Friday, January 30, 2015

BACK INTO THE STUDIO WITH MICHELLE

Had some fun yesterday with Michelle Ward who presents her radio programme on Phoenix 98fm every morning and enjoys a growing following, supported by the Brentwood Gazette.   Each month she  offers a warm welcome to me and a guest author/poet/journalist on to her programme.  January's man of the moment is Barry Kirk who is an artist, photographer, journalist and former newspaper editor and, we now know - an actor, so our Book Club feature was quite an action packed event. 




 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

VISIT CHICKEN AND FROG BOOKSHOP, FOR THE CREAM OF CHILDREN''S NEW BEST SELLERS

This seems a fertile time for writers and, indeed, readers, I have some interesting editors and authors lined up for Michelle Ward's Book Club morning programme on Phoenix 98fm starting on 29 January at 11.30am. Looking forward to welcoming Barry Kirk, well-known newspaper editor, photographer, journalist and actor.


Yesterday's peformance at Brentwood Theatre  of the celebration of the new Young Adult novel  Devilskein & Dearlove by South African author Alex Smith, has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2015.  This is a thrilling endorsement for this small publishing house of Arachne Press - with just six books on their publishing list.   Enjoyed meeting their chief  Cherry Potts (adore her name),  The UK trailer can be viewed via this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sERXgtkW1Fw&feature=youtu.be




To celebrate this very different new book, Cherry and her team produced a video and reading by a professional actor who performed to students of three main schools in Brentwood. The youngsters asked questions of Alex by means of recordings, which no doubt the author will answer in due course.  Quite an unusual afternoon and also a chance to meet up with supersonic theatre boss Mark Reed and his team. Always a joy!  Natasha Radford, owner of Chicken and Frog bookshop, Brentwood has signed copies of Alex's book at a special price - contact her at sales@chickenandfrog.co.uk 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

MY LATEST FEATURE IN BRENTWOOD GAZETTE - TOPIC IS THE UNIVERSITY OF THE THIRD AGE

I've always had a soft spot for the U3A which I reckon is one of the brightest ideas from Michael Young, Peter Haslet and Eric Midwinter way back in 1982.  Brilliant chaps, all of them, and it was Eric who reckoned the idea would catch on around the world. It did - and thrives like no other organisation, certainly in this area.

Have received an amazing number of calls in connection with my current feature in Brentwood, Billericay and Wickford Gazette.  There are more than 40 topics to study at my local U3A and even if there is little time to spare (a lot of us are still working throughout the day), their monthly gathering in Billericay is always interesting and such fun meeting new people.  An antidote for loneliness perhaps...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BARKING & DAGENHAM FROM OLD PHOTOGRAPHS

Now that my latest book is being read and reviewed in local and regional newspapers, it is lovely to meet up with some of the contributors to this, my tenth title. I thank Amberley Publishing Limited and all the super organisers of Christmas events who asked me to come along to sign my book and take part in their Christmas celebrations - it was a busy time covering the Borough, but enjoyed seven 'meet and greets'.  Managed several radio programmes including BBC Essex and Phoenix 98fm and even tucked in a little filming at Eastbury Manor House and made more friends.  There are many folk interested in the heritage (and there is quite a lot to learn) of this London Borough with many hidden tales. In four years it will reach its centenary.

Thanks are also offered to local journalist Brian Lynch who was brought up in Dagenham and who gave me some unique recollections of his youth. The book can be found in W H Smith, Waterstones and most bookshops, particularly Newham Books 747 Barking Road, London E13 9ER Swan Books, 7 Corbets Tey Road, Upminster and from Amazon.   

Saturday, January 10, 2015

NOW WE KNOW WHO WILL BE APPEARING AT THE UPCOMING ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL - METAMORPHOSIS IS THIS YEAR'S THEME

Essex Book Festival programme brochures  are now in Essex Libraries and it was great to deliver a batch to the Brentwood Writers' Circle this afternoon.  

As a Patron of the EBF for many years, I've always been pleased to publicise this great annual celebration of the work of our best authors in Britain.  This year we will be welcoming more than 100 authors, dramatists, poets, artists and filmmakers starting from the official launch on Sunday 1 March at 2.30pm at Southend-on-Sea's Forum in Elmer Square, SS1 1NE.

Shami Chakrabarti CBE is the new Chancellor at the University of Essex and she will be in Southend at the grand launch. Learn more at:

ESSEXBOOKFESTIVAL.ORG.UK  Bookings: 01206 573948



Sunday, January 04, 2015

THE 2015 ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL IS COMING!

Hot off the press.  The Essex Book Festival for 2015 is going to be bigger and better than ever before.  Wait till you see the line-up.  Absolutely fabulous, can't wait to receive my programme. 

The whole event kicks off on March 1st and we have the chance of welcoming more than 100 writers, dramatists, filmmakers, poets, artists and creative folk to our county, who  will be entertaining our audiences for the whole month of March. 

As Ros Green, our Festival Director says:

The programme includes everyone from the ever popular crime writer/poet Sophie Hannah and the iconic comic poet Pam Ayres, through to ex-Home Secretary Labour MP Alan Johnson, Winner of The Orwell Prize 2014 for his memoir 'This Boy', and debut author Jessie Burton, Winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year 2014 for her best-selling novel 'The Miniaturist'.
Our festival theme for 2015 is METAMORPHOSIS. This  marks two new festival strands: a Human Rights strand, which will be launched by Shami Chakrabarti, Director of 'Liberty', and an Art strand, which will be launched by Maggi Hambling, one of the UK's most distinguished contemporary artists. 
It also recognises our exciting new partnership with Southend Libraries. Together, that is, with our inaugural international literary twinning with Poland,  which fittingly will culminate in a Polish/UK writer's event 'Literary Piers' in The Cultural Centre at the end of the world's longest pleasure pier in Southend-on-Sea.
Lots of fun and exciting literary events planned which will most certainly brighten up thoughts of spring ahead of us. Watch this space for photographs and news.  Tickets on sale from 7 January.   Programmes can be obtained from local libraries.