Tag Archives: writing

A Welsh retreat for writers

You’ve probably noticed that we’re big fans of writing over here at We Are Cardiff. We presume some of you are as well. You might even be writers, or just want time to spend on your writing. So … it’s not in Cardiff … but if you need an excuse to head into the incredible countryside of north west Wales, and want some time to focus on your writing, Ty Newydd is the perfect spot.

Ty Newydd Gwynedd

The creative writing centre is run by Literature Wales, and features a series of courses, workshops and retreats throughout the year. Ty Newydd is a pretty sweet place to focus on your work … and Criccieth isn’t bad, either!

Cricieth

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Tŷ Newydd

The courses for this year cover everything from poetry, to non-fiction memoir, to young adult mythology. View all Ty Newydd’s courses on their site (or scroll to the bottom of this article to go through them all).

We Are Cardiff went along to a Yoga and Writing class that took place in 2017 – a three day course that combines two creative practices that energise one another: yoga, plus writing. There was also meditation, breathing, and movement with writing exercises, added to some Hindu mythology and free time to write in the blissful surroundings of Tŷ Newydd. It was ace to meet guest reader Vivienne Rickman-Poole, photographer, film maker and outdoor swimmer who lives in Snowdonia (we followed her #swimsnowdonia project for some time now – she even took us for an outdoor dip!)

If you love the idea of attending a course at Ty Newydd, but aren’t sure you can afford it, Ty Newydd also offer bursaries and financial support for people to attend. Find out more: Ty Newydd financial support

Ty Newydd – view all courses 

More beautiful images of gorgeous Criccieth:

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Cardiff Book Festival – We Are Cardiff’s top picks!

Cardiff Book Festival started off as a fairly modest affair last year, but this year it’s bigger, brighter, and even has its own literary-themed disco! We’ve combed through the programme (the best value ticket is a weekend wristband for £30, btw) and found our picks for the weekend. So get your read on, and let’s go …

Cardiff Book Festival: Where the written word comes alive, aloud, and off the page in the Welsh capital!

Friday 22 – Sunday 24 September, The Angel Hotel, Cardiff

OUR PICKS:

Friday 22 September

 

Catherine Mayer – Attack of the 50 Ft. Women: How Gender Equality Can Save The World!

7.15 PM – DRAGON SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

Not a single country anywhere in the world has achieved gender equality. In more than a few countries, progress for women has stalled or is reversing. If gender equality promises benefits not just to women, but to everyone, why aren’t we embracing it? And how can we speed the pace of change? In ‘Attack of the 50 Ft. Women’, journalist and co-founder of The Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer tackles those questions and many more, sharing inside views and experiences. In her insightful, revelatory, often hilarious, and hugely inspiring book, Catherine Mayer takes us to a place she calls Equalia. What is it like? Does gender equality make for a society that is more equal in other ways too? Who does the low-paid jobs? How does gender express itself in a place freed from gender programming? What’s the sex like? What’s on the telly? (£7 full price, £5 concessions)

Dylan Jones on David Bowie: A Life in conversation with Mike Williams sponsored by Capital Law

8.30PM – DRAGON SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

Dylan Jones is the award-winning editor of GQ magazine, a position he has held since 1999, winning the British Society of Magazine Editors “Editor of the Year” award a record ten times. A former editor at i-D, The Face, Arena, the Observer and the Sunday Times, he is the author of New York Times best sellers on musical heroes including Jim Morrison and Elvis. His new book David Bowie- A Life is an engrossing, magisterial biography unlike any Bowie story ever written. It’s an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time. Drawn from over 180 interviews with friends, rivals, lovers, and collaborators, some of whom have never before spoken about their relationship with Bowie, this oral history weaves a hypnotic spell as it unfolds the story of a remarkable rise to stardom and an unparalleled artistic path. By turns insightful and deliciously gossipy, David Bowie- A Life is as intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn. It sparks with illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones’s interviews with him across two decades. Dylan will be interviewed by Mike Williams, the editor-in-chief of NME, himself a winner of the British Society of Magazine Editors “Editor of the Year” award during his time at Kruger Magazine, which is where I also cut my journalistic teeth. RIP KRUGER. (£7 full price, £5 concessions)

