Archive for September 2017

A Music of Speech

A MUSIC OF SPEECH  Forty years ago, in a valleys school, the class recited poetry by rote. Since the dumbness of misery fell he has remembered there was a music of speech and that once he had something to say. This moving verse by the Welsh poet Gillian Clarke (Collected Poems, Carcanet, 1997) recognises how…

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Bookworm Heaven

What would you do, if you could do anything in the world? One of the things I answer is: open a bookshop, that has a coffee shop inside. It seems a fanciful dream, out of my reach. But Mary Manley, and her husband Stuart, thought and did just that in Alnwick, in 1991. They opened…

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Wandering in Berwick

Welcome to the (updated) second part of my brief look at Berwick as the star of the Literary Festival (fitting, as a new film about Robert the Bruce, ‘Outlaw King’, was filming in the town when I wrote this in 2017). My last post encouraged you to wet your whistle and whet your appetite in…

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Eating and drinking in Berwick

For last year’s (2017) Literary Festival in Berwick I compiled a post about Berwick’s eateries. It was by no means exhaustive and was a personal take on eating and drinking in and around Berwick. As we approach the tourist season this year, I thought I’d update my listings. There’s also a post about wandering in…

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Quirks of fate, hard work and sheer bloody-mindedness: how to get published

Northumberland-based writers Caroline Roberts (publisher: Harper Impulse, contemporary romance) and Stephanie Butland (publisher: Bonnier Zaffre, commercial literary) are doing a joint gig at the Berwick Literary Festival in October. They’ll be chatting to Newcastle blogger and creative writing tutor Victoria Watson about writing novels and getting them published. I caught up with these two marvellous…

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Not In A Tent

In October I’m going be a guest blogger at the Berwick Literary Festival, in Northumberland. Before I share what’s on offer; some admissions… I’ve only been to a literary festival once in my life and only been to Berwick twice. For someone who loves the spoken and written word so much and who lives only 40 minutes…

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