Literature 2011

Page from 2011 on Leicester writers and literature

Literature books and poetry news 2011

This is an archive of the page in the old Arts in Leicestershire magazine from 2011. It was copied from an off-line archive file.

This page is part of the literature section.

For dates of spoken word, poetry, comedy and other shows see our events page

Reviews of spoken word shows and performance artists.

See our page on literature for 2010

See our new page on Poets and Poetry of Leicester.

On this page: Poetry at the Red Tent | Poetry Prize 2012 | Everybody’s reading | John Cooper Clarke | Timothy Grayson | Hardeep Singh Kholi | Adam Taylor | Michael Waters | Nigel Slater | City Libraries|

9th February

Gay History Month

February is LGBT History Month. In both the UK and around the world lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans people are celebrating our heritage. In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland we are adding to that sense of celebration. Untold Stories is the LGBT History Project in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland dedicated to collecting the personal memories of local LGBT people over a three year period. The Project will become a permanent exhibition to our community for future generations to learn how we used to live in years gone by.

On 23 -29 February Untold Stories will have a week-long event at Leicester Central Library, Leicester LGBT Centre and other venues to commemorate the journey our community has taken to where we are today. Everyone is invited and encouraged to visit and participate in the events that are taking place.

Details from the LGBT Centre web site

2nd February

Local author steaming along

The last few years have seen the rise of a genre dubbed only as Steampunk. Usually set in the Victorian era and taking the lead from authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, books, films and music are taking a fresh look at the life and technologies of the time. Imagine a time when the skies were filled with airships, the first computers were just being created and we were at war with creatures from Mars, and you’re not far off the mark.

Recently Hinckley based author Rae Gee has gotten in on this wonderfully imaginative genre. Her first book, Mars On The Rise, takes a look at the life of storyteller Cedo Reilly, a young man who unwittingly gets involved with the country’s largest weapons manufacturer. Mars On The Rise is being released in 2012 by US publisher Torquere Press and Rae is having the book launch right here in the Midlands.

Of her books, she says, “It feels quite natural to be writing about machines that people would never have thought existed (and possibly never did, but that’s half the fun!). My family has a long history of engineering and it seems to have seeped into my writing. The whole thing with being published has been a crazy ride. The launch is going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got two fantastic bands who are going to be playing on the night. One performs old music hall songs, while the other is an industrial/metal band with a Victorian twist.”

Mars On The Rise has its UK launch on May 12th at the Century Theatre in Coalville. Tickets are available £20, for which you’ll receive a copy of the book, various Victorian themed goodies, entrance to the Century Theatre, and live entertainment all night. There are a limited amount of tickets available

More information about this on Facebook

29th November

A night of poetry magic at the Rent Tent

Rob Gee, Carol Leeming and Timothy Grayson were among the poets who performed their work tonight at Leicester’s increasingly popular spoken word and music venue, The Red Tent, in Pocklingtons Walk

Poet and songwriter Alex read some of his work; ex-band member and painter, this talented guy had some of his work exhibited in the Galleri Gestur touring gallery.

Yevgeny Salisbury is a poet and a painter; his miniature St.Lad by the Chip Shop is reminiscent of a Russian Orthodox icon. It was unveiled tonight and is now part of the Gallerí Gestur, touring exhibition in a box. Yevgeny explained the background to the piece, which was inspired by one of the students he taught who wore a blue hoody, which reminded him of the Virgin Mary. It was a picture and a poem that set out to challenge the demonisation of teenagers.

Yevgeny Salisbury with Magnus Gestsson

Carol Leeming compared the evening and read some of her own works.

The headline performer tonight was Leicester’s Rob Gee. His work is spoken poetry which blends into narrative and rap at times, but always hugely enjoyable and happily peppered with one-liners that had the audience in fits of laughter.

Rob Gee looks at the picture St Lad by the Chip Shop

Recently returned from his tour of the United States, Timothy Grayson took to the floor to read some new works. Tim is a champion of the Poetry Brothel and the Brothelian Movement.

The Rent Tent has become a notable venue for live music, poetry performances and art exhibitions. It’s at 8 Pocklingtons Walk.

See our news item on events at the Red Tent

Find out about Timothy Grayson and the poetry whores on tour.

See our review of Rob Gee’s show Smart Arse.

27th October

Poetry prize 2012

English Association Fellows’ Poetry Prize 2012

Your reader, supporters and contributors may be interested to hear about the English Association’s Fellows’ Poetry Prize, writes Elizabeth Howard-Laity. The prize is sponsored by the late Professor Emerita Miriam Allott. This year’s entries will be judged by John Lucas, Philip Gross and Val Warner. Submissions are invited from any UK resident aged 16 and over. The theme this year is ‘Dickens’ and poems should be a maximum of 30 lines. Entry is £5 per poem (max 3 poems) and prizes are £500, £300 and £200.