 

Saturday 23 September

Scientists of Wales/Gwyddonwyr Cymru

1PM – PRINCE OF WALES SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

The University of Wales’ series of books Scientists of Wales/Gwyddonwyr Cymru charts the lives, times and works of Welsh scientists, and of people active in science in Wales. This event will see lively discussion in Welsh and English about Wales’ place on science’s world map, taking in the stories of William Robert Grove, a pioneering researcher who anticipated the general theory of the conservation of energy, and was a pioneer of fuel cell technology and Evan James Williams, whose work included attempting to prove the existence of Hidiki Yukawa’s hypothetical pi mesonparticle, and working on the MDS (magnetic detection of submarines) system to tackle the U-boat menace of World War II. (£5/£3)

 

35 years of Fighting Fantasy with Ian Livingstone

2.30 PM – DRAGON SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

Ian co-founded iconic games company Games Workshop with Steve Jackson in 1975, launching Dungeons & Dragons in Europe. In 1982, he co-authored The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook in the series which has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide. His best-selling titles include City of Thieves, Forest of Doom and Deathtrap Dungeon, and his new book, The Port of Peril, marks the 35th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy. When serving as Executive Chairman at Eidos, he launched global video games blockbusters including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Ian has a passionate belief in the power of play as a contextual hub for learning, and he is a leading advocate for the importance of having Computing on the National Curriculum. His book Hacking the Curriculum is an essential guide for teachers to promote creativity, computational thinking and problem solving in the classroom – meta skills for the digital age. He was awarded a BAFTA Special Award in 2002 and a CBE in 2013. Ian will share a reflection on his career before a Q & A session chaired by BBC Radio 1’s Steffan Powell. (£7/£5)

 

Sanctuary – Refugee writing in Wales

8.15PM – PRINCE OF WALES SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

Eric Ngalle Charles is a poet, dramatist and novelist and a former Cameroon refugee. His first book ‘Asylum’ deals with what it means to be a refugee, caught between two worlds, destitute and unable to move forward with one’s life. He’s joined by others seeking asylum and refuge in Wales whose stories, poetry and essays about their journeys feature the extraordinary histories of the men, women and children who are seeking sanctuary in Wales. (£5/£3)

 

Sunday 24 September

Merthyr: the crucible of modern Wales? Sponsored by Modern Wales, Parthian

1PM – PRINCE OF WALES SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

Dai Smith interrogates Joe England’s claim that Merthyr was the crucible in the development of Wales in the 19th Century and moving on a century asks why Huw Lewis’s moving memoir of growing up in Aberfan in the 1960s and 1970s, The Skylark’s Song, has so much to say about the past as a foreign country. (£5/3)

 

How Bullshit Conquered the World with James Ball

2.30 PM – DRAGON SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

2016 marked the birth of the post-truth era. Sophistry and spin have coloured politics since the dawn of time, but two shock events – the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s elevation to US President – heralded a departure into murkier territory. This is the story of bullshit: what’s being spread, who’s spreading it, why it works – and what we can do to tackle it. This is bigger than fake news and bigger than social media. It’s about the slow rise of a political, media and online infrastructure that has devalued truth. The Pulitzer Prize-winning James Ball should know. He’s worked in political, data and investigative journalism in the US and the UK for BuzzFeed, The Guardian and the Washington Post in a career spanning TV, digital, print and alternative media. (£5/£3)

 

