Monday, 8 December 2008


Tim Allen read to a large and appreciative audience at THE LANGUAGE CLUB, Plymouth Arts Centre, on Saturday night, December 6, to launch his new book Settings, which is just published by Shearsman of Exeter. Tim read from his new book for the first half and was followed by Plymouth regulars Steve Spence, Kenny Knight, Philip Kuhn, James Turner, Jean Symons and others for the open mic set. Tim Allen is co-editor (with Andrew Duncan) of Don't Start Me Talking: Interviews with Contemporary Poets, Salt, 2007.

Thursday, 4 December 2008


On December 3rd, Mary Jacobs gave an apparently lighthearted and entertaining talk on the twenty-year long MI5 surveillance of writer Sylvia Townsend Warner and her companion and lover Valentine Ackland. It was great fun to hear about the ludicrous mismatch between senior MI5 officers and local police investigating a couple of leftist literary women (members of the British Communist Party) living in remote rural Dorset. The information came from recently released MI5 archives. Despite the humour of class and lifestyle incomprehension, it was moving to learn of this radical writer's sustained and practical political commitment: working in Spain for the Red Cross during the Civil War, attending the congress of anti-Fascist writers there, and organising accommodation and financial help for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. Mary's most recent article on Warner appears in the Journal of the Sylvia Townsend Warner Society, she is Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University and teaches Life Writing on the MA.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


MA Creative Writing graduate Ann Gray's latest poetry book At the Gate is just published from Headland publications. Ann has published three previous collections. Her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies including The Forward Book of Poetry (Faber, 2008) and Making Worlds: One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets (Headland, 2003). Clive James has written: 'Ann Gray's poetry is a measured but sumptuous revelation, like the sun coming up a few inches at a time. Very few women and no men at all, can write from a good soul and bad conscience with quite her combination of tact and recklessness. This collection is the garden of the heart laid bare'. Ann Gray lives in Cornwall. The cover image for the book is 'The Lovers' by Michael Scott (copyright, 2005).