Your neighbour may be the next to pick up a gun and go ape

Writer and Penniless Press editor Alan Dent went to Whitehaven for a job interview in 1977, at the time of the Windscale Inquiry (into the proposal to build the thermal oxide reprocessing plant – THORP), and hasn’t been back since.

He revisits in a discursive meditation on Derrick Bird’s shooting spree and a forensic analysis of the cultural assumptions that riddled the media coverage. The stereotypes he identifies, deconstructs and demolishes include ‘close-knit communities’, ‘rolling hills’, ‘ordinary blokes’, ‘real England’ and, by default, the whole notion of Cumbria and the Lake District. Read more …

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Flood of poems forecast for Cockermouth

New Writing Cumbria is pleased to be supporting a unique new poetry project in Cockermouth. A flow of words rather than water will mark the first anniversary of the floods in West Cumbria, thanks to local poet Michael Baron.

He has joined forces with Joan Hetherington, of Cockermouth Soroptimists, to create a Poetry Walk, with a vast range of specially commissioned poster poems on display in town centre shops and businesses. From the writings of Wordsworth, Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney and Sir Andrew Motion, to the words of schoolchildren and residents, the poems will remain on show from 19 November until (at least) 26 November.

Read more and download the Poetry Walk leaflet …

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Competitions latest

All the competitions with November closing dates (that we know of – tell us if there’s anything missing). Highlights include the £1000 Cafe Writers Poetry Competition, The Poetry Business’s Book and Pamphlet Competition, and the excellent Escalator Poetry Competition aimed at emerging talents – no cash, but piles of professional support and mentoring.

Read more …

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National Poetry Day on Radio Cumbria

At the invitation of producer Joan Armstrong, New Writing Cumbria’s Mick North spent the morning of National Poetry Day at BBC Radio Cumbria’s Carlisle studios. The challenge was to put together a series of collaborative poems on the theme of Home, using single lines sent in by listeners by text, email, and on the phone.

Read the results here …

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Litfest is looking for Singles

Lancaster Litfest’s publishing imprint, Flax, is inviting submissions from writers living in the North West. Singles (Flax 023 – 025) will be a series of online chapbooks. Flax are looking for three writers who already have a poetry pamphlet or collection, or a short story collection or a novel published, and are working on a new project.

Read more …

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Pages Ago and Flashback Fiction

Pages Ago is a promotion of history reading which is running in North West Libraries during 2010. History reaches into all genres of writing and the fact that a huge historical novel, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, won the Man Booker Prize in 2009 is testimony to the fact that historical fiction is now taken more seriously than it used to be.

As part of the promotion – organised by Time to Read, the North West Readers Development Partnership – readers from across the region are invited to enter the Flashback Fiction competition. Local and regional prizes will be awarded at the end of the promotion in December 2010. Read more …

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New worlds through books at Lancaster Literature Festival

A packed programme of writers is lining up for Lancaster Literature Festival in October. The festival runs from October 15 – 24, and the headline guest is the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

This year Litfest urges anyone who loves reading to let their mind wander – as it offers the chance to escape to new worlds through the pages of books. Audiences can join an Arctic expedition, travel to fairytale places where clothes are made of paper and moss, or go behind the scenes of a TV show where death is the ultimate infamy.

Read more …

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Get Writing with Litfest’s Writing Workshops

A new series of writing workshops starting this autumn is offering writers the chance to develop their craft.

Litfest, which runs Lancaster Literature Festival, has organised the workshops – and whether you’re a beginner blogger or a would-be screenwriter, a poet or someone wanting to write short stories, there’s something for you. Read more …

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Nicholson re-discovered

Writer Paul Kingsnorth – author of One No, Many Yeses: a journey to the heart of the global resistance movement and Real England: The Battle Against The Bland – hadn’t heard of Norman Nicholson until he moved to Cumbria last year.

Kingsnorth is also the co-founder of The Dark Mountain Project, “a new cultural movement for an age of global disruption”. In Nicholson – “a writer who hunkers down, stays in his place, gets to know it but also comes to realise that he is just passing through it” – he finds an unlikely kindred spirit.

Read more …

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Love in Maryport

Poet Angela Locke is busy organising a third literary festival for the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport, subtitled Venus at the Gate: Incarnations of Love. The name draws inspiration from one of the museum’s collection of Roman stones depicting the goddess, and there’s a poetry competition exploring the same theme.

Eat your heart out here …

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