Found Poems from Hay Festival 2016 Programme

One of our poetry members Emma, is steaming ahead with her Hay Festival Poetry Challenge of finding ten poems within the pages of official Hay Festival Programme. A little bird tell me she has just completed number five but will post it online tomorrow.

Here’s what you’ve been missing so far.

2 / 10  –  Page 13 – Friday 27th May

found poem 2
Starlight / winter days / quicksilver / music from a pearl earring: /
How did the / writer / bring / to life / a
constellation / in / blues- /
voice / the spirit / of his inspirations /
Plant / his / poem / of / the / World.


3 / 10  –  Page 15 – Saturday 28th May.

Title – Free but …

Memory – the world’s greatest – storyteller – is vanishing –
Explore – who remains – hate – genius – her brilliant – Face. – Did you know – we – can kill you – or – make – the weird and – wonderful – echo – one love – Yet, inside – her life has been – plagued by – the story of a man – A Dying Breed – that travels the – perilous streets of – the dark …


4 of 10 Page 25 – Sunday 29th May


Savage / Bear / savage / author / he acts out / the / Myth of Them and / talks to / Amnesia.

Amnesia: / a young woman / releases the Angel Worm / hundreds / walk free / and the magical / pour out. / While she goes to ground / to write her story; to save her, and himself, and maybe his / morality.

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets / three / writers / the colour of milk / ambassadors / of / the aftermath; / distinguished / privateers / plying their trade …..

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Pick & Mix at Hay Festival 2016



No jelly babies harmed, but two  were ‘accidentally’ eaten …

We are all currently making sacrifices to the Welsh weather gods for a fine, sunny and dry Hay Festival. But this aside, it’s worth remembering that if you find yourself soggy under canvas, desperately using a puncture repair kit on an old pair of wellies, or simply a little dampened around the edges you can still locate some sunshine within the pages of a good book.

The Hay Festival onsite Book Shop is as popular as ever! Get there early, purchase your book, and if fortune allows, join a queue and get it signed by the author. Don’t forget to chat to your fellow queuee’s – an affable, interesting, all-weather bunch who will share many of your interests and much more besides.

If you decide to roam the array of bookshops in Hay town, disappointment will not be your accomplice. You can peruse (a word much loved by bibliophiles) at your literary leisure where ever you fancy – visit them once, twice, become a regular, tweet them online, instagram shop photos, love their facebook tete a tete!

Pick and Mix front cover-page-002

Our brightly coloured, (some might say eye popping) Pick and Mix anthology is hard to miss – being filled with a 5 star array of wordy weathers to suit all – it will be available at the Hay Festival Bookshop and also in several Hay Town Bookshops too.

Dig deep into your cash reservoir and it can be yours for a crisp £5.00 note.


***Don’t forget you can get it signed at our event too! ***

A few tickets are still available for our event in the Scribblers Tent
at 7pm on Wednesday June 1st. Event number 297. Click here to book


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Hay Festival 2016 – Exciting Times

Hay-on-Wye – Hay-oh-My!
2015-05-24 17.40.11It’s the 18th May  and time is definitely marching to a very fast paced drum indeed. We have been rehearsing our festival pieces and no small amount of re-edits, tweaks and minor adjustments have been accomplished with notable ease, tea, cake and imaginary valium!

They’ll be plenty of multi genre debut writing to enthrall and entertain the Scribblers Tent audience during our festival slot on Wednesday June 1st at 7pm. Tickets are selling very well and we’re fully confident another sell-out success like last year. Bravo  and applause in large quantities to Hay Festival for another brilliant slot! Thank you.

Have you bought a ticket already? No?! *coughs under breath*  Then you’d better get your festival skates on and book now – CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.  😉

In other news … Emma van Woerkom – one of our poets and a professional stretcher of the number of hours in the day, has once again formed, created and is now steaming ahead with her 2016 Hay Festival Poetry Challenge. This year she will attempt to discover ten ‘found poems’ using the Hay Festival Programme as her source material. There’ll be absolutely no cake for her until she accomplishes her task…..although more cake for everyone else in the mean time!

We’ll keep you up to date with her progress  but here’s Poem # 1 of 10
#hayfestivalpoetrychallenge  #thehaywriter  #hayfestival



P10 Friday 27 #May

“The – journey around – time – and – the writer’s – trilled – heart – revealed unknown secret – chain – reactions caused by the – tiny acts of – a genuine, working Enigma.”
ECvW ©2016

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Hay Festival 2016 Poetry Challenge

With Festival time fast approaching it’s reached that point in May again when I set myself my yearly Hay Festival Poetry Challenge – HFPC for short. Last year I managed to write a poem …

Source: Hay Festival 2016 Poetry Challenge

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Dan Davies Announced As Non-Fiction Judge 2016

The Hay Writers are delighted to announce that Dan Davies has agreed to judge the Richard Booth Prize for Non Fiction 2016. The winners will be revealed mid-July.

Presently, I imagine industrious pens editing their hearts out in the hope of this coveted win!

Dan Davies – Winner of the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize (pictured)
and the 2015 CWA Non-Fiction Dagger.

Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the James Tait Black Prize.

Photo c/o



Quercus Publishing writes,  “Dan Davies is a journalist, author and editor with more than twenty years’ experience as a senior staffer and freelance contributor on a wide variety of magazines, newspapers and websites. Twice shortlisted as BSME Magazine Writer of the Year, he has been Deputy Editor and Acting Editor of Esquire, Editor of Esquire Weekly, a Features Editor at the Mail on Sunday, Deputy Editor of Jack magazine, and a feature writer for the Guardian Guide, Live Magazine, The Journal on and many others.”

