I mentioned the Word Soup birthday party in my last post. For the longer term blog readers, you’ll know that I helped start Word Soup in April last year – working as an associate artist for They Eat Culture. The placement developed into a job and for a few months I helped set up and develop the project into the Lancashire Writing Hub. In February of this year I decided to concentrate on other things and hand the job over to Jane Brunning, who was responsible for organising Word Soup’s first birthday party and publication.
And, seeing as the night takes place very, very near to my house, I thought it would be okay to disobey doctor’s orders about Taking It Easy and sneak out and listen to the readers. It was the first Word Soup I’ve ever been to where I wasn’t nervous – wasn’t reading, compering, hosting, looking after writers, checking the band knew about the format of the night, making sure everyone had arrived and preparing my chair and whip just in case they were needed during the open mike slots…
It was brilliant to go and sit back and listen (and not be responsible for anything…) and see how the night has developed. There are more writers wanting to read on the stage, a keen and varied set of open-mikers, innovative publicity that involved projecting extracts from the anthology on buildings around Lancashire in advance of the launch, great music and an audience that’s easily double anything we saw in the first few Word Soups.
I still remember having to regularly explain what live lit and reading nights were when we first started promoting in Preston – now we’ve made links with our friends in Lancaster, Blackpool and Cumbria who are running similar regular events, it really feels like Lancashire is developing a writing community – one it didn’t have when I came out of the other end of my MA in Creative Writing a few years ago and started looking around my home town for things I could get involved in.
Word Soup: Year One features poetry and prose from – Tom Fletcher The Best Seat – Sarah Hymas “An Incorruptible Aura” and “I have Desire, My Desire is Great” – Socrates Adams Ambition – Nicholas Royle Snap – AJ Duggan A Blizzard of Knives – Mollie Baxter Five Rooms – Norman Hadley “Pity Friend” and “The Mardale Dive” – Rachel McGladdery “Little Clock” – Sandy Calico My Old Man – JA Brunning Dragon – and Peter Wild Upon a Rock, and features extracts from photo-documentary “Outsiders” by Garry Cook.
Because I helped a bit with the editing of the book, I got a special present while I was there – five beautifully bound, limited edition copies of the anthology. Soon you’re going to be able to order them direct from the Lancashire Writing Hub website, but in the meantime (if you’re feeling lucky) leave a comment here (UK readers only, I’m afraid – because I’m too tight to pay international postage) and promise to talk about it on your blog / twitter and I’ll post you one of mine for free.
I’ve got four to give away, because I want to keep the best one for myself. If there’s more than four of you, it’s either first come first served, or names out of a hat, depending on what sort of mood I’m in.