Sarah Hall wins the Portico Prize again

Congratulations to Sarah Hall, commiserations to Keith Richardson and Chris Wadsworth. Sarah Hall wins the biennial Portico for the second time in a row, and her slim volume of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference, has now racked up 16,000 in prize money after bagging the Edge Hill University prize this summer.

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Ratchings #01 Mrs Tiggywinkle pulls a pint

Ratchings will be an occasional series of raids on Cumbrias collective cultural memory, in search of treasure. We start with this life-enhancing obituary by the late Jonathan Williams for The Independent in 1998 a tribute to Poss Grey, the singular former landlady of the Britannia Inn at Elterwater (and other notable hostelries).

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Words Out West re-launch

Long-running writing group Words Out West is re-launching, refreshing, re-branding and generally rejuvenating itself. And as ever theyre open to new members, so if youre looking for a writing group in the Cockermouth area, this might be for you.

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New poetry reading in groups in Carlisle

Carlisle has not one but two poetry reading groups starting up this month one at independent bookshop Bookends, led by poet Malcolm Carson, and the other as part of Martyn Halsalls poet-in-residence stint at Carlisle Cathedral.

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Jacob Polley makes T S Eliot Prize shortlist

Cumbrian poet Jacob Polley is one of ten poets shortlisted for what Andrew Motion once called the prize most poets want to win. Polley is in the frame for his latest collection, The Havocs, due to be published by Picador on 8 November.

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Wake up call to Kingsnorth readers

Ulverston writer Paul Kingsnorth is aiming to publish his first novel, The Wake, through the revolutionary reader-funded publishing outfit Unbound. Set in the three years after the battle of Hastings, The Wake will tell the story of a fractured band of guerrilla fighters who take up arms against the Norman invaders.

If you like the idea of the book the authors pitch you pays your money and you takes your chance. Paul has 35% of the pledges he needs for the book to happen. Have your credit card handy and find out more>>

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Elvis is coming to Maryport

Stand-out stand-up poet Elvis McGonagall headlines this years Maryport LitFest at the Senhouse Roman Museum, performing alongside fellow BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live regular, Kate Fox. The festival opens on Friday 2 November with the heavyweight pairing of biographer and novelist Max Egremont and the grande dame of the Cumbrian art world, Mary Burkett.

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What will the libraries of the future look like?

The Arts Council is asking the question, and you might know the answer. Envisioning the library of the future is a programme of research and debate that will help to develop a long-term vision for public libraries in England.

Until midnight on 21 October, you can complete an online survey to tell the Arts Council what you value about libraries.

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Cumbrian writers in the Portico

Keith Richardson, Chris Wadsworth, and Sarah Hall are all shortlisted for the prestigious 10,000 Portico Prize. They face stiff competition from the likes of Simon Armitage, Joan Bakewell, A.S. Byatt, Jackie Kay, Jeanette Winterson, Val McDermid, and Jane Rogers and a long wait until the final winners are announced in late November.

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Poetry peg and more at Purple Lotuss Karma Koffee Cafe

Nope, you havent just walked into a scene from an undiscovered Jack Kerouac novel. Hopefully you might walk into this Carlisle caff though, and peg a poem on their poetry washing line.

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Poetry in the Cathedral

West Cumbrian writer Martyn Halsall will be seeking to raise the poetic profile of Carlisle Cathedral during the next year, as its Poet in Residence. We asked him to outline some of the ideas behind the appointment, and where it might lead.

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Swinging The Fire Crane

Its not just a piece of old iron, you wont find it on the back of a big red truck, and it hasnt got any feathers unless youve just plucked a chicken (or some other unfortunate fowl) over the hearth.

The Fire Crane, in fact, is Cumbrias first literary newspaper. And its FREE.

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Northern Writers Awards to return to Cumbria

Thanks to major changes in national arts policy and a spot of local boundary-changing, its almost ten years since a writer based in Cumbria had a sniff of success in one of the countrys best designed and generously funded award schemes. That could be about to change.

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