Category Archives: news

Are you a Primadonna?

Primadonna  is a festival of writing, taking place at Laffitts Hall in Suffolk.

Date: August 30th, 31st and September 1st 2019.

Venue: Laffitts Hall, Framsden Rd, Pettaugh, Stowmarket IP14 6DT

Primadonna image and web link
Discover the Primadonna in you here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Primadonna Festival is the brainchild of a group of women from publishing and entertainment, who include Sabeena Akhtar, Joanna Baker, Jane Dyball, Catherine Mayer, Kit de Waal, Shona Abhyankar, Jude Kelly, Alexis Kirschbaum, Lisa Milton, Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, Sonia Purnell, Monisha Rajesh, Catherine Riley, Athena Stevens, Cathryn Summerhayes, Sandi Toksvig and Sioned Wiliam.

Together, these 17 women—the “Primadonnas”—have worked to create a festival of brilliant writing, borne out of a desire to give prominence to work by women and spotlight authors from the margins—and to create a thoroughly joyous and accessible experience. There will be live music, films and comedy and all sorts of writing represented. ‘  Source: Primadonna web pages.

The dictionary defines a primadonna as a  temperamental person, an unpredictable person, a self-important person! However, the event will be characterised by impeccable behaviour and scintillating intellectual challenges, given the stellar line-up of originators above.

The origins of the title are in the 18th Century, in Italy of course, where a literal translation is ‘first lady’. A veritable melange of premier writing and performance talent, we are sure.

E.M. Forster wrote …Beauty ought to look a little surprised: it is the emotion that best suits her face. The beauty who does not look surprised, who accepts her position as her due – she reminds us too much of a primadonna.

We are in for a surprising event, undoubtedly. Packing our tent and weekend bag as we write…

You can book tickets here: https://app.etickets.to/buy/?e=17316

You can explore the first draft of the event line-up here: https://www.primadonnafestival.com/line-up-1

Image: Kunqu Opera, the Peony Pavilion- from Pixabay

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Writing: Making Your Mark

An exhibition at The British Library – Writing: Making Your Mark

 –  Book your tickets here

PACCAR 1, The British Library,  96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

“Discover the extraordinary story behind one of humankind’s greatest achievements: through more than 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents

Follow the remarkable evolution of writing from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone and early printed text such as William Caxton’s edition of The Canterbury Tales, to the art of note-taking by some of history’s greatest minds, and on-wards to the digital communication tools we use today.”                                     Source: The British Library web pages

This new exhibition provides wonderful insights into the both the future of writing and the past development of the craft.

From quill pen to digital tablet, how we create and communicate has been beautifully illustrated for us, ‘…in an interactive exhibition gives you the chance to reflect on works of genius that wouldn’t exist without the writing traditions of civilisations past’.

Discover more at The British LIbrary here…arrive clutching your biro and notepad!

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Ellen Lives On

Writing in The Guardian in late 2014 the author Rupert Wallis was minded to tell us that ‘…more and more not-so- young adults are reading YA fiction’ –  which he declared was no bad thing. He went on…

‘The power of YA fiction to generate an emotional resonance around death should not be underestimated in UK society, where young adults spend a lot of time immersed in the artificial realities of cyberspace and gaming’.

Source: The Guardian, 18th August 2014.

Ellen Lives On - cover image and web link
Buy this book here, with free delivery…

Lynda Haddock, in her first novel, has wonderfully underscored the sentiment with her first novel Ellen Lives On. The book features the journey, the exploration of a new life and the acquisition of a new set of values, by the teenager Ellen.

For Ellen the journey is mapped from the suicide of her mother, an emergent rally to the cause of education and her exodus to the Metropolis in search new friends, political engagement and the forming of a new identity for herself.

‘One way of tackling the difficult questions raised by death is to feel connected to one another in addressing them, to feel human together…’ writes Wallis in his article. Indeed, the sensitively written, clear narrative from Lynda Haddock stirs up the emotions and will clearly illuminate a shared experience for teenagers suffering loss.

Buy this book, with free shipping here…

The new novel was enjoyed by the Books go Walkabout team in our office. Sue Martin, writing for our new season book list opined…

”A desperately moving novel about a young girl whose life changes forever when she returns home to find that her mother has committed suicide.

