Friday, 17 June 2016

The Polar Tombola comes to BALTIC Gateshead

What happens when a language disappears altogether? 

If you were asked to exclude just one word from your own vocabulary, what would you choose? 

Come to BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead on Saturday 18 July to answer these questions and puzzle out some new ones. The Astonishing Polar Tombola runs from noon to 3pm as part of the annual Artists' Book Market, an amazing weekend celebration of books organised by Theresa Easton. Over 40 national and regional artists will be displaying their work in the BALTIC galleries and artist-led workshops will be in progress for those who want to make a book themselves. Entry is free.

Image (c) Caspar Evans / Small Publishers Fair

The Polar Tombola welcomes players of all ages and languages. Learn a new word from an endangered Arctic language, and leave behind one of your own words in return. By playing the game you will take part in a movement to raise awareness of vulnerable languages, and your word could be included in the Anthology of Abandoned Words, published by Bird Editions in 2017.

The Polar Tombola was first performed at the Small Publishers Fair, London in 2015, and a Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England has allowed the project to tour. Look out for future events in London, Cambridge and Bristol over the following year. There's more information about the project in this post about the 2015 event.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Disko Bay shortlisted...

I'm delighted that Disko Bay has been shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.

The Forward Prizes were set up in 1992, and have been celebrating excellence in poetry ever since. It's an honour to see Disko Bay on this year's shortlist alongside poems and collections by writers I have admired since I started writing myself. A few names on the shortlist are new to me - but not for long, as I bought up all the available titles (some have not yet been published) in Blackwells this afternoon.

The Guardian has a good survey of the shortlist. It reports William Seighart, founder of the Forward Prizes, saying: 'What we think of as English is expanding all the time - and these poets are on the frontline of change, making homes for new words and dialects, contributing their acuteness of expression, their powers of noticing, to the endless redrafting of the language.' 

The award ceremony (billed as 'the poetry event of the year') is on 20 September 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Tickets available here.