Tea break in Old Sodbury

Sophie Livingston wrote this month’s featured poem, ‘Old Sodbury’, while walking the Cotswold Way with her husband Jo. She says: ‘We’d spent a lot of the 100 miles talking about the stress in our lives. Walking always helps us get things in perspective – but the moment described in the poem when we took tea in the graveyard was one of those miraculous ones when all your worries suddenly seem trivial.’

Sophie worked as a journalist for 15 years before turning to fiction. Her work appears in national magazines and has been broadcast on BBC Radio. She was long listed for the InkTears flash fiction competition in 2017, the Fish Short Story Prize in 2020 and the Bath Short Story Prize this year. She was also long listed for the Mslexia/Poetry Book Society Prize in 2019. Recent work has featured in ArtemisPoetry (sic) and two Black Bough Poetry anthologies. During lockdown she founded the ‘Improbable Book Cafe’ (www.improbablebookcafe.co.uk) a virtual coffee shop for people to unwind and listen to mood-lifting short stories and poetry. To read Old Sodbury click on the ‘Poem of the Month’ logo above. You can listen to a recording of Old Sodbury, plus other poems and stories by clicking here.

Poem of the Month

This month’s featured writer is Selwyn Morgan. Until five years ago Selwyn wrote only to convey information; often of a technical nature. Nearing retirement, he found that it was fun to write down the stories that were triggered in his head when imagining the life and times of his ancestors. That led to the completion of his first novel, “Going Up Camborne Hill”, available on Amazon here.

Having been born in South Wales, he discovered his Cornish roots through on-line ancestry sites. He used the surnames and locations he uncovered for his novel and researched the history of the Cornish mining communities as a basis to his story.

Belonging to Somewhere Else Writers Group has inspired him to write and direct radio plays for Corinium Radio, have short stories published in Cirencester Scene; and he has even attempted the occasional poem.

Selwyn moved to the Cirencester area seven years ago, having lived and worked in Sussex for thirty years. Prior to that he lived in the Middle East (Kuwait and Jordan). He is now happy to remain here, close to the source of the Thames.

To read Selwyn’s poem ‘The five cent slots’ click on our poem of the month logo.

Story of the Month

This month’s featured work is ‘Grace Notes’ by Frank McMahon. Frank, whose first poetry collection, ‘At the Storm’s Edge, was published in 2020 by Palewell Press, has been invited to read at this year’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival and will be performing on July 19th (tickets available here). He is also featured reading one of his works, ‘A Different Land’ on the Improbable Book Cafe website. To listen to Frank, click here. To read Frank’s story, click on the Story of the Month logo, or on the menu above.

More Celebrations

Sophie Livingston’s poem ‘Origin of the Species’ is featured in the latest edition of the Artemis poetry journal. The bi-annual print magazine aims to be a showcase for the best in women’s writing from established and new women poets. Each issue includes poetry, reviews, articles and artwork. To find out more click here.

Steel Jackdaw

Edition 2 of Steel Jackdaw magazine is now available and it features work by Somewhere Else poets Iris Ann Lewis and Frank McMahon.The quarterly arts magazine, conceived by Jason Conway during the summer of 2020, aims to showcase the work of passionate and captivating creatives – and encourage people to make positive action to help protect the environment, and support community building. You can find out more by clicking here

Radio Gaga

Sophie Livingston was interviewed live on Sue Kinnear’s evening programme on BBC Radio Wiltshire this week after her story ‘Secret Recipes’ was chosen to be part of the BBC Upload programme. Sophie said: ‘Being interviewed live is pretty nerve-wracking, but I was thrilled the story was chosen, and Sue was lovely.’ The interview gave Sophie a chance to talk about The Improbable Book Cafe – a free website, where people can go to listen to short stories and poetry. To find out more click here – and to listen to the interview click here.