Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Music and Poetry Palooza

Music and Poetry Palooza:
Cafe Buzz, 783 High Road, N12 8JY
Saturday 23rd May at 7.00 - 9.00pm

Join Anna Meryt and friends for an evening of performance poetry and music at Finchley's literary café. No need to book but come early if you want a seat!

Mike Gee
has been writing music since he was 14 years old. In the 1970s he played keyboards in various rock bands and in the 1980s he worked in the recording industry before illness stopped his career. In recent years he has made a return to songwriting. Tonight we will here a selection of some of these songs - his first live performance for many years - and it's stripped down, just one keyboard and one voice.

Shanta Acharya, a well published poet and performer who runs regular poetry evenings at Lauderdale House. The author of ten books, she has published 5 poetry collections, and her latest is a novel, A World Elsewhere. Her New & Selected Poems is due out in 2016. She’s originally from India and her poetry combines the mystical as well as some down to earth humour. ‘Her poetry shows a rare combination of lyricism, intelligence, sagacity and a wicked sense of humour.’ Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Romilly, recently published a collection of poems written by her grandmother. After her grandmother died, Mimi found around 800 poems she’d written, in the attic. Grandma grew up in WWI and wrote in secret about her views against the war. Her beloved father did not return from the conflict – killed in action and she was devastated.. Mimi is not a poet, but an experienced singer, so she has put a few of the poems to music and turned them into songs.

Michael Clift is an experienced poet, singer-songwriter and performer. He writes all his own material and performs a mixture of poetry and songs, accompanied by his guitar. His words are thought provoking and funny. He is also the founder of a successful poetry and music night, called Until the Light Goes Out and has just launched his first anthology.

Jonathan Young, a young up and coming poet from Finchley says, that his first poem, titled Brave Soldiers’ was inspired by a history teacher talking about WWI when he was 12. He realised that writing poetry gave him a voice and he soon decided that he wanted others to hear the passion that he was able to express through poetry.

Ursula Troche, writer, performer, poet, expresses issues about nature and art as well as society, identity and dreams. For the Poetry and Music Palooza will perform with James with his Magic Instrument.

Anna Meryt’s first poem, an anti-Vietnam War poem, was published in her convent school magazine, when she was a teenager. She taught Ancient Egyptian history for many years as well as working with victims of violence. Heart Broke and Dolly Mix are her two collections. A review (2014) of Heart Broke by Gold Dust literary magazine said ‘ … here we have a ‘girlfriend book, when there’s no shoulder to cry on, to inspire hope through identification.’ She organised this event last year for the FLF also.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Literary Walk

See where the great Finchley writers lived.
Meet at Finchley Central tube station. 
Friday 22nd May 3.00-5.00pm

Paul Baker, a qualified City of London guide, leads a special Finchley Lit Fest walk. Two miles from Finchley Central to East Finchley, Paul will take us past a number of Finchley's literary connections and give us plenty of information. 

An ancient road links two villages, Church End and East End, better known today as Finchley Central and East Finchley. Along the way, we'll see lands once owned by the Knights Templar, and a former Manor House which is haunted by a suspected lover of Anne Boleyn.

We'll see Finchley's connections to famous writers -- Charles Dickens, Sir Edmund Gosse, John Betjeman, Spike Milligan and Will Self, amongst others -- and painters -- William Hogarth, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Ford Madox Brown.

We'll also hear about the writings of Inky Stephens, and the close connection between his father and one of the greatest and most dearly loved of the Romantic poets.

No need to book - £6.00 pay on the day.

For information on Paul's other walks see here.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Library Debate

Join us for this lively discussion: The Library Debate
Friern Barnet Community Library, Friern Barnet Road, N11 3DS
Thursday 21st May 7.30-9.00pm

The Library Debate: In the library that was rescued from closure and is now run by the community, join us for a lively panel discussion on the role of libraries. Libraries are under threat locally and across the UK. We discuss just what libraries are for and who they are for? Can we mange without them? We hear a lot about what councils want for libraries, but what do users want from libraries? No charge but donations to help fund the library appreciated.

Rosie Canning is a PhD scholar, writer and librarian. She is co-founder of Greenacre Writers and the Finchley Literary Festival. After the closure of Friern Barnet Library in April 2012, Rosie started the re-open Friern Barnet Library petition.