Neil M.C. Sinclair

6.30PM – DRAGON SUITE, THE ANGEL HOTEL

Afro-Celtic author and historian, Neil M.C. Sinclair is a native of Tiger Bay, the oldest multi-ethnic community in Wales. He has written extensively on the history of his unique hometown, a place which is now the subject of the new musical ‘Tiger Bay’, premiering in Cardiff this November. Sinclair’s insider’s view of the area draws on personal memories, family history and a lifetime’s worth of connections within one of Cardiff’s most celebrated communities. Supported by Wales Millennium Centre’s Tiger Bay the Musical, 13th-25th November 2017. (£5/£3)

 

Buy a festival wristband or choose your tickets here: Cardiff Book Festival tickets (on eventbrite)

Cardiff Book Festival website

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Yoga and Writing: The Sun in the Self writing retreat

This summer, blog kween Phoenix headed up to Criccieth for a short writing retreat at the Literature Wales house, Tŷ Newydd. Here’s what she got up to.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a reluctant writer. I long to indulge that part of myself that creates words, but I find sitting down for periods of time difficult. My day job involves a lot of spreadsheets and emails, which makes the occasions where I’m trying to do creative work that involves my laptop even harder. Also there’s all that stuff about YOU’RE A WRITER CALL YOURSELF A MOTHERFLIPPING WRITER. But also cringe, and pride, and all those things.

Anyway. So I’d been thinking about doing a writing course for a while, but the thought of being so stationary (sit down and write!) kept putting me off. Some joyous synchronicity in my life, then, that drew my attention to a Literature Wales course, Yoga and Writing: The Sun in the Self. The course promised to combine meditation and movement, seeing what ideas we could generate – what we could churn up from the milky sea within – over five days in the beautiful house up in Criccieth. (Also an amazing excuse to get myself up to north Wales – in amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK). 

And it really is an incredible setting. Originally built in the fifteenth century, Tŷ Newydd is a Grade II* listed building that was the last home of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and the grounds were restyled by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (of Portmeirion fame) in the 1940s. The gardens are full of thick, edible hedgerows (the rosemary bushes are thick and pungent, and absolutely amazing in Tony’s focaccia – more about Tony shortly!).

Our programme over the week consisted of morning meditation, storytelling, writing exercises and yoga practise every day, with free time in the afternoons for wandering and absorbing from the beautiful surroundings. Our practice was facilitated and led by yoga instructor and writer Sian Melangell Dafydd, who is totally fabulous and is currently based in Paris (which just adds to her fabulousness as far as I’m concerned), but leads workshops back in the UK throughout the year. She told us stories from Hindu mythology, focusing around water as the main theme for the week. The milky sea was a reference to our own deep consciousness … and how the practical aspects of the week and the exercises would help us churn up ideas and new themes for our own artistic work.

We also had two awe-inspiring female artists come to share their work with us: the first was Vivienne Rickman-Poole, a wild swimmer whose photography has been featured in the Guardian and other places … and Amali Rodrigo, a Sri Lankan poet who now lives in London, and who focuses on using mandalas in her creative work.

Also Vivienne took us wild swimming to a Snowdonia mountain lake! A lifetime highlight. No jokes.

On the last day, I took advantage of the afternoon free time to do some solo exploring, seeking out an abandoned local mansion that Sian had visited some years before: Plas Gwynfryn Mansion. I got covered in soggy cow pats and possibly wandered a little way off the public footpath. But it was so incredibly worth it.

It was one of the most stimulating and challenging experiences of my entire life. Besides the visiting artists, and Sian, the other people on the course all brought with them their own ideas about writing, poetry, art, yoga, and artistic living. The exercises that we did, along with the visiting artists and the free time all served to challenge me to generate new ideas, and challenge existing modes of thinking I was stuck in, especially with my writing.

Also, I can’t really complete the review without saying something about the house’s chef, Tony. I’m not a vegan, or even a vegetarian – but we had vegan food all week, and it was absolutely delicious. I volunteered in the kitchen one afternoon, and Tony even showed me how to make focaccia, a skill that I have brought home with me … and don’t intend to forget.

