Saturday, 31 May 2014

Edge of Tomorrow film review

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Poster

Went to see this film yesterday with my husband and we weren't sure what to expect.  Big fans of both sci-fi and action, we were hoping it would tick the boxes and we were not disappointed.

IMDB says: A soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way.

The film is based on the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and what a fantastic premise it is.  That a man could live to repeat the same day over and over again, only to die trying to kill the very thing that is keeping him alive.

Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible, Top Gun) stars as Cage, a cowardly marketing man, high ranking in the US forces who has never seen combat, whose job it is to garner more recruits for the War like Rita (Emily Blunt of Adjustment Bureau, Looper), known to all as Full Metal Bitch.  Sent to General Brigham, a surly Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter, Braveheart) and ordered to the front line to fight in the 'mimic' war.

Brought to Master Sergeant Farrell (Bill Paxton of Titanic, Twister) in handcuffs, he is 'given the opportunity at redemption in the fiery glory of battle' and forced to join a motley crew of soldiers that include Skinner - Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood, Book of Blood), Kimmel - Tony Way (Finding Neverland, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Griff - Kick Gurry (Garage Days, Speed Racer), Ford - Franz Drameh (Attack the Block, Hereafter), Kuntz - Dragomir Mrsic (Easy Money, Wallander) and Nance - Charlotte Riley (Entity, Wuthering Heights).  Given a full metal suit and dropped into the action without any training, he watches his comrades die whilst desperately trying to disengage his safety catch.  Finally managing to do so, he engages the enemy only to die with the blood of a mimic all over him.  He comes around back at the mercy of Master Sergeant Farrell and has to repeat the day over and over again as each time he goes into battle, he dies and returns to the same day.

An original movie that could have the log-line Groundhog Day meets Pacific Rim, this surprising movie delivers action, twists and a clever script that entertains within it's parameters of the same day.  Each death/back to beginning has a new turn for Cage and the pace keeps us waiting to see what he will do next.

Cruise is brilliant as Cage, turning in an engaging performance as a coward, a far cry from his usual role and feels all the more satisfying for it.  He stumbles his way through this waking Hell, learning as he goes and we journey with him.  Blunt is convincing as a war heroine, she must have worked hard in this physically demanding role, her character working well with the black comedy of Cage's situation and it makes a refreshing change that she is not just there as a love interest.

Paxton and Gleeson give superb performances that never stumble into caricature despite the repetition and even the 'mad scientist' Dr Carter - Noah Taylor (Vanilla Sky, Game of Thrones) helps us to buy into why Cage is in this situation, giving a grounded character despite the circumstances. The mimics themselves are wonderful creations, scary enough to make us jump and intelligent enough to see them as a real threat to mankind.

Jeff Cook's photo.

Tagline: Live, Die, Repeat.                                                                                              9/10

#EdgeOfTomorrow  #TomCruise  #EmilyBlunt

Friday, 30 May 2014

Latest New Writing North newsletter

Having received the latest New Writing North newsletter and Listening Post newsletter, I thought my followers may be interested in the following information:

27 May 2014
The Listening Post
Crime Story
Northumbria University: 31 May-1 June
New Writing North and Northumbria University invite aspiring or established crime writers and readers to Crime Story – a weekend of discussion and workshops focusing on a fictional crime and how it weaves its way through the criminal justice system from investigation to sentencing. Throughout the weekend, criminologists and forensic scientists will give insights into how labs work, experts in policing will talk you through scene of the crime procedure, and journalists will discuss the moral responsibility of reporting on heinous crimes.
To find out more about Crime Story, and to book your place, go to
New Writing North news
Lisa Matthews breaks new ground with Creative Case residency
Following her appointment as poet in residence for the Creative Case NORTH-funded Redact project she is running with New Writing North, poet Lisa Matthews spent the week from 28 April at the NWN office working with Specific Learning Difficulties assistive software Dragon Dictate, ReadWrite Gold and LiveScribe. This allowed her to explore for the first time her SpLD, evoking something of the chaos of dyslexia through her poetry. She also worked with poets Gillian Allnutt, Ira Lightman, Joanne Clement, Jo Colley, Degna Stone and Christopher Barnes, using her dyslexia as a starting point for a poetry workshop. You can find out more about Lisa’s residency at, where she looks at the creative potential of poetry and dyslexia.
Creative Case NORTH is a programme of sector-led activity exploring the creative case for diversity, developed by a consortium of arts and cultural organisations convened by Arts Council England from across the North. For more information about Creative Case NORTH, see
Bob takes the bait on Cramlington youth project
Following his work with New Writing North on a successful Holocaust Memorial Day project with local schools in Newcastle, poet, playwright and senior lecturer in creative writing at Teesside University Bob Beagrie this week began a new programme of writing workshops in Cramlington. For the next two months, Bob will be working with a group of young adults from Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project to expand their literary and creative skills through poetry, performance and visual arts.  The project is commissioned as part of New Writing North’s ongoing work with bait, the Creative People and Places programme for South East Northumberland.
Last call for Crime Story tickets
New Writing North and Northumbria University’s weekend festival for crime writers and readers is only a week away. Join us at Crime Story for a weekend of discussion and workshops focusing on a fictional crime and how it weaves its way through the criminal justice system from investigation to sentencing. Experts such as top forensics specialist Dr Kelly Sheridan, who has dealt with a number of high profile cases of national concern, such as the murders of Joanna Yeates and Stephen Lawrence, leading criminologist Professor Mike Rowe, and HH Judge Prince of Durham will join authors Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh and Margaret Murphy. Crime Story is an unmissable opportunity for any lover of crime fiction, whether they are an aspiring writer themselves or just want a peek behind the covers of their favourite fictional world. Tickets cost £99 for the full weekend, and day ticket rates are available. Go to to book now.
Good home wanted for
If there are any North East writers or writing groups out there looking for a good domain for their website, is about to become available. If you might have a use for it, drop us a line at
Peter Guttridge talks crime at Institut français
Peter Guttridge, who is appearing at our Crime Story weekend and who has ably chaired many Durham Book Festival events, will be appearing at Noir Is the Colour, a new literary series from the Institut français in London featuring the best French authors of crime fiction and noir writing in conversation with their counterparts from the UK and Europe. The launch event will be with King of Crime John Harvey (Darkness, Darkness) and Prix Goncourt Winner Pierre Lemaitre (Irène) on 29 May, and future events will feature authors such as Marc Dugain, Peter Guttridge, Bernard Minier, Nicci French and Georges Simenon biographers. For more information, see
In the North
Northern Film & Media surgeries
Northern Film & Media staff will be holding free one-to-one project and funding surgeries for film and television writers, producers, directors and crew in a number of locations across the North East over the coming months. These meetings will be an opportunity to find out about funding sources, discuss your project with industry professionals, and find out about national schemes. Meetings are being held in Durham on 3 June, Hexham on 10 June, Berwick-upon-Tweed on 17 June and Sunderland 24 June. To sign up for a surgery and for more information go to
Opportunities at Butcher’s Dog
