Archives for the month of: July, 2016

Pure Fiction, my latest creative “child” will (with any luck) start walking in front of an audience tomorrow afternoon. The afternoon will feature writers Kitty Fitzgerald, Sandy Chadwin and Jennifer C Wilson.

Pure Fiction 001

Pure Fiction is all about writers of fiction and their work. No microphone, no music, just great fiction presented in an intimate setting. With questions from the audience as well as the genial host (me!)

Kitty Fitzgerald talked about her work and Pure Fiction on BBC Radio Newcastle this morning. Listen again….

Here is Jennifer C Wilson revving up for our inaugural Pure Fiction event this Saturday!

Jennifer C. Wilson

This Saturday, I’ll be stepping up for my first ever event as a published fiction author. Yes, I’ve got up plenty of times before, even reading from publications before, namely some beautiful pamphlets produced for various events and from various workshops, as well as open-mic turns, but this, this feels different.

Cover on devices What I’ll be reading from… (but, amazingly, in paperback!)

I’ve always looked at those writers who can read from their own books with envy. Positive envy, keen to emulate them, but envy nonetheless… This time, although my second reading, a short story, set in the world of Kindred Spirits, will be on paper, I’ll have the joy of reading from my paperback copy of Kindred Spirits: Tower of London.

I’m also delighted that it’s at The Next Page’s first reading event. Elaine, Sandy and I have been plotting this for a couple of months now, and are chuffed to bring…

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One week today  I’ll be hosting a brand new literary venture, Pure Fiction in Whitley Bay’s library.

Pure Fiction 001

Pure Fiction is dedicated to fiction writers and their work. Experienced authors will perform alongside unpublished writers in intimate settings around the North East.

No microphones, no music just fiction and questions posed by me and (I jolly well hope) audience members.

So that’s next Saturday 30th July in Whitley Bay library with writers Kitty Fitzgerald,

Kitty Fitzgerald - Writer Cullercoats ,  Tyne & Wear - February 2016

Jennifer C Wilson


and Sandy Chadwin.


Take your seat from 2.15pm and it starts at 2.30pm. Buy tickets in advance from

I’m looking for another volunteer to help me on the day. Are you free from 1.45pm to 4.45pm? Can you assist with audience herding, cash handling and time management? I can’t pay you but I can offer free tea and coffee and a drink in the Jam Jar Cinema’s bar afterwards.

Twenty years ago today rock legend Chas Chandler died on North Tyneside. He was 57.  He’d been a founding member of The Animals, a Newcastle band who surfed the wave of Beatlemania in the US and topped the charts both sides of the Atlantic in 1964 with House of the Rising Sun.


Within months of leaving the  The Animals in 1966  he’d discovered Jimi Hendrix and was living in Swinging London with him and nurturing Jimi’s unique talent. Chas managed Jimi, produced his albums and seemingly loved and cared for him like a family member. It was with a heavy heart he walked away from Hendrix. Chas couldn’t bear the Hendrix groupies, the heavy drug scene and all that time-wasting in the studio. It was not what this hard-working Geordie bloke wanted to do with his working time.

Chas went on to discover Slade and guided them to chart success in the UK and Australia. The Wolverhampton Wonders never “broke” America. There’s no accounting for taste…

Chas never forgot Hendrix. It appears he felt responsible for his death and in 1991, 21 years after Hendrix died Chandler commented:“My only obvious regret is I wonder if I didn’t walk out maybe he would still be alive. He is a loss; he was a good friend.”

chas again

I spent several years researching and writing a biography of Chas. Sadly it never reached publication stage but I’m still keen to do something with my research. In the meantime I was pleased to contribute to an article on BBC Online about Chas, Jimi…and  heart-warming news about his youngest daughter. You’ll have to read the article to find out what she and her family are up to today. Thank you for the music, Chas, the songs we’re still singing…

“I am approaching the end of the beginning,” said a participant in today’s Finding the Words workshop run by Jennifer C Wilson and I.

finding the words

What does “the end of the beginning” mean? Why, we were sharing our thoughts about our respective creative writing journeys, of course. Another participant said “I write but I don’t think” and we nodded in agreement. We were there to write and not think too much about the process. We wanted to do and feel rather than agonise over precise wording.

Bay Traders

The all day workshop held in Whitley Bay’s library was divided into Scavenger Hunt in the morning and Found Poetry in the afternoon. In the morning we visited Don’s shop, Bay Traders for inspiration

Don's shop one

Then we scampered back to the library to spill our ideas onto paper. After lunch Jennifer talked us through “Found Poetry” which proved a hit with all attendees.