So in conclusion: it was the perfect retreat, and I would absolutely recommend to anyone who’s looking for a few days out to indulge their “inner child” in. 

And if all the yoga and meditation sounds a bit much for you, Tŷ Newydd also has a whole range of other kinds of writing courses – specialising on poetry, non-fiction, memoir, scripting, short stories, and even modern mythology, delivered in English and also some courses in Welsh. A highly recommended investment in your writing self.

Ty Newydd

Literature Wales

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Cardiff Book Festival 2016 – our picks, full line up and ticket information

cardiff_book_festivalThe Cardiff Book Festival programme has been announced! A weekend of bookish delights and literary indulgence await, featuring literary heroes like Miranda Sawyer and Deborah Moggach. Whoop!

The festival takes place over the last weekend of October (from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 October) in various venues across Cardiff – more details at the bottom of this post.

Read on for our picks of the weekend and details about tickets!

We Are Cardiff’s festival picks!

Improve your Writing: Poetry, Short Story and Novel Writing workshops

28.10.16 – 9.30am to 12.30pm, Cardiff Central Library, Meeting Room 4

A unique opportunity to write with and learn from some of the most exciting names in Welsh fiction. Let our authors guide you through the finer points of fiction, poetry and short story writing, whether you’re just starting out or have been in the world of words for year. Poetry will be taught by prize-winning Jonathan Edwards, whose work has been widely published in magazines such as Poetry Review. Dan Tyte is an acclaimed novelist and writer- he will guide you through getting your novel into shape. The brilliant, award-winning Rachel Trezise burst onto the literary scene at the age of 22 becoming one of the most original writers of her generation. She’ll teach you the art of the short story. Join us for a one-off event that any aspiring author will not want to miss.

Workshops: Getting Published

28.10.16 – 1pm to 4pm, Cardiff Central Library, Meeting Room 4

Need help navigating the often complex process of publishing your work? The Getting Published masterclass covers everything you need to know to get into print. From exploring self-publishing options, how to find an agent and a publisher, building an author profile and platform, tips on how to get your book to sell and much more. With advice from industry experts including Hazel Cushion, the founder and managing director of Accent Press and Richard Davies, director of Parthian, this masterclass is a one stop shop for all your publishing needs.

Owen Sheers: On Life, In Words

28.10.16, 6pm. Yr Hen Lyfrgell

From Zimbabwe (The Dust Diaries), to the war torn fields of Pink Mist, or the rugby pitch in his non-fiction work, Calon, wherever his writing takes him, Owen Sheers\u2019 heart is still in Wales. His latest novel, I Saw a Man, is a gripping and stylish novel and he’s now renowned as one of the best contemporary writers. Owen’s novels, poetry and screenwriting are known all across the world. Chaired by Felicity Evans.

The Debuts, Laura Powell and Dan Tyte

29.10.16 – 10am–11am Cardiff Central Library, 5th Floor Creative Suite

They say everyone has one good book in them. Few ever get round to writing it, far less getting it published. Telegraph journalist, Laura Powell, traded fact for fiction with her debut novel, The Unforgotten, a thriller featuring forbidden love and a serial killer. Dan Tyte’s debut, Half Plus Seven, sees a jaded PR man in search of some sort of meaning in a book described as “a coming of age novel snorting with energy.

Roald Dahl Tour

29.10.16 – 11am, The City Cross at Cathedral Green, Llandaff

A hunt for what remains of one of the finest writers Wales has produced with author and poet Peter Finch. Dahl was born here in 1916 and left for boarding school when he was 10. In that time he managed to live in three different houses and to move around Cardiff enough for the city to seep into his creative consciousness. We visit his birthplace and take in other places of historical significance. This two-hour walk is aimed at adults but children are welcome.”

