Local poets and writers discuss their work and pieces written for the festival
Local poets and writers Sue Greenhill, Catherine Nicolson, Simon Savage and Ghareeb Iskander discuss their work and read pieces written especially for the book festival.
Hosted by the actor and award-winning poet Chrys Salt MBE.
Free event! No ticket required
Chrys has performed across the UK and Europe, India, Australia and Yukon. She was International Poet at The Tasmanian Poetry Festival 2019 and guest of honour at The Dialogia Festival in Finland this August. She has been recipient of many awards and bursaries and in 2014 was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Services to The Arts.
Ghareeb Iskander is a poet, translator and scholar living in London. He taught Arabic at SOAS, University of London where he received his PhD in Near & Middle Eastern studies with an emphasis on literary translation. He has published several books including A Chariot of Illusion (Exiled Writers Ink, London 2009); Gilgamesh’s Snake and Other Poems, a bilingual collection, which won Arkansas University’s Arabic Translation Award for 2015 (Syracuse University Press, New York 2016); English Poetry and Modern Arabic Verse: Translation and Modernity (I. B. Tauris, London 2021). He was longlisted for the 2021 John Dryden Translation Competition. Iskander has also translated Derek Walcott, Ted Hughes and other world modernist poets into Arabic, and Abdul Wahab al-Bayati, Hasab al-Shaikh Ja‘far and other Arab modernist poets into English.
Simon was born in South Africa and spent his teenage years there as apartheid ended and the new South Africa came into being. He has been a professional blogger for over 25 years under the pseudonym ‘The Weatherman’, writing 100 words a day, every working day of the year, which equates to about 625,000 words so far. The blog has a readership of 20,000 people. He’s now trying to finish his first novel which has taken ten years of work, worn out multiple fountain pens, filled piles of journals and ended the life of at least two computers. He is a passionate cyclist, fly-fisherman, yoga teacher and acupuncturist. He has been a school teacher, a fashion designer and a classical musician. He will finish the novel he is working on, will have it published, it will become a best seller, he will become famous and will set fire to hotel rooms and throw the TV out the window into the pool below.
Catherine is a published novelist and has worked in educational publishing and as a publisher’s reader and a photojournalist. She was born in Africa and brought up there for most of her childhood, with intermittent periods spent in Manchester, Bristol and an idyllic though isolated hamlet in rural Cambridgeshire. After school in Bristol, she attended Oxford University for a degree in modern languages, and subsequently spent some time as a translator from French into English. She now lives in Queen’s Park, and her poetry has been published both online and internationally. Her favourite accolade is for her first novel to have been mentioned in broadcaster Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America and to have featured in the New York Times. Her mother Dee Nicolson is also a poet, and her grandfather Alan Tabor was a calligrapher and illuminator much interested in the works of Tagore, which he published widely with great success.
In her own words, Sue says: I am 21 and many, many months – as they say. I first wrote poetry as a small child at boarding school – but without any encouragement – my school was programming us only for marriage and breeding – I’ve done that too. I’ve been writing poetry for years – I’ve got an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London – and I’ve had lots of poems published – all over the place – and have read at a variety of venues.
In my previous life I was a photographer – specialising in Literary London – taking author pictures for book jackets, and publicity purposes and covering all the book events – The Booker Prize, The British Book Awards, Hay Literary Festival, Cheltenham Literary Festival – and numerous book launch parties. It was all great fun.
I also trained as a bookbinder at Camberwell Art School many years ago and worked in a bindery restoring and rebinding old books, until my hands were like sandpaper and I could ladder my tights just putting them on.