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Once again, a fab night had by all last night for the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year awards. This year’s ultra-deserving winner is Sue Rose, for her sonnet ‘When You’ve Gone’. It was a unanimous and almost immediate decision. Such a great piece.

There was a large audience again too (85+) — more proof that there is a rich seam of poetry and poetry lovers around these parts. Very heartening. I read some old and some new work, and enjoyed myself thoroughly — though announcing winners is terrifying!

For the record, the other places were as follow: 2nd prize to Wendy Holmes for ‘On Perranporth Sands’; and 3rd prize to Rupert Smith for ‘Woodwind’. As it happens, Rupert is a second year creative writing student at Uni Kent. In fact, Uni Kent students and former students were very well represented last night, accounting for no fewer than five out of the 11 shortlist places! Heavens. (And in case you are of a suspicious nature, all the shortlisting was done anonymously!) Nicky Gould, another Kent student (3rd year) received an honourable mention for her reading.

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Also for the record, the labyrinth workshop was wonderful. Loved it. Hope everyone else did too. I think so!

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Next on the horizon is the Booker verdict night on Tuesday 14 October, where all of the featured writers around the Canterbury Festival Booker clubs will get together, read from their own work, and await the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008. With a crowd of course. And wine. I hope.

And just when you thought it was safe to go out, as promised, me on digital tv. John Prebble of the Canterbury Festival looks likes a relaxed old hand, whereas I look little like an ex-dancer academic. Which is kind of what I am. Oh well.

Then on Thursday night, 16 October, is the launch of the WriteHere anthology, which showcases my year as Canterbury Laureate. I’ll give this event a proper post later, but if you are interested, there will be readings from the book — children and adult writers — and once again, I’ll read for a few minutes. It’s a free event, but you need to book a ticket so numbers can be judged (so far, so good — over 100!) This promises to be a really thrilling evening… There’s nothing quite like holding a book — a book with new writing, written by people in this very room — in your hands.

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Before all that though (!), this Sunday 12 October starting at 6 pm is another Orange Street poetry event. Again, I’ll try to pop more details about this on tomorrow, but if I can’t, here’s the website for Canterbury Poets, who are the key organisers, for more details. All being well, I’ll be there Sunday to read a very new piece.

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Do I sound out of breath?!


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Yikes! Reeling at the moment….Apologies for too much empty cyberspace. Okay, cyber-corner. Of Kent.

And it continues. Only time to say hey here’s my day:

1) A labyrinth workshop with MA students! Can’t wait. In case you’ve forgotten about this walk I did a few months ago, go see. This time it’s an actual workshop which I’m fortunate enough to help lead: writing, walking, meditating. I long for the peace I know the few hours will bring, and the opening out. Long for it. Ends at 4 pm. Kid pick up — first M, then E — home by 5.30 pm.

2) THEN the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year gig. Now this promises to be a great night. Last year’s winner Vicky Wilson, Friend of Canterbury Festival Nick Hunt, and yours truly have combed the longlist to come up with the shortlist. The shortlist read. Music plays. I read, Vicky reads. We all enjoy listening to each other. Music plays. Winners announced! Photos taken! 

I had a wonderful time last year. If you fancy hearing some poetry — some good poetry — come along. If you fancy some good music — original music — come along. Fine, fine players and writers all. Believe me I know. I’ve read it and heard it.

Details:

Poetry & Music Evening

Thursday 9th October

8.00 pm at the Dominican Priory, Canterbury

(Bar available from 7.15/30 pm)


Tickets £5, available from
Festival Box Office 01227-378188
online : www.canterburyfestival.co.uk
or at the Door on the day from 7.00 pm.

Okay, not quite. It’s always on the verge of raining here, truth be told. Sigh.

However, there is quite a spring-y competition to tell you about. One in a line of several. This time it is for Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year. See lovely brochure photo.

Like last year, I’m one of the judges for it — and last year believe me we had a whale of a time. The judging was as it was (always interesting) but the celebration night was pretty spectacular. The way it works is: long-listed poems go into an anthology (available on the night); short-listed poets read their work on the night (along with yours truly). From that the top three places are decided, along with, this year, a performance prize. And there’s music. And all in all, it’s a ball. We had well over a hundred folks last year.

So. See flyer. And here are the entry form and rules. Deadline is the end of May. Once again: you know you want to. (p.s. sorry about the darkness of this: it’s colourful in ‘real life’. Can’t figure out why it’s coming up black-y! Oh well. Details are in the rules anyway…)

I HAVE MOVED

From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning

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Who am I?


A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.