The winning poets are invited to read their poems at the award presentation in May, and their poems are published in our flagship journal English, and, later, on the English Association website. Full details and submission form (including details for electronic submission) are on our website

Deadline for entries is 31 December 2011.

Library central to city’s reading festival

LEICESTER’S Central Library will be at the heart of a nine-day programme of events celebrating all thing’s book-related as Everybody’s Reading returns to the city.

Everybody’s Reading 2011 runs from Saturday, October 1 until Sunday, October 9, and the recently revamped Bishop Street library will host a number of events and workshops with high profile writers and performers as part of the citywide festival.

Highlights at Leicester Central Library include a chance to celebrate National Poetry in the company of national treasure John Agard (Oct 6) or enjoy Britain’s best-selling sci-fi novelist Peter F Hamilton in conversation with Professor George Fraser, Director of the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester as they debate science fiction versus science reality.

And Leicester authors Bali Rai and Dan Tunstall will be taking questions in a panel discussion as part of the Central Library’s Young Adults Day on Wednesday (Oct 5). The festival bows out with a four-day Finale WeekendER at Leicester Central Library where visitors can read, write and relax with books, tea, live performance and great company.

Catering will be provided by Art-Tea events and visitors can take part in a range of workshops including art inspired by the library’s collection of recipe books or a Knit and Think poetry session led by Leicester Libraries’ Book Doctor Alison Dunne.

Theatre company Maison Foo will out and about around Central Library on Friday quizzing people on their favourite books and cataloguing memories and pre-schoolers are invited to come along dressed as an alien and enjoy some storytelling inspired by outer space at the Friday morning Toddler time session.

There will also be lots of opportunities to meet and mingle with Everybody’s Reading festival patrons like Bali Rai and City Mayor Peter Soulsby. Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for neighbourhood services, said: “The new Central Library is the perfect venue to be at the heart of a festival that celebrates books and the joy of reading. This is a fantastic and exciting programme of events and it’s wonderful that the festival has attracted so many big names from the literary world.”

Everybody’s Reading 2011 takes place at a variety of venues across the city. Full details and times for all events are available from

Everybodys reading Leicester

John Cooper Clarke in Leicester

See our interview and feature article on the legendary beat poet John Cooper Clarke.

Leicester poet plans American tour

Poet Tim Grayson is busy raising funds for his planned tour of America. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s visit to America to give speeches on Aestheticism, Tim plans to tour the US in October to unite artistic dissidents and instruct them in the teachings of the Brothellian Movement.

You can see the full story on his website including a video of Tim explaining the background to the idea.

Hardeep Singh Kohli 6th July 7pm

Leicester Central Library, Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AA

Hardeep Singh Kohli is back in Leicester by popular demand! Broadcaster, writer and all-round ‘character’, Hardeep will entertain with tales of his life and writing, travel and cooking and how he became The Nearly Naked Chef.

Tickets are £2.00 and are available from the library, or reservations can be made by phoning 0116 299 5401. Please note tickets must be paid for by 5pm on July 5th so that any spare ones can be sold on the door. Last time we were a sell-out for Hardeep!

The author at the city’s central library

A CELEBRITY author, cook and comedian will be entertaining visitors to Leicester’s Central Library next month. Hardeep Singh Kohli, who is a renowned broadcaster, writer and entertainer, will be talking about his life in writing, travel and cooking on Wednesday, July 6, at 7pm, at the library in Leicester’s Bishop Street.

Hardeep, who was born in Glasgow to Indian parents, studied law before joining the BBC and directing children’s television shows, including the Bafta award-winning programme It’ll Never Work. He has presented a variety of television programmes, including Newsnight Review, and wrote the book Indian Takeaway, about food and travel in India.

Tickets for the event cost £2, and booking early is advised.
Contact the Library on 0116 299 5401, or email central-library at

22nd June

Leicester poet publishes a new blog for his work

Leicester poet Adam Daniel Taylor has set up a blog and has published some of his poetry on it. The 23-year-old poet finds creative writing appealing because ‘ it cleanses the heart and soul and completely frees your mind of any tension you may hold in it.’

You can see Adam’s blog and read some of his work.

Michael Waters plus three poets from Leicester July 13th 6pm

Leicester Central Library, Bishop Street.

