of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, soon to be published and tentatively called Canterbury Remix as well as from Bloodshot Monochrome (Canongate). You can grab a copy from Amazon or other fine booksellers.
Bloodshot Monochrome is a glorious poetic take on all things black, white and read. Reinventing the sonnet, Patience Agbabi shines her euphoric, musical lines on everything from growing up to growing old, from Northern Soul to contract killers, from the retro to the brand new. Whether resurrecting the dead in ‘Problem Pages’, playing out noir dramas in ‘Vicious Circle’, or capturing moments of her own life in perfect snapshot, Agbabi’s verse is sublimely lyrical and spiked with gleeful humour.
This Friday, Nigerian storyteller Rounke Coker delighted us with this story, set in Lagos, about a main character’s brother who has a strange fascination with insects, animals and particularly a pet crocodile. The story is rich in detail, aliveness and a visceral sense of language – as well as being plain damn funny.
The evening’s reading was set in the captivating Hastings Museum – a place highly recommended for a visit. The event, partnered with local African festival of arts and culture, Afrikaba, also featured Kent poet superstar Patience Agbabi, who is on the brink of publication for new work, tentatively titled Canterbury Remix….watch this space. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this incredible story from Rounke, who we are sure to hear again at future readings in Sussex (14 October, Nightingale Theatre)….and read in print very soon.
Rounke Coker – Friday 5 October, Hastings Museum – Part 1
Rounke Coker – Friday 5 October, Hastings Museum – Part 2