Performance Poetry for Black History Month

Eric Ngalle Charles

Eric Ngalle Charles

Cardiff’s Central Library has recently begun holding regular Open Space events for writers to perform their work or hold a book launch. These are free to attend, and a great way for writers to reach a wider audience. This month’s Open Space featured four local poets, in celebration of October’s National Poetry Day and Black History Month. The event was well attended, and included musical elements as well as the spoken word.    Continue reading

Made in Roath – A Community Festival of Arts & Culture

The Bard of Ely

Made in Roath is a local community arts festival which began eight years ago and has grown into something not to be missed. Roath (aka The People’s Republic of Roath) is an ever-expandable quirky area of Cardiff which even has its own alternative ‘Actual History Museum’. The festival involves art in all its forms and this year, despite a nasty autumnal cold, I managed to get along to some of the spoken word / performance events, which were as fascinating and unique as ever.    Continue reading

Witticisms, Wine & Welsh Writing

Writer Jasmine Donahaye

Jasmine Donahaye

If I was more of a wine drinker, I would certainly appreciate the complimentary refreshments on offer at the Cardiff branch of Waterstones for their regular literary events. Last Thursday’s event was not as packed as I’d expected, considering the fact that, not just one, but six incredible Welsh writers were there to read their work. It was a celebration of the Wales Book of the Year Award (all the writers being current or previous winners) featuring Thomas Morris, Kate Hamer, Patrick McGuiness, Jasmine Donahaye, Jonathan Edwards, Philip Gross and Rhian Edwards.    Continue reading

Roald Dahl – A Storyteller’s Legacy

Roald DahlBorn in Cardiff, on 13th September 1916, Roald Dahl is most well-known for his books for children. My favourites include Fantastic Mr Fox, The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, and The BFG. I grew up thoroughly enjoying literature in all its forms, but especially the splendiforous stories and revolting rhymes of Roald Dahl. I am proud to share a birthday with a master storyteller of gargantuan proportions, and have thoroughly enjoyed the recent centenary celebrations… but who was the real Roald Dahl?    Continue reading

Books in a Hospital – Essential Reading

BooksPlus bookshopIt is widely acknowledged that reading is good for your health, that it can help in stressful situations and provide a form of useful escapism. So why doesn’t every hospital have a bookshop? I recently visited BooksPlus, a bookshop located in the main concourse of Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales. Although it is a Christian bookshop, it doesn’t just stock Christian literature. They have a wide variety of products from general fiction and children’s books to cards and puzzle books.    Continue reading

Celebrating Culture – Looking to the Future

Coleridge in Wales eventJust as the UK decides to divorce itself from the rest of Europe, the arts and culture scene in Britain has never been more international or multi-cultural. I know many artists and writers are horrified by the way this referendum has turned out, and fearful of yet more funding cuts, but I am sure that, no matter what happens over the coming months, they will continue to create work that shocks us, makes us think and helps us to make sense of the world around us.    Continue reading

Jacqueline Wilson at Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival

Jacqueline Wilson at Cardiff Children's Literature FestivalJacqueline Wilson is an impressive author. I read and loved her books when I was a child and she is still churning out brilliant (and fabulously illustrated) books, year after year, with 38 million books sold in Britain alone. The Story of Tracy Beaker has been turned into four different series on CBBC, and Hetty Feather has been adapted for TV and stage. She also has her own magazine and regularly speaks at events around the country. I should not have been surprised, therefore, to see a queue of families snaking its way outside Cardiff City Hall in anticipation of this event.    Continue reading

How Welsh is Roald Dahl?

Roald Dahl born in CardiffIf disaster strikes on the other side of the globe, the Welsh media always succeed in finding some Welsh person whose second cousin or neighbour’s son was present at the event. This habit of claiming everything for Wales can be amusing and ridiculous, but in the case of Roald Dahl, we (I count myself as Welsh now, after living here for seven years) can definitely claim at least a small part of him for ourselves. He was born here, baptised in the Norwegian church (his parents were Norwegian) and spent his early childhood living in Llandaff (which is now a suburb of Cardiff, although it pretends not to be).    Continue reading

Do we take children’s literature seriously?

book for childrenLast night I attended a lecture on this topic, which was organised as part of the Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival. I was unsure what to expect. My own opinion is that all literature should be taken seriously, including books written for children. At the age of ten I was regularly reading adult books and yet as an adult I am happy to re-read the books of my childhood. I even organised a Roald Dahl themed party for my thirtieth birthday. So what’s the problem?    Continue reading

Cardiff Book Talk: with authors John Harding and Gaynor Arnold

Lewis Carroll writer

Self Portrait of Lewis Carroll

Cardiff Book Talk is run by Cardiff University’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy. Described on their website as “a University book group with a difference”, it is certainly nothing like any book group I’ve been to before. I was impressed that their events are entirely free and open to anyone. Most seem to be discussion-centred, with academics from various disciplines addressing the literature from their perspective. However, this particular session was an opportunity to actually meet the authors in question: John Harding and Gaynor Arnold.    Continue reading