Butcher’s Dog poetry magazine is looking for a talented and experienced poet to co-edit the next issue. The role of guest editor is unpaid but expenses will be covered and you will also receive two complimentary copies of the magazine. No experience of editing a poetry magazine is necessary – the successful guest editor will be paired with one of the founding poets, who will take you through our editorial process – but a passion for contemporary poetry is essential. Deadline: 19 June. Contact for more details.
Issue 4 of Butcher’s Dog is also looking for submissions from poets with distinctive voices. Deadline: 10 August. To find out more go to
Write Words with Alphabetti Spaghetti Theatre
Alphabetti Spaghetti Theatre is a Newcastle-based theatre company created by Ali Pritchard and made up of scriptwriters, actors, comedians, artists and musicians. The company is passionate about giving original work the opportunity to take to the stage. Every month they run an open stage evening to function as a springboard for new material and discover up and coming artists. For more information see
Arts Fundraising Fellowship Programme 2014/15
Recruitment for the Arts Fundraising Fellowship Programme 2014/15 is now open, both for fellows and for host organisations. The 12-month programme equips graduates and early career professionals with the skills and experience needed to make a dynamic contribution to the arts as development and fundraising professionals. There are five fellowships available in the North of England. The fellowship year will be accredited by the University of Leeds. See for details.
Wasafiri New Writing Prize
The Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open to anyone who has not published a complete book in their chosen category and is looking for submissions in three categories: poetry, fiction and life writing. Deadline for submissions: 25 July. For further information visit
Next Generation Poets 2014
The Poetry Book Society has opened submissions for Next Generation Poets 2014, the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. Open to poets of any age who have published their first collection in the decade between 1 May 2004 and 30 April 2014, Next Generation Poets 2014 is a rare chance for adult poets who are still building their careers and developing their audience to gain widespread recognition. Deadline for submissions: 5 June. For more information see
National Poetry Competition
The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious poetry contests. Winners include both established and emerging poets, and for many the prize has proved an important career milestone. Win, and add your name to a roll-call that includes current UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Harrison, Ruth Padel, Philip Gross and Jo Shapcott. The 2014 judges are Glyn Maxwell, Roddy Lumsden and Zoë Skoulding. The first prize winner will receive £5,000, publication in The Poetry Review and the chance to read at some of the UK’s top literature festivals. For more information see
Staffordshire Poet Laureate
Staffordshire County Council are looking for a new Poet Laureate to step into the shoes of the 2013/14 incumbent Tom Wyre. The Laureate will be responsible for initiating poetry events in the county, establishing a poetry group in an area that doesn’t have one, promoting poetry in all its forms and writing poems to commemorate county-specific events. Closing date for applications: 1 June. For more information and to apply see
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse: Producer and associate director
The Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse are inviting two experienced, creative and dynamic individuals to join the artistic team at the E&P. They are looking for a producer, who will be responsible for the successful planning, delivery and development of the in-house programme. They also need an associate director. This is a new role, created to bring an individual artist into the heart of the theatres, to support the artistic director in developing and delivering the in-house programme and to cultivate relationships with artists and collaborators. Deadline: 2 June. For more information and to apply go to
Workshops and classes
Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition workshops
Customer First Centre, North Shields: 2-30 June
Artists Paul Alexander Know and Richard W Hardwick will display their collection of photography and written pieces to honour the historic Lindisfarne Gospels. There will also be an opportunity to work with the artists, exploring creative writing and picking up tips on developing photography through workshops held by Richard and Paul. The photography workshop is on Monday 16 June at 2pm and the creative writing workshop is on Friday 20 June at 9.30am. Both workshops are free but please call 0191 6435270 to reserve a place.
Liverpool writing group seeks new members
Places are available in a writing feedback group based in Liverpool. The group deals only with fiction (novels and short stories) not with non-fiction or poetry. Some members have already published novels, others have not. The purpose of the group is to support one another, by sharing knowledge and experience of the writing and publishing processes and, especially, by helping one another to write better fiction. Prospective members should be actively involved in writing and seeking to improve their writing through feedback and criticism. For more information, please contact Mark Leyland at