Ellen, a scholarship girl at a local grammar school in the 1970’s, finds that life is uncomfortable and fraught as soon as you are no longer the ‘norm’ pupil, let alone the trauma of discovering that she is alone in the world. Alone, that is, apart from her Grandfather, who is elderly and lives a long way from Ellen.

Taken in by her aunt and uncle, Ellen finds the welcome is short lived and that she is a burden to the family, simply used as the girl in the house to do all the chores. Her uncle tells her the sooner she finishes school and starts a job the sooner she can pay for her living.

After a series of heart-wrenching problems with friends, teachers and those who were meant to be supporting her, Ellen goes on the run. She finds friendship with people in a squat, her grandfather is taken into hospital and she abandons any hope of a career with prospects.

Eventually Social Services find Ellen and her life starts to rebuild, but never back to where it was and with very little hope of the future that had been planned.

A moving and poignant story for Young Adults and a thought provoking debut novel for Lynda Haddock.”

It is also, in its way, a primer for adults, the ‘not so young’ in Wallis’s narrative, to recognise the strains and pains of a teenager going through this crisis, such is the insight afforded the reader of any age by Lynda Haddock’s writing.

Lynda Haddock’s work joins a solid tradition of novels that seek to offer reflection and a way forward in the face of death and loss. From The Fault in Our Stars by John Green to Jacqueline Wilson’s Vicky Angel – the Haddock narrative deals with death, yes, but also in the exploration of self, equality and values – all of which are significant markers for young adults as they march forward into the 21st Century.

For Wallis ‘…the true significance of death in YA is that authors are reflecting back what they see everyday; namely, that death is ominously prevalent these days, whether in fiction or a national news broadcast or the obituary columns‘.

This is certainly true of the author Lynda Haddock, whose professional life before her novel encompassed education and the specialist support of children experiencing difficulty in their lives. The storytelling resonates with it.

The experience tellingly shows in the novel Ellen Lives On, and we hope it might become a staple of your library of resources – tendering a way into loss and bereavement that will be recognised by any teenager, whatever their culture, age or background.


Editor’s Note:

We would commend Lynda Haddock’s publisher to note that the YA Book Prize for 2019 is now open for nominations.

You can discover the latest updates to the YA Book Prize here.

Publishers can find the YA Book Prize terms and conditions and how to apply details here.

We loved this book, buy a copy and explore challenging and stirring landscapes of the teenage mind.

The conversationsEAST team.

Our team also deliver international author and illustrator visits and exchanges through our Books go Walkabout project. Find out more here…

You can also discover reviews and features for younger readers on Book Monitor, our BgW review pages. See more here...

Enlightenment in the East of England

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Into the library vortex…

Library vortex, image and web link
Into the library vortex of knowledge and imagination…

We have, with our new Libraries news-feed page, given our readers the opportunity to keep up with latest news from across the UK.

We are rotating our topical feeds across University libraries, feminist collections and featuring, as we must, the go to public library resource, PLN.

Library image by Jaredd Craig…

Check our our Libraries page below and keep coming back to stay informed.

    See more: http://www.conversationseast.org/libraries/

In The Guardian you can find an encompassing article that sums up the decline of the local library. Picturing a library using population that has tumbled by 30% in a decade. See more

The study it regales us with is Taking Part (.pdf) from the DCMS. It found that…

The greatest fall in adult library usage was seen among 16 to 24-year-olds, according to the DCMS report. In 2005, figures showed that 51% of this age group used the library. In 2015, the figure fell to 25.2%.

Statista, the Statistics Portal, offers detailed annual library visits data, from 2002 to 2014.  Here the analysis shows that from a peak in 2005/, with a total of £42 million visits, by 2013/14 this figure had declined to just over 282 million visits.

It is never too late to fight back and get into good library habits. We like the 10 Reasons to use Your Library article, on the web journal Ten Penny Dreams. Elegantly laid out, the author, a North of England writer, gently chides us to remember why using a library is such a joy and a revelation. See more here

If you need it, visitcambridge.org in the East of England are offering public tours of the Parker Library, including parts of Corpus Christi College. Where you can ‘…sample its amazing collection which includes the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, principal source book for early English history, the sixth-century Gospels of Saint Augustine, the Bury Bible and the best manuscript of Chaucer’s Troilus…

Proof, if proof were needed, that librarians are keepers of our collective culture, and that libraries, as buildings, are the engines of our future dreams. Don’t lose it, use it!

