Nothing Is As It Was published on Earth Day

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Retreat West’s Climate Fiction anthology ‘Nothing Is As It Was‘ was officially released on Sunday 22nd April.

The book contains Stephen Connolly’s short piece ‘The Window Box‘ (an extract from a novel-in-progress) and is available from Amazon in both eBook and paperback formats.

Proceeds raised from the book sales will be donated to support the work of the climate action group, Earth Day Network.

Sky Pilots recording

BBC Solent Ticket (small)Stephen Connolly’s radio play ‘Sky Pilots’ was recorded on 12th April before a live audience at Thornden Hall near Southampton.

The three winning plays in the BBC Solent Search for new Radio Playwrights competition – Ben White’s ‘The Family Way’, Gillian Palmer/Georgina Pitts’ ‘Searching’ and Stephen Connolly’s ‘Sky Pilots’ will all be broadcast by BBC Solent in May.

More details on Stephen’s blog.

Find Me Words

cropped-not-a-silent-poet-grant-tarbard1Another success for Frank McMahon whose poem ‘Find Me Words’ has been chosen by Reuben Woolley for publication in ‘I am not a silent poet’ the online magazine for poetry and artwork protesting against abuse in any of its forms.

The central stanzas in the poem are these:

 

Find me powers to lay across
their desks and war-room floors broken
bones and flesh, find me powers to
make them cradle in their arms

the headless child, to salve her mother’s
napalm-shredded skin, unclog
the students’ gas-filled lungs, prise out
the shards of shrapnel while they order

more assaults.’

Frank said: “I write because I must, despite knowing that one lone voice, or even a million voices, may be helpless to prevent wars and conflicts. The distance between launching a war and the suffering which follows is so great as to destroy compassion, empathy and conscience.”

The full poem can be read here

Big Thank You to Rona

28701171_10209027468804063_7797712588246516322_oGloucestershire writers have joined forces to thank Rona Laycock for her work in encouraging and promoting local authors.

The monthly ‘Writers in the Brewery’ get-together at Cirencester’s Brewery Arts Centre has been a showcase and a source of inspiration for new writers for nearly 10 years, thanks to Rona’s hard work as organiser.

Members of Somewhere Else Writers and Rona’s own Catchword group paid tribute to her generosity in a presentation at Catchword’s Ashcroft Road base this month.

In a separate ceremony Rona was also named winner of a Cheltenham Arts Council Award for her services to Gloucestershire Writers’ Network. The network acts as an information hub for writers throughout the county – and also organises an annual competition offering local writers the chance to perform their work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

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Editing with Jim McCue

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Respected writer, critic and editor Jim McCue stressed the importance of clarity and precision of expression in a masterclass for Somewhere Else Writers this week.

Jim, a former editor and columnist on The Times, dissected a number of texts, including pieces by the group, to illustrate how incisive analysis of the words and phrasing we choose could improve the quality of our writing.

He is joint editor with Christopher Ricks of The Poems of T. S. Eliot, named Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year. He has edited and given editorial advice on books for Penguin, Oxford University Press, Faber, the British Library and others.

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Sky Pilots on the BBC

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 13.54.01Stephen Connolly’s short play ‘Sky Pilots’ has been selected as one of 3 that will be performed and recorded by BBC Radio Solent next Month.

The brief was for 15 minute scripts, with a connection to Dorset, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight. Over 370 scripts were entered, which were narrowed down to a short-list of 10, before the winners were announced on BBC Radio Solent on Friday 16th March, Stephen hearing the news while he was being interviewed live on air by Julian Clegg. All 3 plays will be performed at Thornden Hall, Chandler’s Ford on Thursday 12th April 2018.

Stephen’s play ‘Sky Pilots’ is a romantic comedy set in a hot-air balloon. Prim, recently ordained vicar Jonathan is taken for a hot-air balloon ride by his wacky balloonist girlfriend Lucy (Sky Pilot a euphemism for vicar). The wind dies, leaving them marooned above the most embarrassing landmark in England, the Cerne Abbas Giant, forcing them to re-evaluate their relationship: can two very different people make a life together?

To listen to the interviews, go here.

Retreat West : Nothing Is As It Was

retreat__book_logo-small1Stephen Connolly’s short piece ‘The Window Box’ has been selected by Retreat West Books for inclusion in their Climate Change (AKA Cli-Fi) anthology ‘Nothing Is As It Was’ named from a story by Nick Ryle Wright.

The anthology will be published in April to raise funds for the Earth Day Network. There will be 33 stories included in the paperback and ebook anthology, and others will be published on the website in the run up to launch date, with the option to make a voluntary donation included with each.

The Window Box is the first chapter of a novel entitled ‘The Fourteenth Duke of Plimsoll’, more details here.

Retreat West will soon be launching another charity anthology celebrating the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Supporting Abused Women on V-Day

gdasslogoMembers of Somewhere Else Writers attended an evening of dramatic monologues in Cheltenham this week to raise awareness and funds for abused women.

The V-Day event, coordinated by University of Gloucestershire lecturer in dramatic writing, Senja Andrejevic-Bullock, featured work by some of the biggest names in contemporary literature and drama, including Maya Angelou. They were performed by students at the university.

V-Day is a global campaign founded by Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues, to help stop violence against women. Money raised from the event will go to Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service. After the event, service manager Sally Morrissey spoke inspiringly about the need for greater understanding of the psychology of abuse.