The Listening Post
New commission: Winter Tales story-telling project
The Cultural Spring is an Arts Council-funded Creative People and Places programme which aims to radically change the way that people in ten wards in South Tyneside and Sunderland consume, experience, influence and make great art. In association with New Writing North, they are looking to commission a major new writing or story-telling project.
Inspired by the age old tradition that when the nights draw in we stay home, share stories and seek comfort in words in warm places, we are looking for exciting ideas which are inspired by the ten Cultural Spring wards. We hope projects will encourage people to write, read, listen, tell and share stories both old and new. We are interested in hearing from writers across all forms and media, storytellers, writing organisations, film makers, digital artists and theatre practitioners. It is likely that there will be one project commissioned worth £40,000.
Applications will open from 23 May and close on 20 June. If you would like to apply, email and we will send you the application details when they open.
The Cultural Spring is also looking for submissions for seed funding to research exceptional new ideas for 2016. You can download the full commission call here.
New young writers project launches in South East Northumberland
A new young people’s writing project launched this week in Ashington, introducing writer Stevie Ronnie to a group of 12 Year 8 pupils from the Northumberland Church of England Academy. For the next ten weeks, Stevie, assisted by long-standing Cuckoo writer Lauren Stafford, will be helping the students create a brand new collection of writing. At the end of the project the work created will be published in an anthology designed by Stevie and the group.
This is the first of a series of projects that New Writing North will be undertaking in South East Northumberland, and is part of a programme commissioned by bait, the Creative People and Places programme in South East Northumberland. Watch this space for news on future projects in Cramlington and Bedlington. For more information on bait, visit
Arts Award success for Cuckoo Young Writers in Hexham
Last week New Writing North was proud to present six of our Cuckoo Young Writers with their Bronze Arts Awards certificates. The young writers, all of whom belong to the Hexham group, worked on their awards throughout last year, and used writing group sessions and events at the Hexham Book Festival to complete their Arts Award folders. “Arts Awards are a great way for the young writers to get accreditation for all their hard work in the writing group sessions, and are a great way to learn new skills,” said New Writing North’s Laura Brewis, who was the Arts Award advisor to the group.
The young people who took part were (L-R) Alice Buckley, Bronwen Fraser, Marcie Winstanley and Dorothy Hakim. Megan Ashford and Tilly Marples also received their awards but were unable to be in the photo.
Beth joins New Writing North as creative apprentice
New Writing North is delighted to welcome our newest team member, creative apprentice Beth Rutherford, who is learning the ins and outs of arts administration. Beth was hired through the Strong Voices programme and is a welcome addition to the New Writing North office.
Take a day trip into crime
New day tickets have become available for Crime Story, the crime writing festival taking place in Newcastle upon Tyne this May. Full price tickets for the weekend are only £99, but now day tickets are available for both the Saturday and the Sunday at £60 and £50 respectively, making the festival an absolute must for budding and established crime writers as well as avid readers of crime fiction. Student discount tickets are available too. Taking place over Saturday 31 May and Sunday 1 June, this is your opportunity to solve a new crime written by Vera creator Ann Cleeves and commissioned by New Writing North and Northumbria University.
See a full schedule for the festival, find out more about the speakers, and get your tickets at Three lucky writers will also win a forensic analysis of a crime from Crime Story’s academic experts.
Samantha Ellis: How to be a Heroine
West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth: Saturday 31 May, 2pm
On a pilgrimage to Top Withens, Samantha Ellis found herself arguing with her best friend about which heroine was best: Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw. She realised that all her life she’d been trying to be Cathy when she should have been trying to be Jane. So she decided to look again at her heroines – the girls, women, books that had shaped her ideas of the world and how to live. Join Samantha as she discusses her new book which explores the role of heroines, and our favourite books, in all our lives – and how they change over time, for better or worse, just as we do. Tickets: £5. To find out more about the event or book tickets see