Keith Martin is a Chartered Accountant. He worked in Europe and London, for printers, publishers and the trade union NALGO. He suffered a heart attack at a table tennis match in 2004, since when every day has been an unexpected bonus. In 2011 he founded Chaville Press, which has published ten books, all by local authors and artists including Keith’s book Friern Barnet – the library that refused to close. Keith is a member of N12 Artists and Finchley Art Society, and has exhibited at artsdepot, The Hasler Gallery and The Bohemia.


Laura Swaffield is Chair of The Library Campaign, chair of Friends of Lambeth Libraries and of the national charity The Library Campaign. A lifelong library nut, she found herself by chance working as a journalist for a library magazine, then got dragged into a campaign against library closures in Lambeth, and finally into the national scene. She is now fighting crazy plans in Lambeth all over again. She resents every moment she has to spend trying to preserve this essential public service.

Barbara Jacobson is in retirement after more than 40 years in the publishing industry. She has been an active member of Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) and Save Barnet Libraries. From the outset, Barbara supported Friern Barnet Library against the council's planned closure, has attended many of the consultations, focus groups and events organised by the council in its effort to destroy our library system, and she also writes a blog for BAPS.

Polly Napper of East Finchley Library Users Group grew up in the North of England. She studied Music at Manchester University and then moved to London. For the past twenty years she’s worked in book production for a large London publisher. In 2003 along with other residents she persuaded the DCMS to give East Finchley Library a Grade II listing. She is a founder member of the East Finchley Library Users Group which has been campaigning since 2004 against repeated reductions to the libraries budget by Barnet Council.

Alasdair Hill of Mill Hill Residents Association is a biology teacher at a state school in Haringey. He lives in Mill Hill with his two year old daughter and recently came to prominence locally leading an online petition calling for Barnet Council to scrap their library cuts proposals which reached over 9,000 signatures. Standing for the Liberal Democrats in Hendon for this year's General Election, Alasdair's political ambition is to provide a world beating education system both in the school and continuing into the community.

Adam Tipple is a former union convenor for Barnet Libraries who became a professional librarian to help people but became frustrated apologising for why they couldn’t. After twenty five years of working in libraries and community projects (mostly in Barnet), Adam is now much happier working elsewhere and supporting the campaign to save Barnet Libraries from outside, where he can’t get threatened with the sack for saying a word out of place.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Populating Fantasy: writing workshop.

Populating Fantasy.

Saturday 23rd May 10.30-12.30pm
Church End Library, 24 Hendon Lane, N3 1TR.

Katie Alford
Katie Alford, author of Atlantis and the Game of Time, invites you to her workshop. She describes it as an exploration of world building and character and culture development in speculative fiction. Learn how to create living breathing worlds full of unique cultures and histories and look into the way environment affects the development of races and societies, both real and fictional.

This workshop is free. To book, please email Katie on

Katie has won a number of short story competitions but realised it was taking precious time away from her novel writing and so stopped entering them, but she does now sometimes judge them. Her first novel, Atlantis and the Game of Time, was published in 2014 and she has another underway. 

Katie has written works in several genres including fantasy, sci fi, steampunk, dark fantasy, folklore and detective and she recently dabbled in poetry, although she says she is not intending to take that any further.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Voice Skills Workshop for Writers

Voice Skills Workshop for Writers
North Finchley Library, Ravensdale Avenue, N12 9HD
10.30-12.30pm Saturday 23rd May

reading from her novel
 at GW Lit Fest
Leader of the workshop, Lindsay Bamfield, explains why she devised this workshop:

Reading aloud well is an art. Many people can do it instinctively but it doesn’t come so easily to everyone. But, you might say, surely writers are all good readers?

I’m sure they are good readers, but reading aloud to an audience is a different matter. As a speech and language therapist I work with a great many teachers who are experiencing voice problems. As part of our therapy I get them to read aloud. I always choose pieces that are easy to read, often children’s books: this isn’t about pronouncing long complicated words, it’s about prosody: the rhythms and intonation in speech.

I assumed teachers would be good readers, especially as most read to children, but I have to say I’ve occasionally been quite appalled at the dull, plodding reading some of them produce. How any child could be asked to listen to this and gain any sense of what is being read, let alone enjoyment from this, is beyond me.

I’ve attended a number of literary events where authors have read their work aloud. Some were so brilliant, I could have listened to them for hours. Others were terrific writers but their words lost all colour when they read them.

Nerves are often the culprit; most of us have felt our mouth go dry, or our voice becoming squeaky when we’re nervous. We tend to speak more quickly when we’re tense too and that leads to a lot of the problems. Unfortunately I can’t claim to prevent everyone's nerves, but I can give them some basic techniques to stand them in good stead.