Miranda Sawyer – Mid-Life Moments

29.10.16 – 4.30pm, The Angel Hotel

What exactly is a mid-life crisis, and what happens when one arrives? The respected journalist and broadcaster Miranda Sawyer tackles this most challenging of times with humour and candid insight in her book Out of Time. For Sawyer, her mid-life crisis made its presence felt when she was 44. Here she discusses how our tastes and our bodies change as we get older; and the unexpected new pleasures the second half of life can offer.

Elliw Gwawr –  Living the Sweet Life (Welsh language event)

30.10.16 – 11.30am, Yr Hen Lyfrgell

BBC Cymru Wales’ Westminster Correspondent Elliw Gwawr swaps politics for puddings as she discusses her passion for baking. Gwawr has enjoyed cooking since she was a child, and following the success of ‘Paned a Chacen’ the first ever Welsh language baking blog, has gone on to publish two hugely popular books ‘Paned a Chacen’ and ‘Pobi.’ Filled with her favourite recipes for puddings, cakes and biscuits, Gwawr’s books are enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Jasmine Donahaye– Memoir and Memory

30.10.16 Yr Hen Lyfrgell

Poet and author Jasmine Donahaye discusses the life-changing events that became her award-winning memoir Losing Israel. In 2007, after a chance conversation with her mother, a kibbutznik, Donahaye stumbled upon the collusion of her family in the displacement of Palestinians in 1948. When she set out to learn the story of what happened, what she discovered challenged everything she thought she knew about the country and her family, and transformed her understanding of the place, and of herself. Winner of the 2016 Wales Book of the Year Creative Non-Fiction Award, Losing Israel is a moving and candid work, which spans travel writing, nature writing and memoir.

Deborah Moggach: The Best Exotic Writer in Wales – stories from the Marigold Hotel

30.10.16, Yr Hen Lyfrgell

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a smash when it hit the silver screen, cementing Deborah Moggach’s place at the top of the writing tree – it was her book, These Foolish Things, that the film was based on. Now living and writing in Wales, she is the author of sixteen other books – including best seller Tulip Fever – and several screenplays, such as the blockbuster Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. She joins us to read from and discuss her new novel Something to Hide, which she’s adapting for the BBC. Spanning continents, it follows characters as they uncover secrets. “It turns out that no matter where you are in the world, everyone has something to hide.”

Neil Sinclair on Butetown: Tiger Bay Remembered

30.10.16, Yr Hen Lyfrgell

Afro-Celtic author and Cardiff historian Neil M. C. Sinclair is a native of Tiger Bay, the oldest multi-ethnic community in Wales. He has written extensively on the history of his unique hometown, providing an insider’s view of life in old Tiger Bay. Drawing on personal memories, family history and a lifetime’s worth of connections within the community, Sinclair’s humorous and thought-provoking journey through the old streets of Tiger Bay and Cardiff Docks in their heyday delves into the real heart of one of Cardiff’s most celebrated communities.”

 

Cardiff Book Festival: full programme

Friday

28.10,16 – 8am – Business breakfast debate- business leaders discuss what 2016 was like and what’s ahead in 2017.

28.10.16 – 9.30am to 12.30pm – Improve your Writing: Poetry, Short Story and Novel Writing workshops

28.10.16 – 1pm to 4pm – Workshops: Getting Published

28.10.16 – 10am Oodles of Doodles with Huw Aaron

28.10.16 – 6pm – Owen Sheers

28.10.16 – 7.30pm – After Euro 2016

Saturday

29.10.16 – 10am – The Debuts

29.10.16 – 11am – Roald Dahl Tour

29.10.16 – 11.15am – Caryl Lewis and Catrin Beard WELSH LANGUAGE EVENT

29.10.16 – 12.30 – Rachel Trezise and Thomas Morris

29.10.16 – 13.30 – Roald Dahl Tour

29.10.16 – 1.45pm –  Ifor ap Glyn and Clare Potter WELSH LANGUAGE EVENT

29.10.16 – 2pm – Patrick McGuinness and Holly Muller

29.10.16 – 3.15pm – Iolo Williams

29.10.16 – 4.30pm – Miranda Sawyer

29.10.16 -7pm – Martin Williams

29.10.16 – 8.30pm – Sophie Hannah

29.10.16 – late – Swn Festival at CBF

Sunday

30.10.16 – 10am – Poetry – Belonging: A Sense of Place. The immigration Handbook (Caroline Smith) and Jonathan Edwards.