Mslexia plaudit pays off for Liz Monument
Congratulations to Doncaster writer Liz Monument, one of the shortlisted authors for Mslexia’s 2013 novel competition. Since then Liz has signed a contract with The Viney Agency for a trilogy of futuristic noir thrillers based on Frozen (now called The Eternity Fund), her entry to the competition.
In the North
Three writing competitions from Mslexia
Mslexia, the magazine for women who write, has launched three new writing competitions: two for poets and one for writers of memoir. The Mslexia Poetry Competition is judged by Wendy Cope, and has a special new prize for the best poem by a previously unpublished woman poet. The Mslexia Pamphlet Competition offers publication of the winning pamphlet by Seren Books. And the Mslexia Women’s Memoir Competition, for full-length memoirs from unpublished women memoirists, offers a first prize of £5,000 and feedback from The Literary Consultancy for five finalists.
The 2014 VS Pritchett Memorial Prize for unpublished short stories
The Royal Society of Literature is accepting entries for their annual short story prize. The winning entry receives £1,000 and is published in Prospect online and in the RSL Review. For more information and to enter, see Closing date: Monday 16 June.
The London Magazine’s Poetry Competition 2014
The London Magazine is hosting a worldwide poetry competition which is open for all ages. This will be a chance to get published in the prestigious literary journal which has been home to the likes of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Christopher Reid and many more, along with winning a cash prize. The winning poem will be published in an issue of The London Magazine, both in print and online. The runners up will be featured on the website. Entry fee: £5 per poem. Closing date: 30 June. Go to to find out more.
Workshops and classes
Introduction to creative writing
Crook Hall, Durham: 10 June, 9.30am-4pm
New to creative writing? Join writer Rachel Cochrane to gain confidence, take part in some friendly activities, be inspired and have fun. For further details, see
The Listening Post
Fog on the Tyne
Commercial Union House, Newcastle: 14 June, 7pm
Poets, playwrights and performers Helen Burke and Carol Cooke join together with guitarist Simon Davey to present a rollercoaster sailboat of a show. Shakespeare had his Seven Ages of Man; Fog on the Tyne looks at the Seven Ages of Woman, from childhood memories to student life on Tyneside, work, relationships, kids, triumphs, disappointments and holding back the years, in a pick and mix of poetry, music and anecdotes. Tickets: £3. Go to for more information.
Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival
St George Hotel, Harrogate: 10-13 July
The 2014 Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival ventures boldly into books with war correspondent Kate Adie, world-renowned explorer Ranulph Fiennes and adventurous foodie Jay Rayner. The festival also includes Matthew Dennison discussing his biography, Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions, while journalist and broadcaster Mark Ellen talks to crime writer Mark Billingham about his ‘big bad love affair with music’. The festival also features a Salon North event with three experts on stage exploring ‘Personal Taste’ as well as a special DCI Banks panel ‘From Page to Screen’. For more information and a full programme, visit
Crossing the Tees Book Festival
Libraries across Stockton and Middlesbrough: 6-21 June
Middlesbrough Libraries and Stockton Libraries & Heritage have joined together to produce the Crossing the Tees Book Festival, which runs from 6-21 June across Stockton and Middlesbrough libraries. Festival highlights include evenings with authors Joanne Harris, Stephen May and Gervase Phinn, plus opportunities for everyone to be involved in activities which focus on everything from crime to sci-fi and writing workshops for aspiring novelists. For a full list of events and booking information see
Gillian Allnutt: icumen
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Tuesday 1 July, 7pm
Poet Gillian Allnutt’s new chapbook icumen, the second in a series from publisher Literal Fish, will be launched in Newcastle upon Tyne at a special event at the Lit & Phil when Gillian will be reading brand new material and there will also be a specially commissioned soundscape, inspired by icumen, and performed live on the night by artist Helen Collard. Admission free, no booking required.
New North East culture mag seeks funding
Northern Edge is a new lifestyle and culture magazine for everyone who wants a fresh perspective on the people, places, and goings-on around the North East. More than just a ‘What’s On’ guide, Northern Edge aims to take readers off the beaten track a little, by talking to people and going to places that they might not have noticed before. The only hitch? They need £1,230 to cover printing and distribution costs for the first issue. Wealthy benefactors (and not-so-wealthy ones too) should head over to and see what’s on offer, from an invite to the magazine’s launch party to a full page ad.
Harrogate Children’s Festival
The Spiegeltent, Crescent Gardens, Harrogate: 29 May-1 June
