Friday 16 June 2017

Hidden Gems June - July

Sometimes you want to take a break from the norm and try something a little bit different. With that in mind, these are just some of the hidden gems on BookGig, handpicked from lesser known sources of literary prowess and brought to your attention! So, take a look and attend an event, or two, or even three …

Send your imagination to Mars at this creative writing session in York that looks to lend some creative flair to Earth’s near-future mission to an off-world colony. Leading the workshop will be York St John University staff who will provide prompts and a topical sci-fi discussion on classic texts and ideas to stir the cosmic energy in the room. Attendees will be supported in producing their work, with the chance to join the Terra Two digital archive, which will collate contributions of writing, music, pictures, games and podcasts for the Terra Two website in time for its launch. Whether you want to take your sci-fi writing to the next step and be published with the support of editors, or simply want to get creative and have some fun proffering your version of a journey to the stars, this is an event not to be missed. 

At present, our only vehicle by which to travel back into the past or forward into the future is fiction. For a small fee you can peruse an abundant showroom of fiction’s time travelling vessels at Durham’s Palace Green Library. This exhibition of short stories will guide you outside of time with audio installations, music, film and literature that bend the rules of the space time continuum, and hopefully inspire you to produce your own story live from the fourth dimension. 

Most can’t see the wood for the concrete in London’s urban jungle. Thankfully though, Paul Wood is on hand (and foot) to show you the vast beauty of London’s urban Forest at this fascinating guided walk examining the beauty and history of London’s trees. 

Spelunkers of independent thinking would be remiss to pass by this hidden gem of an event celebrating hidden gems themselves. Organised by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, formed to raise awareness of literary indie-thinking, the London Radical Bookfair is a free event gathering the most unique and rebellious minds in the publishing trade. Over 130 exhibitors and 20 guest speakers will showcase the depth and breadth of radical publishing and unveil the new grass roots initiatives shaking the corporate foundations of the industry; witness the revolution. 

If a ‘psychedelic frolic through altered states and parallel realities’ is what you look for in a poetry reading, then A.A. Walker’s performance of erotic prose-poem Licentia is the answer to your mid-week lull! Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Ozlem Simsek’s harp and theremin loops, this is a poetry reading like no other, where music and verse synchronise to experimental and enchanting effect. 

Purity, innocence, and light. The colour white has draped female characters in film and literature in these symbolic connotations throughout history. As part of the Lancaster Words three-day celebration of the written and spoken word, Dr Catherine Spooner provides an engaging insight into the women in white of gothic narratives.

There had to come a time when computers could create our art for us, and that time is now. Artist Naho Matsuda created live poetry for her ‘every thing every time’ exhibition by using a computer programme that interacts in real-time with information created and collected by CityVerve Manchester. The final product was a never ending, ever changing poem feeding off the city’s movement:

the sun rises
the streets are empty
today is the last day of the term
the car park is almost empty
the traffic light turns green
the cleaning shift starts
the bus is on time
and it is colder than yesterday

With Matsuda’s guidance and alongside the multi-award-winning Manchester-based live literature team Bad Language, you can have a go at creating utterly unique robot poetry yourself.