We think of actors and singers as the vocal elite, but any professional voice user needs to look after their voice. Authors are relying on appearances at book events more and more in the name of publicity so they too are professional voice users. Reading from their work in an interesting, lively manner can help sell it, and in the end that’s what authors tend to want to do!
Whether you simply want to read your work aloud in your writing class with a bit more pizzazz or you are a published author who has a gruelling schedule of public readings ahead of you, this workshop is the one for you. 

The workshop costs £12.00. Booking is required - please book here.

As well as a writer, Lindsay is a speech and language therapist specializing in voice. While most of her work is with people who have voice problems, she also sees clients who wish to improve their vocal skills and to this end has worked with a variety of professionals who need to give presentations, radio presenters, ministers, lecturers and barristers.
She trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and is a member of The British Voice Association.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Hand that Smoothes the Pillow

The Hand that Smoothes the Pillow: 
Mary Ann Cotton – the Life and Times of a Victorian Serial Killer
Church End Library, 24 Hendon Lane, N3 1TR
Wednesday 20th May 1.00-2.00pm

Theresa Musgrove kicks off the festival with an intriguing talk about her research. She is now writing what she hopes will be the definitive study of the life of the Victorian poisoner, Mary Ann Cotton.

Until the conviction of Dr Harold Shipman, at the beginning of this century, Mary Ann Cotton bore the dubious distinction of being Britain’s most prolific serial killer. She was convicted of the poisoning by arsenic of her seven year old stepson, and hanged in Durham Gaol in 1873, but was suspected of the murder of twenty or more other victims: husbands, lovers, children and mother. Her arrest and trial received highly sensationalised and widespread publicity at the time, yet today she is barely known outside the North East of England.

Uniquely, perhaps, by the standards of the day, the truly sensational feature of the story of Mary Ann Cotton was that she was a working class woman of little education, a miner’s daughter, a miner’s wife, aspiring to a life beyond the limitations of her class and sex, who evaded detection for so long by the deployment of her undoubted intelligence - and a fatally manipulative personality.

Little has been written about Mary Ann Cotton, and much of what there is has been poorly researched, but over the last few years Theresa has attempted to undertake a wide ranging review and reassessment of the background to her story, correcting the many errors and omissions that have crept into the accepted version of her life, and uncovering a significant amount of new material, including evidence, she believes, of at least one previously unknown victim. 

For those of you who attended last year's history talk by Theresa, will remember it was standing room only. Be sure to get there early if you want a seat.

Theresa Musgrove is a local writer and blogger, best known for the ‘Broken Barnet’ blog, written by her alter ego, Mrs Angry.

Follow Theresa on Twitter: @brokenbarnet

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Murder in the Library

Join us for this exciting workshop: Murder in the Library
North Finchley Library, Ravensdale Avenue, N12 9HP 

Saturday 23rd May at 2.00 - 4.00pm

Pearse & Black bring you an afternoon of p
layful writing exercises to stimulate your imagination, get your plot in a twist and kill all your enemies.

Come and find out how to kill your darlings or your not-so-dear. But the only weapons you are allowed are pen and paper. 

Book here: Murder in the Library
Pearse & Black run creative writing workshops of all kinds and offer private and small-group coaching to help you through your book. Their Murder in the Library workshop is a popular standalone.

Josie Pearse
Josie Pearse gained her PhD Creative Writing from Cardiff University. She specialises in helping writers make fiction from life experience. Josie has taught creative writing for most of her life. She has been a writer in residence and worked with writers at all levels of skill. She has published two popular novels under a pseudonym and has a third under consideration with an agent. 

Follow Josie on Twitter @jojowasawoman 

Penny has translated over 40 plays from the 
Penny Black
German for venues such as the National Theatre, Royal Court, Arcola Theatre and many others. She has written a radio play, a children’s play, and two stage plays. As a ghost-writer she has written a thriller (published 2006) and a memoir (to be published 2015). Penny taught on the MA Writing for Performance & Dramaturgy at Goldsmith’s, and will take up a teaching Fellowship with the Royal Literary Fund in 2015.