During half-term weekend, the Spiegeltent located in Crescent Gardens will be home to all manner of organised mayhem as part of the 2014 Children’s Festival, which brings some of the UK’s leading entertainers and organisations to Harrogate. As well as theatre, dance, music, science and history, there will be a host of interactive storytelling sessions with Bookworm Babies from Seven Stories, as well as Rachel Bright, the creator of the fabulous Love Monster books. For tickets and more information see
Ellen Phethean, Alistair Robinson & Sylvia Forrest
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Monday 2 June, 7pm
Red Squirrel Press invites you to the triple launch of Ellen Phethean’s poetry collection, Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman, Alistair Robinson’s poetry collection, The Land Before Yoghurt, and Sylvia Forrest’s poetry pamphlet, Velvet Beds. Contact for further details. Free event.
Prue Phillipson: Height of Folly
Scott’s Café, The Forum, Hexham: Tuesday 3 June, 5.45pm
Join Prue Phillipson for the launch of the final novel in the Hordens of Horden Hall series, Height of Folly. Prue will also talk about Vengeance Thwarted, Hearts Restored and Rebels Repentant and the evening will be a celebration of the completion of the quartet. Admission is free but a phone call to 01434 604 636 to say you are coming would be a help with numbers.
Linda France, Carolyn Jess-Cooke & Danica Ognjenovic
GO3 Percy Building, Newcastle University: Thursday 5 June, 7.15pm
Linda France, the winner of the National Poetry Competition, will read with two of the commended poets, Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Danica Ognjenovic. Tickets: £6/£4/£2 from the University webstore or by contacting Melanie Birch at or on 0191 206 7619.
Crossing the Tees Book Festival
Libraries across Stockton and Middlesbrough: 6-21 June
Middlesbrough Libraries and Stockton Libraries & Heritage have joined together to produce the Crossing the Tees Book Festival, which runs from 6-21 June across Stockton and Middlesbrough libraries. Festival highlights include evenings with authors Joanne Harris, Stephen May and Gervase Phinn, plus opportunities for everyone to be involved in activities which focus on everything from crime to sci-fi and writing workshops for aspiring novelists. For a full list of events and booking information see
Ben Haggarty: Mr Sandmann: Bringer of Dreams & Nightmares
Meeting House Lane, Lancaster: Friday 6 June, 8pm
Renowned for his dynamic and challenging performances, storyteller Ben Haggarty slips behind the lights into the dark side of fairground, where you risk getting more than you bargained for. Via urban legend, fairytale and freak-show, ready yourself for an alarming journey through the ambivalent mythology of the Sandman.
Janet McLeod Trotter: The Planter’s Bride
Morpeth Chantry Museum, Morpeth: Saturday 7 June, 3pm
Join Janet McLeod Trotter to launch her latest book, The Planter’s Bride, at the Morpeth Chantry Museum. The sequel to The Tea Planter’s Daughter is a story of intrigue and passion, and Janet will be happy to sign copies. For more information and to book contact or call 01670 623455.
Butcher’s Dog 3 launch
Toffee Factory, Newcastle: Saturday 7 June, 5pm
The Butcher’s Dog poetry magazine invites people to join them for afternoon tea to celebrate the launch of BD3. Admission free. Tickets are available from
Breaking Down the Walls
Live Theatre, Newcastle: Saturday 7 June, 2pm & 8pm
Written by Open Clasp theatre company and devised by the women from HMP YOI Low Newton Prison, audiences will hear the stories of the women’s lives as told by them, performed by actors from Open Clasp. Tickets: £5. For more information and to book, see
The Big Bookend
Various venues, Leeds: 7 & 8 June
Events covering crime fiction, sport and media, propaganda and war and the Great War. Eddie Waring, jazz, food and drink, art, Alzheimer’s, protests and radical Chapeltown all sit side by side. Plus special festival headliner Alan Bennett. For more information, see
Eileen Jones: The Pale Handbag of the Apocalypse
Cullercoats Library: Tuesday 10 June, 7.30pm
Eileen Jones will be reading witty, satirical and surreal poems from her new IRON Press collection, The Pale Handbag of the Apocalypse. The event also features music from Cullercoats-based Ruth Lambert, one of the UK’s most distinctive jazz vocalists. Tickets: £3 (includes a glass of wine). To book, call Cullercoats Library on 0191 643 2073.
Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Big Read with David Mark
Whitley Bay Customer First Centre: Thursday 12 June, 2pm
Join in with the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Big Read 2014 by reading A Place of Execution by the queen of psychological suspense Val McDermid. The aim of the Big Read is to encourage people to read the same novel at the same time, sharing their experience in special reading group events and online discussions. This year the session will be facilitated by Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival reader In residence David Mark. The event is free but call 0191 643 5390 to reserve a place. For more details email
Giuseppe Albano: Flesh and stone, the poet and the city re-imagined by Burgess
Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester: Thursday 12 June, 6.30pm