    See more: http://www.conversationseast.org/libraries/

Enlightenment in the East of England

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Seasonal best wishes for 2019

 

We hope our readers have enjoyed the contributions to consEast this year. We look forward to supporting the work into the New Year.

Best wishes from all at SmithMartin LLP – supporting voluntary projects across our region wherever we can – at any time of year.

Contact us here for editorial copy, images or more information about our projects.


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It’s never too early for a JDRF UK Christmas card!

It’s that time of year again. When we hope we are early enough to persuade you to buy your Christmas cards from JDRF.

JDRF Christamas card - image and web link
A great source of Christmas cheer and really useful seasonal giving…see more

This year, as well as the usual well designed, delightful cards, you can choose a virtual gift to support JDRF.

Every pound you spend helps support the work of JDRF in fighting type 1 diabetes.

You can find the JDRF card shop on-line here.

The JDRF Gift Packages enable you to select a gift to your value, so that your purchase has even more impact on the work of JDRF, our favourite charity.

How does it work?…

‘Select and order your gift. JDRF will send you a …pack containing a premium gift card that is blank for your own message and a brief description of your gift. We also include a letter from us explaining how this gift can help people with type 1, all wrapped up in a blue gift envelope. You can then personalise and send your gift to a friend or loved one’.

Find the JDRF Gift Pack shop pages online here.

Even before the snow has fallen, we wish you a very Happy Christmas – from all of us at conversationsEAST and SmithMartin LLP. We are proud to be continued supporters of JDRF.


About JDRF:

Supporting JDRF at Christmas...image and web link
Supporting JDRF at Christmas…

JDRF is the type 1 diabetes charity. We won’t stop until we create a world without type 1 diabetes.

We are committed to eradicating type 1 diabetes and its effects for everyone in the UK with type 1, and at risk of developing it.

To work towards a day when there is no more type 1 we:

• fund world-class research approved and administered by our international research programme to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes

• make sure research moves forward and treatments are delivered as fast as possible.

• give support and a voice to people with type 1 and their families

Source:  https://jdrf.org.uk/

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Reflecting on glass!

We have been sinking deep into the sofa in the evenings to follow the craft, technique and skill offered to viewers in the BBC 2 broadcast The Repair Shop.

Myglassroom, Surinder Warboys course in stained glass
Artistry, craft technique and civility – the perfect workshop course…

As well as offering craft and artistry of the highest calibre, the programme is the perfect antidote and respite  from a stressful day at the office, that meeting you regret or that article idea that will not congeal yet in a tired mind.

In Mellis, Suffolk the workshop at Myglassroom is offering the opportunity to engage with this craft and artistry in stained glass creation.

Myglassroom: a studio committed to achieving excellence in contemporary architectural stained glass, conservation & restoration. Established 1990 by Surinder Warboys, Stained glass artist and conservator’.

Architectural Stained Glass /Painting on Glass Courses

One day taster sessions in painting and staining:

Saturday 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th Sept. 2018    10am – 4pm  IP23 8EE

You can discover more about Surinder Warboys one day courses, contact the workshop for details of fees applicable and to see the work of recent ‘glass’ students…see more at http://www.myglassroom.com/index.html

The essayist Robert Louis Stevenson said that ‘…no man lives in the external truth among salts and acids, but in the warm, phantasmagoric chamber of his brain, with the painted windows and the storied wall‘.

What better than a trip to Mellis in glorious Suffolk, in order to craft your own idea?

(…whatever your gender…Ed.)

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Disturbing the Beast – revisited

Boudicca Press - logotype image and web link
Discover the new work here…

Update: 30th September 2018…

Congratulations to the Boudicca Press team for hitting their Kickstarter target with a whole week to go! Brilliant.


We recently featured the work of Boudicca Press, in promoting new writing for women and in their current process of coagulating new pieces to publish under the banner of Disturbing the Beast.

Disturbing the Beast is a collection of weird fiction stories by some of the best women writers in the UK, featuring Kirsty Logan, Aliya Whiteley and other talented up-and- coming writers. It’s the debut collection from the new literary press, Boudicca Press, who celebrate the strength, courage and literary talents of women.

Great news. Disturbing the Beast Kickstarter launches 3rd September: Weird fiction
stories from some of the best women writers, including Aliya Whiteley, Kirsty
Logan and more.