Don’t forget tickets are still available for our Hay Festival event in the
Scribblers Tent at 7pm on June 1st. Event number 297.

Click here to book

2015-05-24 17.44.34


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Hay Writers at Hay Festival 2016


bring you wellies 2a

We are grateful to the organisers for allowing us a slot at the Festival again this year.  We will be reading our latest poetry and prose in the Scribblers’ Hut at 7pm on Wednesday,  1st June, and our anthology Pick and Mix will be on sale at the Festival bookshop.

The session number is 297 and tickets are priced at £4.

Click here to book tickets

We hope to see you there.


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Pick and Mix Temptations


The next selection from our anthology is taken from Watching Me, Watching You by Juliet Foster.

‘I know you are watching me, watching you.  As I opened the five bar gate on my return home, you were sliding down the roof; it was a controlled slide, delivering you with great accuracy just above the suet ball holder, which was swinging from the gutter.  Just as you were about to swing with it, devouring the bird food in seconds, you saw me standing, watching you.  You changed your plan; you flicked the holder from the gutter, and let it drop into the undergrowth, where you hid with it.  I had to stop watching you, I could not see you.’

Pick and Mix is available from local bookshops and from Amazon.

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Books We Wish We had Written

TruestoryTruestory by Catherine Simpson

Truestory is Catherine Simpson’s debut novel, and hopefully the first of many.  This is Alice’s story.  She lives in a remote Lancashire farmhouse with her son, Sam and her husband, Duncan.  Duncan is not a natural in the world of farming, or in the world of fatherhood and Alice fights to cope with the farm’s failing finances and to make Sam’s life as grounded as she can.  Sam has Asperger’s Syndrome, a penchant for maps and a terror of change.

The treatment of Sam’s situation is both sensitive and well-informed.  Catherine’s own daughter suffers from autism and her view of the book is that it is a ‘really sympathetic portrait of someone with autism … and it shows we can’t turn our weird off.’  Alice’s feeling of being trapped in her situation is beautifully captured and Catherine’s writing walks the fine line between humour and the darker side with amazing poise and balance.

Truestory is one of those rare books.  It is a cracking, hard to put down ‘easy read’ which leaves you thinking for a very long time afterwards.

Sandstone Press Ltd (2015), £8.99

ISBN:  978-1-910124-59-8

Jan Newton


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Books We Wish We had Written

The first recommendation this week is from Juliet Foster.

Conversations with my Gardener by Henri Cueco:

A little gem.  This memoir is a conversation between two elderly French gentlemen; the author, who is also an artist and the other, his gardener.  Their friendship deepens over the years as they discuss their families, health and jobs amongst many other topics.  Their discussion about the beauty of a lettuce versus a painting is debated at length, as is the advantage of ageing and the removal of teeth.  ‘Soon I won’t have my of my own left.  Just the bought ones,’ says the gardener.  The gardener also tells the artist that coffee is making him feel ill.  He is advised to try tea and told they drink it in England.  The gardener responds by saying they aren’t any dafter over there than here.  As the gardener’s health deteriorates it becomes very moving.  An enchanting book that everyone should read.

Granta £6.99 ISBN 86207-739-8


The second book is recommended by Jo Jones.

Scully by Alan Bleasdale

My first teaching post was in a middle school (ages ten to thirteen) in the Liverpool area.  Many of the children (especially the boys) could not read.  They would listen to me reading them a book, but only if they could identify with the characters in the story.  Clearly, children’s classics such as Anne of Green Gables or Black Beauty just would not interest them.

Alan Bleasdale was a teacher in a comprehensive school in Liverpool; he too had quickly realised that the boys in his class did not identify with Janet and John or Dick and Dora (popular school reading schemes).  What they wanted were stories about boys like themselves who enjoyed football, bunking off school, were always in trouble and hated Everton supporters.  Alan started writing short stories about a lad called Scully and his mates who were passionate Liverpool supporters.  These short stories became the basis for his books:  Scully and Scully and Mooey.

The characters’ home lives were chaotic, usually living in social housing in overcrowded conditions.  Scully was the youngest of seven; he had an elder sister who had got pregnant at seventeen and given birth to a mixed race baby boy who was christened Darryl Sebastian Cochise (but called Hovis for short).

Alan’s typical Liverpool humour, combined with his ability to have readers crying with laughter one minute and weeping with sadness the next makes Scully a wonderful read.  I’m sure many of you will remember Boys from the Black Stuff by the same author.

Scully by Alan Bleasdale was first published in 1977, ISBN 10:0099139201 Arrow Books paperback.





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Books we wish we had written …

Ex libris Allen

In his wonderful book On Writing, Stephen King gives the following advice:

‘If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:  read a lot and write a lot.  There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.’

Well that’s a relief then.  The OCD-like inability to pass a bookshop, the teetering piles of books ‘to be read’ … it seems that’s all perfectly normal behaviour for aspiring writers.  With this ‘official’ permission granted, we thought it might be interesting to share our favourite reads.  Juliet Foster sets the ball rolling with her insights into a book which, as luck would have it, concerns the subject of being a book lover.

Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman

This is a book written for bibliophiles.  Anne Fadiman is an American writer who has included eighteen of her essays in this little book.  As these are essays you can dip in and out at will.  I found it fun and interesting to discover how other people’s lives are enhanced by the reading and ownership of books.  I particularly related to and loved the first essay ‘Marrying Libraries’.  In fact one can identify with much of her writing and I shall dip into Ex Libris again and again.

Allen Lane (1999) ISBN 0713993154, Penguin (2000) ISBN 0140283706

Juliet Foster

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