Abba Abba is Anthony Burgess’s superficially simple tale of a group of people in Rome – characters huddled together in companionship against the backdrops of the impending deaths of the fallen Emperor Napoleon and English poet John Keats. Or, so Burgess’s story goes, for as with many of the moments described in this novella, their author supposes what could have happened, based most of the time on what did happen. Giuseppe Albano is curator of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome and author of the preface to the Italian edition of Abba Abba. Tickets free. Contact to reserve your place.
Sixfold: A City and a River
The Storey, Lancaster: Friday 13 June, 7.30pm
An evening with Sixfold, reading poems based on Lancaster, the river Lune and the world beyond. Sixfold are six widely published Lancaster-based poets whose themed readings blend and celebrate their distinctive individual styles. They are Mike Barlow, Elizabeth Burns, Carole Coates, Sarah Hymas, Jane Routh and Ian Seed. Tickets on the door: £5/£3 concs. Find out more at
Brontë Society June Festival
West Lane Baptist Church Haworth: 13-16 June
The Brontë Society is delighted to announce the 2014 programme for the Annual General Meeting and June Summer Festival. Join them for readings, talks and Sunday strolls, including a look at Charlotte Bronte’s ‘naughty book’ with Lucasta Miller, an examination of the recent trend for reimagining the classics, and an exploration of the Brontë family’s Cornish connections. For further details see
Fog on the Tyne
Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle: Saturday 14 June, 7pm
Shakespeare had his Seven Ages of Man; Fog on the Tyne looks at the Seven Ages of Woman, from childhood memories to student life on Tyneside, work, relationships, kids, triumphs, disappointments and holding back the years, in a pick and mix of poetry, music and anecdotes. Tickets: £3. Go to for more information.
Danuta Reah: The Last Room
Broomhill Library, Sheffield: Tuesday 17 June 7pm
Danuta Reah talks about her latest book, The Last Room, a thriller set in the Scottish Borders, and the Polish city of Łódź. Ania Milosz, a forensic linguist, falsified evidence in a trial that sent a man to prison for life. Why? Will Gillen, her father, tries to follow the trail Ania left for him, a trail that leads him into the web that entangled her. Part of Broomhill Festival 2014. For more information and to book a free place call 0114 273 4276 or email
Peter James: Want You Dead
Gateshead Central Library: Wednesday 18 June, 2pm
Bestselling author Peter James talks about his work and his latest novel, Want You Dead. Tickets: £3. Free to members of Gateshead Libraries’ reading groups. Book in advance on 0191 433 8420 or online at
Ann Cleeves: Harbour Street
Wallsend Customer First Centre, Newcastle: Thursday 19 June, 7pm
Bestselling crime writer Ann Cleeves talks about her latest novel, Harbour Street. When the metro is stopped due to bad weather Detective Joe Ashworth discovers the body of an old lady. Arriving on the scene DI Vera Stanhope senses that this will be a complex and unusual case. Vera and Joe find themselves searching deep to find the key to solving the murders. Tickets: £3. Call 0191 643 2075 for more details or email
Midsummer Phantoms
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Friday 20 June, 7pm
The days are long and the nights are short, but the Lit & Phil still manage to make it creepy. Join Sean O’Brien, Gail-Nina Anderson and Mark Valentine for three new tales designed to make June seem just a little darker. Three different voices, three chances to scare yourself, three good reasons for stepping out of the sunshine to enjoy a moment of convivial gloom. Tickets are £5/£3. See for more information and to book.
Park Life: A Reading Weekend at Calderstones Park
Calderstones Park, Liverpool: 21-22 June
Escape to nature with a special weekend course at Calderstones. Readings will be interspersed with a varied timetable of outdoor activities (weather allowing) led by The Reader Organisation, through which attendees will engage with the beautiful park that houses the Calderstones Mansion. Tickets: £75/£45 concs. To reserve your place, contact Jennifer Kelly on or find out more at
Fyve Theatre Company presents ‘Murder in the Ref’
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Friday 27 June, 7pm
Five short plays from five emerging playwrights, originally performed during Middlesbrough Literary Festival. Tickets: £5/£3 concs. For more information, see
Gillian Allnutt: icumen
Lit & Phil, Newcastle: Tuesday 1 July, 7pm
Poet Gillian Allnutt’s new chapbook icumen, the second in a series from publisher Literal Fish, will be launched in Newcastle upon Tyne at a special event at the Lit & Phil when Gillian will be reading brand new material and there will also be a specially commissioned soundscape, inspired by icumen, and performed live on the night by artist Helen Collard. Admission free, no booking required.
Deadline for July’s Listening Post
The next edition of The Listening Post, covering July’s literature events, will go out in late June. If you have events that you would like to submit for inclusion for this you will need to send information by 20 June to
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is correct at the time of going to press, things do change, frequently at the last minute and very often without our knowledge.