enlightenment in the east of england

Category: news (page 1 of 9)

Send them a Pigeon?

Update: January 2021

The Inspector General of the United States Postal Service has just published a new report – Millennials and the Mail.

In the report, the USPS looked at how millennials view the postal service, how convenient they think it is and how well-disposed to a snail mail postal service they feel.

Surprisingly, for their age cohort, millennials see the Postal Service as valuable and have a high level of trust and satisfaction in it. Their deficits for the service are the irregularity of new service updates, identifying postal points and access to stamps.

The surveyed cohort saw great value and satisfaction in writing a letter, sending it to a loved one and appreciated the special-ness of the transaction via the post.

It seemed to us, that the Postal Service in the UK could become a significant player in improving literacy and considered authorship of correspondence, by taking the same approach to this age cohort. Enticing them to send more letters, write them more often and supporting the improvement of literacy skills as a side benefit too. Both social and economic uplift from a service central to all our lives.

Perhaps we should send them a Pigeon?  Download a copy of Millennials and the Mail here.


Original article:

This caught our imagination this morning, on a cold, not quite Christmas yet day.

We love writing, writers, writing initiatives and the rest, as you know. But in the hurly-burly of Zoom, email and e-comms, even though we are all standing still at the moment, we felt there must be space for the quiet reflection and the use of the good, old pen.

Well there is now. It’s a product called Pigeon.

Your Pigeon will come from Birmingham in the UK, by the way.

This is writing that’s fun, personal and allows you to connect to your quiet imagination, whatever your age.

We thought this was a great idea, great product design and choice, and modest pricing too.

Visit https://pigeonposted.com and discover your own Pigeon. Great for a Christmas gift too.

Season’s greetings to all our readers…


The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2020 starts today – on-line

The Edinburgh International Book Festival starts today. Events are free and you can visit the very impressive festival web pages here – https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

Edinburgh books made tangible: Florencia Viadonna, Creative Commons, Unsplash

Taking place in your web browser from the 15th to the 31st August 2020.

  • Book attendance at over 140 events – see more.
  • Browse the very comprehensive Festival Bookshop – see more.
  • What’s happening with the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme? – see more.

Some highlights for us…

The New York Times Series

‘For the second year running, The New York Times and Edinburgh International Book Festival are collaborating to bring a timely and thought-provoking celebration of writing and ideas to readers around the world’.

Sessions include Women in Politics, live NYT book reviews, Inside the NYT Crossword and Should Capitalism Survive Climate Change? In turbulent times this festival theme will help crystallise your take on the socio-political tensions that wrack the country in 2020. See more.

Outriders Africa

Having supported ten writers to explore and re-imagine the landscape in the US in 2017, the festival this year will send ten writers on journeys across Africa.

‘Outriders will again see ten writers explore a region of the world – this time in Africa. Each pair of writers will embark on an international journey through Africa, meeting writers and communities along their way and engaging in discussions around migration, colonial legacies, inequalities and the impact of globalisation and environmental change. Each of the ten Outriders will create a new work in response to their journey which will be presented at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2021’.

You can find this important work, challenging perceptions here.

Made in Scotland

If you needed evidence of the intellectual  powerhouse that is Scotland, find it in this festival theme here.

You can find the festival full programme here.

You can explore how to book here.

You can donate and support the festival here.


The Henry Buckmaster Short Story Competition

We are proud supporters of The St. Elizabeth Hospice.

Support St. Elizabeth Hospice with your creativity…

You can support the Hospice and get creative with your writing talent by entering the The Henry Buckmaster Short Story Competition. Tell your story and support those who work to help others! ( We are remembering Henry too…).

See https://www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/the-henry-buckmaster-short-story-competition/

Details of the Competition

  • The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18
  • To enter please make a donation to St. Elizabeth Hospice of £10 or more per entry. You may enter more than once.
  • We ask that your short story is a maximum of 3,000 words long
  • We ask that your short story is based around the themes of family, community or compassion
  • The competition is now open and will close at midnight on Sunday 14 June.
  • The winner will be announced on National Writing Day, the 26 June.

How To Enter

Once you have made your donation of £10 (if you are able to give more it would be very much appreciated) on the Here Together JustGiving Page we will be in contact with you regarding sending in your short story. The deadline for entries is midnight on Sunday 14 June.

You can see details of the competition judges, and even how to enter with a story written on traditional paper by hand here – https://www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/the-henry-buckmaster-short-story-competition/

Discover the great work of the St. Elizabeth Hospice team here – https://www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/

Don’t forget to donate here http://www.justgiving.com/shortstorycompetitionstelizabethhospice

Good luck!


Smithsonian Open Access – we had to sit down…

In the U.S. the Smithsonian Institution has created an Open Access resource of staggering diversity.

Update July 2020: If you are interested in furniture, specifically in growing your own furniture – check out this fabulous article on the BBC web pages – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32977012


Swiss/German side chair, late 17thC – early 18thC – Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

“Smithsonian Open Access, where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking. With new platforms and tools, you have easier access to nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from our collections—with many more to come. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo”.

Source: https://www.si.edu/openaccess

As always with Open Access resources, despite millions of electronic artifacts in the Public Domain on the Smithsonian web pages, some do have license/usage restrictions. Always check before use!

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966

For the inquisitive, there is a wealth of subject matter and themes to explore on the Smithsonian pages. Whether your interest is art, ceramics, photography, science or zoology…there will be a reservoir of interesting items to peruse.

A search of the archive for ‘film’ produces a delightful range of posters, lobby cards and images of garments worn in Hollywood movies.

See an example search here.

This is a creative archive in the public domain, bar none. It is easy, even in a short time, to find resources that can inspire your next creative project.

We recommend a visit to the Smithsonian.

 


Ellen Lives On

A featured article from our current archive:

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

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 2019 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/

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

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!

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

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.