Daily Archives: October 23, 2009

MLF: Northern Salt



Ooh this was a great reading, at the beautiful Whitworth Gallery on a Sunday afternoon – perfect.



First of four, was Robert Graham, reading from his new book of short stories, The Only Living Boy


I got him confused admittedly, but I really enjoyed his tone and pace.  On looking to get a bit more info about him on the big wide web, I see there are a lot of other Robert Graham’s that I could mistake him for also.  There is a creator of shirts, a poet and politician who is now dead, and a Canadian anarchist and historian



This is the Robert Graham that wrote the novel Holy Joe and is the co-author of creative handwriting books.  He’s a really lovely chap who grew up around Northern Ireland and is a teacher of creative writing at MMU.  You can check him out, reading at Chorlton Book Festival on Thursday 12th Nov 8pm at Lloyds Hotel. http://ow.ly/vDLy9781844717217cov_W-7%20extra

Next up was Elizabeth Baines, she speaks of a newly precarious world, which I’m not quite grasping as the world surely has always been this way.  However, I really enjoyed her reading from the new novel Too Many magpies.  I am intrigued where the book will go as she plugs a mother, special powers and uncertainty.  Elizabeth is reading locally on Monday 9th November at the Lounge Bar, Wilbraham Road, Chorlton. 7 pm. Free, as part of Chorlton Book fest, and also at Manchester Central Library (2nd Dec)

But if  you happen to be in Prague in January you could see her there.

RecitalThird a funny chap John Siddique, a poet who read from his latest collection Recital – An Almamac explores love and politics throughout a year of lunar cycles. 

His poetry was beautiful at capturing so many different strands of humanity, in an approach which wasn’t candid.



Last and certainly my favourite, Mark Illis.  He read from his latest work Tender, which is book of linked short stories. tender

He chose to read one from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl, which he portrays realistically and humourously capturing me as a fan. 

Mark surprised me with his gentle nature when he was billed as having written for Emmerdale, Eastenders and The Bill, but his writing was beautiful and so was his delivery.

I’m looking out for another reading, as I went to him in despair afterwards because all his books had sold out, he very kindly recommended I could buy one and send it to him for signing, but I said I will hunt him down.

This has been one of my highlights of the festival, in terms of the venue and quality of the writers.



MLF:Crocus Debuts: Maya Chowdhry & Segun Lee French

graphicAt Central Library Committee room these two poets, who are winners of commonwords 30 poems competition, did a Saturday afternoon reading.

Maya Chowdry ticks all the boxes of what allows her to interweave multiple identities, as an asian lesbian, born in Scotland who wears a purple crushed velvet outfit adorned with faux flowers and sporting a flashing coat of arms.

Her poetry tries to interweave the irony of how curry is the number one dish in Britain, and infuses modern culture with its roots, but hearing about curry made in a hurry was not for me.

Segun Lee French combined his written poetry with occasional bursts into song, which I really enjoyed. I would like to see him do just performance poetry, which he said he was better known for.

He spoke of his Nigerian mother giving birth to him and his twin brother, after 3 weeks his twin died and the mother was to care for a doll replacement, as part of the grieving process.  He played with my imagination by telling me his own truths, which really appealed to me.

All in all, I love going to central library to hear poetry, the venue’s ideal and Libby Tempest is just so lovely, I want to be her one day.

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