Creating 2019

January 1, 2019

When it comes to the turning of the year, I, like many of you, tend to reflect on the trials and successes of the previous twelve months. Now I find I’d much rather look to 2019 and share with you ten elements of the work I am most passionate about engaging with this year.

  1. Finish a draft of my new novel by the year end.
  2. Seek publication for novel and poems and short stories I’ve completed this year. One of the prose poems I wrote in 2018 is to be published later in the year in The Valley Press Anthology of Prose Poetry. You can read from other contributors, my poem, how it came about and my thoughts on prose poetry at the blog site.
  3. Continue work on my next poetry pamphlet/collection. I already have a substantial number of poems towards this collection. A critiquing partnership with Matthew Hedley Stoppard is proving fruitful but I’m keen not to rush. 
  4. Develop creative writing community development work with the University of Leeds. I’ve relished the last 9 months of writing creatively with groups of adults across Leeds and Wakefield as part of the brilliant Lifelong Learning Team and am looking forward to more connections in 2019.
  5. Curate Speaking To The Shelves, a series of writing workshops with The Leeds Library and Leeds writers that are inspired by the library’s glorious collections. Tickets have been selling quickly and there is already a waiting list for the series but there is still availability for some individual events.
  6. Enter a new phase of work with the Bradford Young Writers and the Ilkley Young Writers with Michelle Scally Clarke. Successes in 2018 of group members have included competition wins and shortlists for page and performance poems including Frankie Wills who won first prize in the Leeds Peace Poetry Prize and Alex Elles-Arnison who came second in the South Square poetry open mic, and a sellout show by the Ilkley Young Writers. This year will see the groups expand into new media and we hope they will gain further deserved recognition for their work.
  7. Support Working Together with Rozi Fuller and Artlink West Yorkshire to be the eyes and ears of the ambitious Moving On project and develop an animation of their poem. The group were honoured with a visit from University of Leeds poetry fellow Vahni Capildeo in November whose practice in poetry rapportage will inform their contributions to the evaluation of the Moving On project. My colleague Rozi blogs about the group here.
  8. Develop Words on Skin with Michelle Scally Clarke, Sai Murray, Richard Bostock, Cherie Taylor Battiste, Ricky Venel Stone and Julie Easley. After the Ilkley Literature Festival appearance, one audience member wrote ‘It was a very powerful show. What I admired most was the way in which each ‘voice’ of poet turned common racial stereotypes inside out, embracing their complexity.’ We hope to take the show to other venues in 2019.
  9. Facilitate other workshops including in a school with The Poetry Society for World Book Day, for adults at Leeds City Museum and at Yorkshire Sculpture Park with families. Book here for the Leeds City Museum workshop on 12th March.
  10. Launch a writing and audio project with Imove, funding permitting.

Good luck with realizing your projects in 2019 whatever they are. I’ll let you know how I get on and hope that we can walk, ride or swim alongside one another for some of the year’s journey.

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