Distrubing the Beast - cover image from Boudicca Press
The cover image for great writing! Support the work here…

The anthology will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign which launches on Monday 3rd September 2018 with a target of £2500.

Submissions, however, are still welcome from women writers until Friday 14th September. It is intended that the ultimate publication date for the work will be early in 2019.

See more here.

 

Boudicca is keen to unearth challenging subjects in a healthy and respectful way, something that they feel is not often considered in mainstream, contemporary literature. The work is intended to celebrate women’s voices in the weird fiction genre, in a publishing industry where they feel women are under-represented.

Do support this great women’s writing initiative and look for Boudicca Press and Disturbing the Beast on Kickstarter, from Monday 3rd September 2018.

 

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Arts & Business news

Cambridge Open Art Festival 2018 - image and web link
Read our original article here…

Just updated: 17th September 2018

Open Art Exhibition 2018 - catalogue image and web link
Exhibition catalogue available here…

This great exhibition is almost upon us. You can view, print or download the full exhibition catalogue here.

 

We recently ran an article on our pages about the Cambridge Open Art Exhibition 2018. Well the deadline for the submission of artwork for this year’s event is very close.

We have published the key dates, courtesy of the Open Art team, below. Don’t rush, but safely head towards the deadline at a good speed. Good luck too!

 

Key Dates for Artists:
Artwork entry/image deadline Friday 17th August 2018

Delivery of Artwork to Swavesey Village College:
Thursday 11th October 2018 between 4.30pm and 7pm

Collection of Unsold artwork:
Sunday 14th October 2018 between 4.15pm and 5.30pm

Exhibition Dates:
Preview Friday 12th Oct 6.30-9pm
Saturday 13th Oct 10am-5pm
Sunday 14th Oct 10am-4pm
at Swavesey Village College CB24 4RS

Read more about this energising, artistic project here.


SupportingCambs - image and web link
See more here…
Thirdsectorweb, our community web delivery arm, has been having a bit of a tidy up. We have been cleaning up some of our web assets, some of which, although worthy, now need refreshment.
 
 
Seeded and grown by a community interest company called ABMEC, our Partnership has continued to fund and maintain their web site and content.
 
The CIC Registrar dissolved the company in August 2015. We would now like to add two new categories to the list of featured content – which is being updated again as we write.
 
We now want to add two new buttons – The Arts and Enterprise/Business to the pages of Supportingcambridgshire.com
Partly to illustrate hope, activities which cast forward and stimulate creativity – as a break from engagement with crisis. We recognise that not all newly arrived residents fit this category, of course.
 
The Arts can include any welcoming, inclusive creative activity that supports newly arrived or minority community members.
 
Enterprise/Business can be services, free at the point of delivery, which will add to the enterprise creation expertise and knowledge of our communities of interest.
 
If you have a group, or project, that welcomes any new arrivals or BME community members in these categories, drop us a line and we’ll add it to our community gazette.
 
If you write a 100 words or so to tell us what you do, that would be great too. We will support contributors by using our publication skills to develop and promote the work of groups.
 

 

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Women’s Weird Fiction – Disturbing the Beast

Boudicca Press, creators of brave and powerful writing from women of weird fiction, are calling for submissions for their short story collections.

They are seeking…

  • Strong female-led stories
  • Stories that are filled with carefully considered, breath-taking prose
  • Stories that contain depth and reflection
Weird fiction from Boudicca Press - by women for all readers - image and web link
Weird fiction from Boudicca Press – by women for all readers – see more here!

Boudicca are encouraging female writers to submit original work, which involves lesser talked about female-centred topics such as sexual abuse, pregnancy issues and body image. ”Your work should be fiction, and not so on-the-nose of the issue”.

   You can find the Boudicca submission guideline here.

You must submit, as indicated, by Friday 14th September, 2018


Editors Note:

“Boudicca Press celebrates the strength, courage and literary talents of women. We publish weird, literary and relationship fiction by women in the UK.

We love strong female-led stories filled with breath-taking prose, in the genre of weird, literary and relationship fiction. Stories that stay with you. Stories that are reflective and deep. Stories that empower women“.

Source:  https://boudiccapress.wordpress.com/

Good luck and get writing today and we look forward to seeing your stories published. Congratulations to Boudicca Press for an empowering literary initiative…The team at conversationsEAST.

Enlightenment in the East of England

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