Bookwise I am very interested in helping groups gain a deeper appreciation of the books they are reading and have done this in the past by preparing and leading discussions. I normally read the book at the same time as the group then lead them through some of its aspects that an author might notice. If time allowed this could be taken further to include, for instance, responses in poetry, imaginative developments of characters, new plots. Sessions I have led in the past have been at the Birmingham Literature Festival in October 2015 and at existing readers’ groups in the West Midlands.
Paperverse is a creative combination of poetry and simple folded and decorated booklets. I have used existing published poems or encouraged participants to write their own in the session. These are then turned into colourful concertina-style poem presentations or fold-out A4 booklets. This approach encourages people to think about how words look on a page and how booklets might be designed. It gives an appreciation of the publishing process and is also great fun. It can be equally effective with short prose or stories and has been hugely enjoyed by participants who normally take away the finished products for keepsakes or for use as gifts or cards. All materials included. The workshop is usually two or three hours. I have run this in the past with Marion Cockin of Offa’s Press.
A performance of poetry with live original piano music by Dan Phelps including the poem River Passage is supplemented with other readings and music. We are currently working on poetry/ music for the Wilfred Owen festival in November 2018 which is relevant in time and location. This is an unusual and wide-ranging presentation of music and words.
For those interested in writing poetry or prose I have led many workshops aimed both at beginners and those wishing to take their work to the next level. Libraries are particularly suited to this. Subjects have included setting and place, structure of the novel, flash fiction, homes and homelessness (with the charity Stay), researching the ordinary, families. These workshops could be developed to include areas of special interest to a particular library and a small publication of the work produced. I have also provided individual mentoring to people who wish to develop their writing further.