Group sesh good

Thanks to attendees and Jennifer for a stimulating and engrossing day. I’m still buzzing….


There’s still time to book onto the workshop I’m running this Saturday 16th July in Whitley Bay library

Finding the Words is an all day workshop I’m running with fellow writer Jennifer C wilson. You can opt to attend the morning session, Scavenger Hunt, the afternoon session Found Poetry or both.

For more details on the day and for booking visit

finding the words logo 001

Fancy trying something new? Then come and try a creative workshop.

Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC has just published its new programme of creative workshops running from August to December at the Old Low Lights Heritage Centre on North Shields Fish Quay.

Artist Gail Curry will run workshops on mixed media art journaling, needle felting and more. I’m in charge of the creative writing ones.

Gail’s workshops start in August and mine will run one a month on Tuesday evenings from October to December.

I’m running Talking Nonsense: In Praise of Comic and Nonsense Poetry on Tuesday 11th October, Travel writing workshop Journeys of the Mind on Tuesday 8th November and finally Words of Comfort (Food), a workshop containing the recipe for successful food writing on Tuesday 6th December.

Click and scroll for more info…

Forgive me for reminiscing…

Earlier today I found myself replaying a sampler CD from 4AD records. It was wonderful to hear Belly’s Super-Connected which still sounds as fresh as it did back on its release 21 years ago. The song makes me think of Belly’s singer/songwriter, Tanya Donnelly. When I worked in music journalism I got to interview Tanya and also her stepsister Kristin Hersh. The two had worked together in Throwing Muses but I interviewed them both on separate occasions long after they had stopped working together.


It was thrill to interview them. I also interviewed The Breeders, a band formed by Tanya Donnelly and Pixies’ bassist, Kim Deal. Man that was scary. I think Kim and her sister Kelley plus band member Josephine Wiggs had had enough of the interview conveyor belt. I found them, er, difficult to interview and wound up having a weep in the ladies’ loos. I was very young at the time. I don’t hold a grudge against the band. They must have been sick of answering dumb questions!

Belly, Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Pixies and Nirvana: what a wonderful sound North America made back in the late 1980s and 1990s. Memories of interviewing the lovely Kristin Hersh allow my mind to leap to Michael Stipe who duetted on one of her albums and then onto thoughts of Vic Chesnutt who was promoted and supported by Stipe.


Ah Vic, how I loved getting into his music. I recall a long lazy interview with him in a London pub. The Guinness flowed and we shared our love of Stevie Smith. It’s sad to have to describe Vic in the past tense. What a talent.

So too Mark Sandman, frontman of Morphine. Hard to believe he’s been dead 17 years this month. He had a wicked sense of humour I realise was lost on me when I interviewed him on the phone back in 1993. It wasn’t until I replayed the tape that I realised most of his lines had gone stright over my head. Never mind…

Long live great music.


Here’s Harry! The busiest poet I know!

Jennifer C. Wilson

Happy Sunday everyone, and welcome to the blog Harry Gallagher, a good friend from Elementary Writing Group, and a very busy poet…

Harry performingThanks for joining my today Harry! Tell me about your current collection.
Chasing The Sunset is a pamphlet published this year by Black Light Engine Room Press. It’s a collection of poems with quite an unusual overall theme for me, in that there is stuff in it I think is quite exposing – affairs of the heart!  It’s not all on the same theme (I do like a bit of light and variety) but it has quite a dark heart – poems in it that I’ve still never read to a live audience, even after touring it!  It’s also split into seasons, starting in Summer, progressing through Autumn’s decay and the freeze of Winter, before finding an optimistic ending in the renewal of Spring.  It’s really about survival…

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A week today on Saturday 16th July  I’ll be co-running my first ever workshop with friend and fellow coast-based writer, Jennifer C Wilson.


The all day workshop is called Finding the Words and it will explore the Big Question all writers face: er, like, how do you start getting ideas onto a page?

finding the words logo 001

Finding the Words is an all day event consisting of two workshops: Scavenger Hunt in the morning and Found Poetry in the afternoon.

Finding the Words starts at 10am with a Scavenger Hunt around Whitley Bay’s second hand and charity shops. The session ends at 1pm.

After lunch from 1.30pm to 4.30pm Jennifer and I will take attendees on an exploration of Found Poetry in the library.

Both morning and afternoon sessions will include writing exercises, guidance, group feedback sessions and if possible, one to one advice.


For more information and booking visit


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