Reflections on Generations: A Words& Literary Festival

Just one week ago, we held Generations: A Words& Literary Festival. I would like to share my thoughts about some of the high points of the festival, and take this opportunity to thank a load of people and organisations who supported the event.

Thanks

Many thanks to Matthew Francis, who helped organise it, and the English and Creative Writing Society, who sponsored one of the guest poets,helped with promotion and MC’ing various parts of the programme. Thanks to Gill Ogden and Arts Centre staff all around, who help to ensure smooth running of everything. Thanks to the Tim Woods and the Institute of Arts and Humanities, for sponsoring one of the readers. Thanks to the English and Creative Writing Department for not one, but two, wine receptions. Thanks to Alexandra Buchler and Literature Across Frontiers (including all of their sponsors), for bringing two poets from India to Wales, who contributed to the Friday evening show. Thanks to Eurig Salisbury for creating a video, and to New Welsh Review including Huw Owen, for the wonderful video we showed on Friday night featuring a story by Caryl Lewis. Thanks to all of the poets and authors who read or performed, and thanks to the audience members who bought tickets.

Highlights

Innovations – Zoe Skoulding poetry with sound let us listen to underground rivers reading from Teint, Richard Beard led us down the oulipo rabbit hole with rich images and tales of constraint writing, David Harsent had us close our eyes to be surprised by his words only from his new book, Salt.

Rising Stars – Katherine Stansfield, David Towsey, and Tyler Keevil all wove stories of earlier generations who influenced their own writing and shared their craft with us, English and Creative Writing Society impressed everyone as usual.

Welsh and Celtic Celebration – We should have added ‘India’ into the title. Literature Across Frontiers, thanks to Alexandra Büchler, let us expand beyond Wales into India for multilingual readings by Avner Pariat and Mohini Gupta. Eurig Salisbury played a large role quite literally as his wonderful video filled the screen and Hywel Griffiths reminded us of our physical geography and intersection with human life. Miriam Elin Jones wowed us with poems about shoes and more. Rhys Trimble shoutyman threw words around energetically.

Shared Voice and Open mic – Word Distillery and Sound Studio poets, postgraduate students and open mic poets showed us and astounding array of styles and approaches.

Workshops – Sarah Taylor, Damian Gorman and Alice Vernon were wonderful by all counts.

Our Lady of Shadows – Those who were able to make it to the excerpt from Our Lady of Shadows in the Castle Theatre on Saturday morning know just how special the intermedial performance was, with Lucy Gough’s radio play set against Piotr Woycicki’s visual and aural design. It was stunning! Please keep an eye out for when the full production will be performed in future.

Book signing – it was a delight to see our six invited authors and poets signing books in the Arts Centre Bookshop between the early and late show. Hannah and her staff did a great job of setting up a display, and the Alex Hubbard and Ivy Napp were wonderful hosts at the event.

Unfortunately, my camera was out of storage by the time the two big evening shows were on, so I didn’t get any photos of Innovations or the latter part of Rising Stars. I’m working on a Storify set of items from social media.

 

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