Come along for this rare chance to hear a reading by leading American poet, Michael Waters who is launching his 9th and the latest book published by Shoestring Press. Michael’s poetry is beautiful, human and accessible. He will be accompanied by three of Leicester’s most accomplished spoken word artists. Lydia Towsey, Bobba Cass and Fatima Al Matar. This is a free event


The Grassroutes project is now inviting applications from writers living in Leicestershire for a £1,000 creative writing commission, which will take the form of a short story, long poem, poem sequence or performance piece that is also suited to the page.

The work should be a maximum of 5,000 words or should take up no more than 5 pages in the case of poetry. The commissioned work will be featured at two GRASSROUTES exhibitions of creative writing in Leicestershire Libraries and in the David Wilson Library at the University of Leicester (to coincide with the Literary Leicester festival).

The commissioned work should take ‘transcultural Leicester’ as its central theme. The successful applicant will receive £1,000 for their work, including all expenses. Applicants should submit the following in electronic form: A CV detailing your writing experience, A publications list, A sample of creative work (3 pages max), An outline proposal for the commission

These should be sent to Corinne Fowler at csf11 at no later than 20th April 2011

For more information see this web page

ArtsIn gave away 50 free books as part of World Book Night on Saturday 5th March

As part of World Book Night, ArtsIn gave away free copies of the autobiographical novel Toast on the evening of Saturday 5th March and Sunday 6th March.

The copies were handed out, for the most part, to fans attending live music events at the Musician and the Shed.

Toast is Nigel Slater’s multi-award-winning story of a childhood remembered through food. Whether relating his mother’s ritual burning of the toast, his father’s dreaded Boxing Day stew or such culinary highlights of the day as Arctic Roll and Grilled Grapefruit (then considered something of a status symbol in Wolverhampton), this remarkable memoir vividly recreates daily life in sixties suburban England.

Nigel’s likes and dislikes, aversions and sweet-toothed weaknesses form a fascinating backdrop to this incredibly moving and deliciously evocative portrait of childhood, adolescence and sexual awakening.

Find out more about the one million books give away by World Book Night.

All change at City Libraries

Adrian Wills, Head of Libraries at Leicester City, told us:

The Central Lending Library will be closing on Saturday 19th March in final preparation for Leicester’s new and improved centralised service. The service will close to allow for the transfer of furniture, books and equipment from the Belvoir Street-based library to the new revamped ‘Leicester Central Library’ (the former Reference and Information Library in Bishop Street).

The revamped ‘Leicester Central Library’ will open its doors to the public on Tuesday 26 April. As a result of the closure, due dates on all Central library loans will be extended until the new library opens. Alternative study space is being made available in the Adult Education College in Wellington Street between March 23 and April 21.

Library users are also encouraged to access any of the other 15 community libraries across the city while the work is being completed. As part of the transition process, the Belvoir Street library will close so that the furniture, books and computers can be transferred to the new centralised service in Bishop Street. The revamped service at Bishop Street is really exciting and the building improvements are looking very good.

Many of the original features of the 1905 Carnegie Library building are being restored. The refurbished building will bring all central library services together under one roof including books for loan, reference and information resources, public access computers, an IT training suite and an exciting programme of author events.

We hope that the closure will not be too much of an inconvenience to users and we have tried to minimise the impact by extending due dates on all central library loans. Centralising the city’s library service will deliver a number of benefits to members of the public including a refurbished, lighter and brighter building with plans to open out both floors to provide additional space. It will also enable improvements to stock layout and signage, both of which were flagged up during the earlier public consultation held in February 2010.

Once vacant, the former Lending Library building in Belvoir Street will be used by Leicester Adult Education College. The college will extend its current City Multi-Access Centre (City MAC) into the building, which supports local people into work. In addition, the building will provide more public space for voluntary and community groups. The building is expected to reopen to the public in its new role in early summer of this year.

Leicestershire Libraries told us:

Tell us who your favourite book character is, and why, in no more than 50 words and win your Top 10 favourite paperbacks.

The closing date for the competition is Saturday 9th April 2011.

There are prizes for under 12s and adults. Entrants must be library members. (If you’re not a member already it’s very easy to join at your local library or online.)
Competition entry forms are available from your local library or from our website:

Entries will be judged by Pippa Goodhart, Leicester children’s’ author, Farhana Shaikh, editor of The Asian Writer and Councillor Sarah Russell.
A special prize-giving event will take place in our refurbished Central Library in Bishop Street on May 12th.

Special World Book Day events on 3rd March

All events are free but prior booking may be required.

Bali Rai, Leicester author of teenage novels will talk to school groups about his writing.
Belgrave Library 10.00 am – 12.00 noon
The event also open to the general public.
Westcotes Library 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm – this event is for schools only.

