You may remember back in January, I wrote a post about creative writing workshops which were held in rural locations around Dorset to promote creative writing. (You can read the post here.) The workshops were offered by steering group members of the Dorset Writers’ Network and encouraged participants to submit a 500 word story, based in Dorset, for inclusion in an anthology. This Little World is the result of hard work by all those involved.
The stories in this anthology are by writers from 11-70 years. Each story is a real gem of no more than 500 words in length which celebrates the diversity of the county. The anthology is available in paperback through Amazon, click here for details. An ebook of the anthology will follow.
Please find below the story I mentioned an earlier post. It is written in response to Tiff Oben’s artwork which forms part of the Engaging in the Past exhibition at Oriel y Bont. Aethiopian Maid acknowledges the black presence in Tudor England.
The green silk gown hangs on a wooden pole. The girl has fingers thin as cinnamon quills and like in colour. She runs them over the embroidered hem. Clusters of pansies in gold and silver thread have faces marked with pearls. This is a gown of much importance. Clara checks the fabric, a task she undertakes every spring when moths are wont to cause damage. A smell of herbs and lavender pervades. Dried flower heads fall from the folds. She checks the seams and gathers for holes but none are found. Her mistress prizes this gown more than any other and work is needed to keep it fresh. Clara takes the gown and carries it outside where she hangs it in the breeze of the warm spring day.
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Although I have Viva Las Vegas ringing in my ears, this post is about an academic viva. Yesterday, I was examined by Julia Green, author of YA books including Breathing Underwater, and programme leader at Bath Spa University. After a 90 minute discussion about my work, Julia confirmed that I can continue my studies in Creative Writing to PhD level. I am pleased and relieved. There will be a lot of work involved, but with Philip Gross and Diana Wallace as my supervisors, I will be well supported.
While I was at the University, I took the opportunity to visit the Engaging with the Past exhibition. Held at Oriel y Bont, the exhibition accompanied the Representing the Tudors conference held during the summer. I was asked to use one of the exhibits as a stimulus for a piece of creative writing. I’m pleased to say my story ‘Aethopian Maid’ is displayed next to Tiff Oben’s artwork. The story acknowledges the Black presence in Tudor England.
I’ve a story in a new anthology titled What I Remember published by EVB Press. In The Game, I use 500 words to tell the events of an abusive weekend through backwards chronology. I became interested in Everyday Victim Blaming when I heard Louise Pennington talking about the campaign on Radio 4. The organisation reviews media coverage of violence against women and children, and identifies where news reports have overt victim blaming content. Incidents include the rape girls who are so drunk that they cannot stand up, yet men claim sex is consensual. Media coverage offers excuses to support the abuser rather than showing compassion for the victim.
Other writers who have stories in the anthology include Cath Bore, Carol Fenlon and Mandy Huggins.
Click here to purchase a copy of the anthology – all proceeds support the organisation.
This is a piece of fabric I bought while on holiday in Banjul, capital of the Gambia. We spent a day in the city in order to visit the Methodist Church where a new generator had been purchased by the congregation in New Malden. The cloth celebrates the Methodist Church in the Gambia and I became fascinated by the Gambian tradition of wearing fabric to acknowledge and promote many different things. I remember seeing a woman in Albert Market wearing traditional dress with a matching head wrap in bright, printed fabric. When I asked if the cloth was for sale, I was told it was worn in support of a political party. While logos and designer brands have become part of popular culture in this country, it seems that wearing anything to indicate allegiance to a political party is limited to a badge or rosette.
I was prompted to make this post after visiting the West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition at the British Library. There you will find a whole range of artefacts that demonstrate the interlinking nature of word, symbol and song including texts, drums, shell-stories and, of course, fabric. It’s well worth a visit.
Victorian Gallery, Dorset County Museum
The first Dorchester Literary Festival runs from 23-25 October 2015 with events at Duke’s Auctioneers and the delightful Victorian Gallery in the Dorset County Museum. I’m a volunteer steward at Desert Island Books with Tracy Chevalier and I’m planning attend the session delivered by Dom Joly on Friday. You’ll also find me helping at the Young Peoples’ Story Slam on Saturday held at Dorchester Library.
If you’re able to attend any of these events, I look forward to seeing you.
Adrian Ford is circulating details of the event below. Unfortunately, I’m in Cornwall that week but I wish everyone attending a very good night.
The British Institute of Human Rights came to Dorchester today as part of 15 Days of Action to celebrate the Human Rights Act which came into force in 2000. The aim of the workshops is to empower people to:
- know about human rights
- use human rights in practice
- protect human rights
What are human rights?
Human rights were legally defined after WWII in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. It is a set of minimum standards regarding how the state treats people. Human rights cannot be taken away but in some instances, limited or restricted.
Why does the Human Rights Act matter?
- it offers protection to everyone
- it ensures the government is accountable
- the legal duties on public authorities ensure that human rights are respected in their decisions and actions
- it helps the UK show leadership when human rights violations are taking place across the world
For more information see the website: bihr.org.uk