30.10.16 – 11.00 – Elliw Gwawr –  Living the Sweet Life WELSH LANGUAGE

30.10.16 – noon – Jasmine Donahaye– Memoir and Memory

30.10.16 – 2pm – Deborah Moggach – stories from the Marigold Hotel

30.10.16 – 3.15pm – Cynan Jones and Tom Bullough

30.10.16 – 4.30pm – Neil Sinclair on Butetown

30.10.16 – 6pm – Debate – Feminism in 2016 with Felicity Evans

 

More information:

Cardiff Book Festival
Fri 28 Oct – Sun 30 Oct 2016, various venues across Cardiff

Cardiff Book Festival website

Cardiff Book Festival tickets

Cardiff Book Festival Twitter

 

Old Books - photo by Walt Jabsco

Old Books – photo by Walt Jabsco on Flickr

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Cardiff Book Festival / Gŵyl Lyfrau Caerdydd

Seems like 2016 is the inaugural year for many things here in our fair Cardiff. We had our first theatre fringe, and now there’s a crowdfunder open for our first Book Festival!

Loads of cities have Book Festivals, right? So why doesn’t Cardiff have one? Here at We Are Cardiff, we’re very partial to a good yarn – so much so, we published our first book for the We Are Cardiff Press late last year (it’s called The 42b and is a collection of short stories about an unconventional bus route through a dystopian Cardiff), and we’re currently scheming on our second one.

Anyway, back to the book festie … here’s all the official blurb …

Cardiff Book Festival Gŵyl Lyfrau Caerdydd is backed by award-winning writers and leading figures in Welsh public life.

Here’s the background:

https://vimeo.com/174498399

This year, the aim is to host a three-day festival aimed at promoting reading, writing and debate to the Welsh capital for the first time this autumn (28-30th October 2016).

It comes in the year the city celebrates the centenary of its most famous literary son, Roald Dahl.

The ambition is to continue to grow every year adding more events and putting the Cardiff Book Festival on the literary map.

Events will include artists like Ifor ap Glyn, the national poet of Wales, award-winning writers including Rachel Trezise and Jonathan Edwards and the investigative journalist, Martin Williams.

Festival organisers are aiming to raise £5,000 via Indiegogo but the more they can raise the more events they can organise at the festival.

As well as helping the festival get off the ground, they’re offering supporters a range of experiences including signed books, a Roald Dahl walking tour with one of our favourite Cardiff writers, Peter Finch, masterclasses with award-winning authors including Rachel Trezise and workshops with publishers and agents on how budding writers can get into print.

They’re promising a diverse and inclusive programme featuring talks and debates from high profile figures on topics ranging from poetry to politics, crime writing to children’s events, fiction to feminism and the Welsh language to walking tours.

Get involved! 

There are a whole bunch of great rewards offered on the Cardiff Book Festival Indiegogo page. (In case you were wondering, we’ve already booked ourselves on the Peter Finch walking tour – they’re good fun and always very interesting).

peter finch

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Cardiff for literature lovers and budding bards

Hear ye, hear ye! Poet Patrick Widdess has put together a guide to Cardiff’s ever-growing underground for authors, poets, and lovers of the written word. Read on for the low-down on Cardiff’s best open-mic and other events! 

We Are Cardiff present its first book, Porter pub thursday 5 november 2015, an evening through readings, live music and the most creative mind within the Welsh capital through an art joruney into the heart of creative cardiff.