Ned Newitt, local history author will show slides and talk about his book, The Slums of Leicester.
New Parks Centre Library 10.30 am – 12.00 noon.
For bookings telephone 0116 229 8200 (Early booking is advised as numbers are limited.)

Lynda Page, the author of No Way Out and Secrets to Keep, will talk about her books and how she started writing.
Lynda is a very popular local author who loves to share her memories of Leicester. (She’d also like to hear yours!)
Highfields Library 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm

Stephen Booth, crime writer and creator of the popular Cooper and Fry series, will talk about his books.
Stephen sets his novels in Derbyshire and is a very successful Top 10 author. (His books have been flying off the display shelves at Beaumont Leys Library since we started to promote this event.)
Everyone is welcome, and we think you will find it particularly interesting if you’re a budding author as Stephen will be holding a question and answer session after his talk.
Beaumont Leys Library 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm
For bookings, telephone 0116 299 5460

See our review of Luke Wright’s appearance in Leicester


Performance poet Luke Wright

See our review of Performance Poet Luke Wright’s show in Leicester.

Read our review of Byron Vincent’s show at the Y Theatre.

Creative Writing School

Masterclass in Performance Poetry

Course no. 1005, Mondays from 7pm to 9pm, starting 28 February. Five sessions, £50. Renowned performance poet Jean Binta Breeze will share her considerable skills in creating poetry, especially for the stage. Over five sessions, students will learn the nature of performance poetry, gain an insight into types and styles of poems, learn how to note them down and then how to perform them

Writers’ Manuscript Clinics
Course no 1013, Mondays 10.00 – 12.00, starting 28 February. Seven sessions, £70. These manuscript-in-progress workshops are ideal for students who have started a piece of work and want to take it further. Under the guidance of experienced tutors, members share their work with the group and tutor, then offer and receive peer feedback in a friendly, supportive environment

Course no 1021, Wednesdays 10.00-12.00, starting 2 March. Seven sessions, £70. Under the guidance of award-winning writer Rod Duncan, and through group and individual work, students will learn to identify the genre, discover how plot works, to create characters and identify how to use them in longer fiction, and to write dialogue and how to use it effectively

Courses in writing are available at the Writing School Leicester

The East Midlands Poetry Slam – Saturday 12th February

Organised by spoken word promoters WORD and Leicester Libraries, this live poetry competition is open to everyone from the novice to veteran. All you need is a maximum of three poems (none longer than three minutes) and the ability to speak. Compered by Rob Gee and Lydia Towsey.

The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester, £6/£4 (performers free).

Word Poetry

International Women’s Month – with Aoife Mannix – Tuesday 1st March

Aoife Mannix is an Irish writer and poet based in London. Her first novel Heritage of Secrets was published in 2008.

The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester. £3/£2. Full details are on our events page.

Word Poetry

Voicing Things … with Leicestershire’s Open Museums – Tuesday 5th April

A showcase of performance and film, facilitated by established poets Steve Carroll and Mark Goodwin and featuring a selection of people from across the country. The showcase will draw inspiration from a variety of museum objects and demonstrate how words and objects can be good for the soul.

The Y Theatre, 7 East Street, Leicester. £3/£2.

Word Poetry

Review – Tuesday 25th January – Open ‘mic’ poetry night at the Gay Centre

This was surprisingly good! Headlined by the legendary Carol Leeming, the open mic contributors were also impressive: Jacob and Tim Grayson did a particularly impressive performance of their work. The indomitable Bobba Cass pulled it all together and got everyone involved, as well as reading his own work. Tim Grayson’s fine work was laden with finely formed rimes and Jacob did an amazing rap which really was scintillating.

Lots of events coming up, organised by Word – the longest-running poetry and spoken word night in the Midlands. Not to be missed is the East Midlands Poetry Slam on 12th February at the Y Theatre in East Street.

The floor contributors were thoroughly good but the night was headlined by the legendary poetess and singer, Carol Leeming, who read a selection of her amazing poems. The British born singer/songwriter (who lives in Leicester) gave us a selection of her superbly well-written poems, laden with spellbinding images and incandescent stories. A particular favourite of mine was the story about the Black Russian. The poem was laden with glorious lines and phrases, stunning images and with a sharp, surprise ending.

Find out more about Carol Leeming on Pineapster | Wikipedia | LACAF | MySpace

Word Poetry

Other pages you might like:

Rob Gee at the Y, 13th February

Inspired Quill – literature review blog

Recommended books

Leicester authors

Writing East Midlands

Author: Writer Trevor

Trevor Locke is a novelist and journalist and former editor of Arts in Leicester magazine