Tuesday 22 March 2016

March On!

March 2016

Hello My Dears -

I have just returned from a week teaching at Arvon, I've been at The Hurst in Shropshire, the beautiful home of playwright John Osbourne. As usual returning from Arvon to my desk here in London I am feeling good. I love teaching an Arvon week, you never know who you will meet or what you will read and what beautiful stories and poems you will hear. I have come home to find my love of writing and books refreshed, new ideas are buzzing in my head and heart and there is a rosy colour to my cheeks from walking in woods and taking in the clean and fresh country air and consuming tons of cake and biscuits and pints of tea, my cheeks aching from smiling... 

This ARVON week was particularly special, because it was a partnership with Cultureword - Women In The Spotlight - a course specifically for LGBT+ and/or BAME female writers. I couldn't help but notice that something changes, something glorious happens in a room when we do not have to apologise or censor ourselves, the dialogue was something quite magical, brave and honest. I was in a house with these brilliant women (pictured above) for a week and I have returned feeling nourished and energised, I really hope they feel the same too! 

I've been told this is the first time Arvon has had an all-women and all-bame group and I hope this is something they will do again. Together we shared some of the same struggles and challenges. As a woman, as a black woman, as a woman over 30, you will find yourself trapped, to have to constantly lower your expectations of being noticed, of being published, of being considered relevant and this can challenge your confidence. If you mostly or generally expect to be rejected or pushed to the side, you can learn to apologise, to lose some hope, to try to shrink your passion and your dream of making good writing, a great play or successful book. This week was vital for bonding, a week to recharge the confidence in your story, to remind you that your voice matters, your history, your present and your future. 

My co-tutor was a total legend - I had a wonderful teacher comrade in the dramaturge Ola Animashawun, the Diversity Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre and Creative Director of Euphoric Ink. I feel I learned loads from Ola, I sat in on his sessions, absorbing his inspiring lessons in script writing and wise words about making theatre, and making stories come to life. Our guest speaker was also phenomenal and inspiring, the top playwright Tanika Gupta MBE. What a legend! Ok I must stop gushing now, but seriously this Arvon week was immensely memorable, and I was honoured to be asked to teach, to share and to contribute and just to be there, listening in awe. Thank you.

Workshop, Ola and Salena - Arvon March 2016
Photo by Hafsah Bashir

Tanika, Ola and Salena - 
Ola and I did some acting and read a scene from Tanika's brilliant new play
Arvon March 2016 - Photos by Hafsah Bashir

I'm trying not to gig quite so much this year, so I can take some space to finish my new books and secret projects .... But if you scroll down you'll see a list of some of the parties and mischief I am gonna do this springtime, I will add more festivals and gatherings when we are nearer the summer. 

Biglove to everybody that was there at the funeral for Dick Bradsell and all my Soho friends and family earlier this month. And also a shout out to all at the Convergence Festival, The Gil Scott Heron all-dayer, pieces of a man, at the Roundhouse in Camden last Sunday, March 13th, it was a thrill to contribute and enjoy a day of music and poetry and talks and discussion.  I love Gil Scott Heron 4ever xx

Cleveland Watkiss, Orphy Robinson, Salena Godden,  Malik Al Nasir and Keli Garret
Pieces of a Man - Gil Scott Heron event, Convergence Festival, The Roundhouse, Camden 

I'd better go now...before I go into one about the latest news. 
I returned to civilisation to switch on the internet to a flood of really bad news, dead people, hateful words spew from Twitter and Facebook, news headlines are all death and war and bombs and crooks and predators and human crisis and murder and violence and crap and cuts and blunders and budget and corruption and politicians and bullshit and money and greed and the theatre of it all, I wouldn't know where to start with that lot, not today. One small piece of good news this week was that at least the UK government have (apparently) ended the tampon tax, we won that small battle, so there's one teeny tiny triumph...come to a gig: 

NEXT GIG: March 24th: 

Coming up I'm at Lutonia Festival supporting John Cooper Clarke and also Rally and Broad!
Thank you for subscribing to Waiting For Godden - we have 221,609 readers now. 
Please stay safe, take care out there, read books, drink booze, be kind and eat your greens. 
Keep Fighting The Good Fight!
With love, 

 excerpt from a letter to Nikesh Shukla

Ola and Salena on the steps of The Hurst

Poets watching the sun set haha - photo borrowed from Christina Fonthes

New Book News

I have new work in three wicked and diverse anthologies coming out this year...

The Unreliable Guide to London published with Influx Press out July 2016 - http://www.influxpress.com/an-unreliable-guide-to-london/

The Good Immigrant published by Unbound is out September 2016 - https://unbound.co.uk/books/the-good-immigrant

Untitled Two - Neu Reekie anthology 
 Polygon Books & Neu Reekie Publication May 2016

You'll find me performing at these... 
gigs, festivals, gatherings and parties

March 24th: 

April 2nd: 

April 22nd: 

April 27th:
The Working Class Movement Library, Salford
Supporting Richard Milward  with Joe Stretch

May 19th:
WOW Festival, Liverpool
Stand Up And Spit with Tim Wells

June 23rd:
Spoken Beat Night
Bimhuis, Amsterdam

June 29th:
Soapbox Poetry
The John Peel Centre, Stowmarket

July 9th:
The Roundhouse
Camden London

July 18th:

July 23rd:
Festival 23

August 4th:

August 5th-7th:
The Green Gathering Festival

September 2-4th:

Arvon - Shropshire sunset, March 2016

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