Follow Penny on Twitter @penuschka

Monday, 6 April 2015

Zombie Interview

John Paul O'Malley interviews Mike Carey
Friern Barnet Community Library, Friern Barnet Road, N11 3DS
Wednesday 20th May 8.00-9pm 

John Paul O'Malley has a wealth of interviews and articles to his name, including some of the great Irish writers: Colm Tóibín, Joseph O’ Connor, Roddy Doyle, Eavan Boland, Hugo Hamilton, and Professor Roy Foster. JP has interviewed politicians (both British and Irish) including Mary Robinson and the late Tony Benn and many of the intelligentsia, Richard Dawkins to name but one. However, FLF has a new challenge for him, an interview about zombies. 

Join him when he interviews Mike Carey, author of Girl with all the Gifts. (Mike's event Zombies in Finchley, starts at 7pm) Find out more about JP's amazing journalistic history here.

Come dressed as a zombie and mix with the real ones or just come as yourself, but as an incentive there will be prizes for the best dressed zombies. Entry is free but donations are appreciated to help us keep the real zombies under control.

JP O' Malley is a freelance journalist based in north London whose work appears regularly in numerous publications including: The Observer, The Times of Israel, The Washington Post, The Toronto Star, The Daily Beast, The Spectator, The Sunday Times and others. 

He writes predominately on arts, culture, politics and social issues.

JP also holds regular live cultural nights at The Boogaloo in Highgate, and the London Irish Centre in Camden.

Follow JP on Twitter: @johnpaulomallez

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Writing for Wellbeing Workshop

Writing for Wellbeing with Andi Michael.
Friern Barnet Community Library, Friern Barnet Road, N11 3DS
Friday 22nd May at 6.00 - 8.00pm

Andi Michael
A relaxing and gentle introduction to creative writing for wellbeing. We’ll be using various techniques, including using objects, prompts, memory and narrative therapeutic practices to create beautiful pieces of writing, connect with ourselves and share our stories.

Join us for a two hour workshop and search within for inspiration and value your own stories. We will cover a range of different tasks inspired by narrative therapeutic writing, bibliotherapy and auto- biographical fiction. Share your own stories, remember detailed memories and feel wonderful doing it! No previous writing experience is required.

Writing for wellbeing is focused on the process of writing, not the outcome. So whilst we're sure you'll create some beautiful pieces in the class, it means that there is no judgement or critical feedback. Think of it as yoga for your creative writing muscles! It will be inspiring and invigorating, but mostly we're concerned with how you feel writing, over what it is you've written.

Please bring your own paper/notebook and pen.

The workshop costs £15.00. Booking is required - please book here

Andi Michael is a novelist and creative therapeutic facilitator. She has studied creative writing in various forms, from a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She works mostly in the field using creativity to enhance self esteem and positive body image. She is a novelist for Harlequin, with her fifth book out in July 2015.

Follow Andi on Twitter: @almichael_

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Meet the YA authors

Waterstones hosts the 'Meet the Young Adult writers'
Waterstones, 782 High Road, Finchley N12 8JY
Saturday 23rd May at 12.30 - 1.30pm

Young adult fiction (ages 12-15+) Alex Wheatle talks about his acclaimed new YA novel Liccle Bit. He is joined by local authors Savita Kalhan and Ellie Daines. Turn up to meet the authors and hear some extracts from their books.

Alex Wheatle
Alex Wheatle (MBE) is the author of eight novels. His recently published Young Adult novel, Liccle Bit has received rave reviews. "Wise as well as witty, understanding rather than blinkered, this novel is a joy to read" (Independent). His first book, Brixton Rock (1999), tells the story of a 16-year old boy of mixed race, in 1980s Brixton. Its sequel, Brenton Brown, was published in 2011. In 2010, he wrote the one-man autobiographical performance, Uprising. Alex was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008. 

Follow Alex on Twitter: @brixtonbard 

Ellie Daines
Ellie Daines grew up in London. She studied Journalism at university and then spent several years working in online marketing, mainly within the not-for-profit sector. Ellie always wanted to be an author apart from a short period in her life when she wanted to be a dentist. Lolly Luck was Ellie’s first book followed by Shine Izzy Shine. Ellie tackles the deeply disturbing consequences of an adult mother losing her memory – and therefore forgetting her child.

Follow Ellie on Twitter: @chirpywriter

Savita Kalhan
Savita Kalhan writes dark, gritty novels for teenagers and young adults. Her novel The Long Weekend is a tense thriller about two boys snatched after school. It is published by Andersen Press. Her short story, The Poet, was published in Even Birds are Chained to the Sky, an anthology of international short stories. She lives in Finchley, and, as always, is working on the next book.

Follow Savita on Twitter: @savitakalhan