Lovers of literature and budding bards have plenty of chances to indulge their passion for poetry and prose in Cardiff. The city has an ever-growing programme of events where you can hear a variety of poets and spoken word artists. Some attract established writers from Cardiff and further afield. Most feature open mic spots for writers and performers of all styles and levels of experience to share their work. There is something on almost every night of the week and these events are always worth checking out:

RARA (Rhyme and Real Ale)

Second Monday of the month
Mackintosh Sports Club, Keppoch Street, Roath

This friendly event welcomes poets of all levels to share their work or just listen. As organiser Will Ford says: “People should come to RARA  because beginners are given the same warm welcome as experienced readers and everybody gets the same five minute slot length. It is free and it is a fun, eclectic night where every reader gets to be as silly or as serious as their own writing demands!”

Will also runs spoken word events at various times and places under the name Megaverse (www.facebook.com/Megaverse-1157959360887023).

JUKE

Monthly (Check Facebook page for dates)
Four Bars at Dempseys
15 Castle Street, CF10 1BS
7 – 11pm

JUKE has only been going a short time but this open mic night has already established a solid reputation. Organiser Renn Hubbuck-Melly says: “JUKE is a night for writers of all different styles and forms which focuses specifically on performance and encourages people to explore and experiment with new ways of presenting words. There are feature acts who are seasoned performers and themed nights which ask people to write on a specific theme, the latest one being Myths and Fairytales. It is a very friendly, welcoming environment that can help inspire writers to think further than the page. It’s also entertaining and enjoyable for those who just want to come and watch.”
 
 

Rubberneck

Fourth Sunday of the month
See Facebook page for venue
6:30pm
A new night in one of Cardiff’s newest creative spaces. Stephanie Finegan and Natasha Borton invite lovers of words, music and coffee to enjoy a night “with the vibe of the Beat Generation and the power of spoken word, rhythm and music mixing in the air with daiquiris and Cappuccinos.”
 
 

First Thursday of the month at Chapter

Market Road, CF5 1QE
7:30pm

No excuses for forgetting when this event is! First Thursday features established writers and open mic slots. It is hosted by Amy Wack, Poetry Editor at Seren press and sponsored by Seren, Mulfran Press and Literature Wales. Such backing guarantees a high-calibre night of literary talent. There is a £2.50 entry fee refunded against the cost of books.

First Thursday Facebook group

Cardiff visiting writers series

Six times a year (always on a Monday) 
Four Bars at Dempseys
15 Castle Street, CF10 1BS
 
Cardiff University’s department of English, Communications and Philosophy organises this series which offers a great opportunity for their students and members of the public to hear published authors, and share their own work on the open mic in a relaxed setting. Past authors at the event have included Tessa Hadley and Rachel Trezise. There is often a Q&A session with the visiting author.
 
Patrick Widdess is a poet based in Newport. He is a familiar face on the Cardiff spoken word scene and his work has appeared in publications including Agenda, Cake, The Interpreter’s House, The Guardian, Waitrose Weekend and others. He hosts poetry blog and podcast Headstand and has recently published the book ‘Poetry Non-stop: Unlock your poetic muse and write a poem a day for 30 days’ available on Amazon. Support your local talent and buy a copy now!
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By the way … if you’re a lover of literature, did we mention that the We Are Cardiff Press debut book, The 42b, is out now?

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“Cardiff and its people have shaped who I am today” – Andrew

andrew small

I first lived in Cardiff when I was a student at University of Glamorgan. It was only a year and a half (I dropped out, you see, all the best people do) but it was a proper eye opener for a wide-eyed indie kid from West Wales.

I find it hard to describe what Cardiff means to me, it’s become such an important part of my life. I lost my virginity here, had my first poem published here (in The Yellow Crane); I’ve gigged, marched, lobbied and protested here; gigged, danced, sung, drank and fallen over here. I bought a house here last year. It’s my home.

