Thursday, 3 September 2009

London and what next

Scoot down to London for a meeting of the Poetry Book Society Board where I am currently the Chair. Two and a half hours down, the same back by train. Read stuff to be read down and more but different stuff to read on the way back.

I am not about to enter one of those mad periods where I am constantly on the move. Tomorrow to Whitehaven, near Penrith in the Lake District, where they are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Rosehill Theatre, founded by a Hungarian emigré, Sir (as he was to become) Nichols Sekers, who worked in fabrics and the fashion industry, and designed by Oliver Messel. My role is to be invited, entertained and then to sit down and write something - poetry, prose, reportage, dramatic scene - about the event or the theatre or the founders. Any combination of any of these. It is one of those out-of-the-ordinary commissions that is hard to resist. In the meantime eat goulash and listen to a Nigel Kennedy concert, possibly tramp the hills. This is while reading over the text of the forthcoming anthology of younger poets that I have just edited and answering some questions from the publishers. It will go into rapid production after that - ready for early November publication.

On returning I shall have one day home before flying off to Berlin with C to the Berliner Festspiele otherwise known as the 9th International Literature Festival where I am doing an evening event with novelist friend Katharina Hacker.

Things don't end there. September and October's diary is full of dates and engagements. Details to follow.

In the meantime, one of my poems, as previously noted, is on the Forward shortlist for best poem of the year (I would be astounded if it won), and the Tiffey book, aka Shuck, Hick, Tiffey is shortlisted for the EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards 2009. I'm in the Places and Nature section. Up against Roger Deakin there, alas. This is however terrific for the Gatehouse Press and Meirion Jordan's Strangers Hall, also Gatehouse Press. Many congratulations to them! Meirion was one of my MA students at UEA. He is in the Fiction and Poetry category and is up against Philip Leslie and Jeremy Page. He is also shortlisted for the Forward First Book Prize. What a tremendous start in his career!

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