I went to my first gay club in Cardiff. Nerys and I were both 18, and I went to Talybont Halls to get ready before going out. I cringe to think of what I was wearing. Skin-tight grey pinstripe trousers, a black shirt, knockoff Patrick Cox loafers and more eyeliner than Robert Smith. We drank vodka, pretended we were Poppy Z Brite vampires, kissed and got a taxi to Club X. I can’t remember much of the next six months, but I definitely can’t drink like that these days. Sadly, I think my bohemian vampire days are over. But shh, don’t tell anyone, I still like the eyeliner though.

I live in Splott, on a tiny street in a tiny block near Moorlands Park. When I had my offer accepted, I turned into a Time Team detective; spent hours on Ancestry.com and old-maps.co.uk. I discovered that in 1890 a lady called Ellen Rörstrum lived in my house, and was probably the first occupant. When my Dad and I removed the old suspended floor from under the stairs, we found a rusty old Victorian hatpin. Part of Ellen’s life was suddenly in my hands. I felt I knew her. I could see this woman bringing up the children who survived past infanthood, mourning the ones who didn’t. Many have remarked on the cheerful feeling in my house; I hope I’m making it as happy a home as Ellen.

I’ve written quite a lot about Cardiff, you can’t seem to help it, if you live here. Most of my main characters live in Cardiff for a while, and even though they all leave, they always return. I had a short story selected for publication in Peter Finch’s Big Book of Cardiff in 2005. Nothing much happens in the story, two friends say goodbye as one leaves to live in Australia; but I wrote is as if the city was a character. That’s pretty much how I actually see Cardiff. Every landmark, whether they are famous and well known, or (in)famous to me personally, is a facet of the City’s character; every person, every shopper, every landlord, waitress or singer is a thought that flits through the City’s mind. I have the same relationship to Cardiff as I do with the people I love. Sometimes they get on my nerves, sometimes they don’t; sometimes we argue, sometimes we kiss and make up; but I love and accept them, warts and all.

Cardiff and its people have shaped who I am today. I wasn’t the confident, shouty, positive person I am today back then when I moved here ten years ago. I had an awful job back then, working for a black-hearted financial institution that tried to ruin my life by keeping me back. When I turned thirty in 2007, I decided I wanted a whole change of career. I now work for RNIB Cymru, Wales’ main charity offering support and advice to blind and partially sighted people. Part of my job is to go out to schools and deliver assemblies on the importance of regular eye health checks, how to keep your eyes healthy, and how to guide a blind or partially sighted person. After working for various terrible employers for more than fifteen years, I now genuinely love my job. No two days are the same; I might be training Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, one day, and running a focus group in Rhondda Cynon Taf the next. We campaign for the rights of blind and partially sighted people across Wales, and I am lucky enough to work closely with Cardiff, Vales and Valleys, (formerly Cardiff Institute for the Blind), a fantastic member organisation that supports, motivates and exists for the blind and partially sighted people of Cardiff and the Vale. Not content with that, CVV also operates in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr.

I learned to knit in 2004. It started as a little hobby, and has turned into an obsession. I curated an art exhibition as part of Queer Cymru in 2005, and the entrance to my section of the exhibition space was hung with knitted jellyfish, that visitors had to duck under to access. The risk of being stung was minimal. I’m now busy designing four knitting and crochet patterns that will be on sale in a lovely new knitting shop in Canton called Calon Yarns. Lynne, the owner, not only has an amazing shop, she really wants to be part of the community. Calon Yarns runs workshops and events and all sorts of great community projects. Best of all, Lynne introduced me to a crowd of people as a ‘knitwear designer’.

Cardiff also holds another first for me. This is where I grew up. This is where I’ll stay.

Andrew Craig Williams was born in 1977 and is from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire. He has lived in Cardiff for ten years, where he is a writer, artist and music maker. His website is andrewcraigwilliams.com, where you can download his music, read some of his work and get his free knitting patterns. He suggest you also check out rnib.org.uk/cymru, cardiffinstitutefortheblind.org and calonyarns.co.uk. Andrew currently lives in Splott.

Andrew was photographed by Amy Davies outside Metros

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