Tag Archives: City without a head

Books from Wordsmithery

Photo of anthologies and plays by Wordsmithery.
Anthologies and plays by Wordsmithery.

In the past few years, Wordsmithery has published a range of anthologies, plays and pamphlets. They are all available on our website, or by emailing us for more information on bulk and non-UK based orders.

City without a head: our 4-star anthology offering an alternative take on life in cities.
An assemblance of judicious heretics: our gorgeous full colour anthology of art, poems and stories inspired by ‘The Road Not Taken’.

Photo of story and poetry pamphlets
Story and poetry pamphlets

The Unbearable Sheerness of Being: Barry Fentiman Hall’s personal Odyssey around the Isle of Sheppey.
Beautiful Monsters: Sam Hall’s collection of 6 short modern day fairytales.

Zero Down: Sarah Hehir’s powerful story about staff on a zero hours contract.
Child Z: Sarah Hehir’s 5-star play about a girl caught up in a child sex exploitation ring.
My Mind is Free: Sam Hall’s play about 4 victims of human trafficking.

To purchase any of these books please head on over to Wordsmithery.


Roundabout Nights – Tales from the dark room

Some photos from Tales from the dark room at Pop Gallery on 2 March 2015.

Performances from Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall, Neil R Wood, Razz Saunders, Philip Kane, Chris Van Beck, Luka Lukasik, and Dylan Oscar Rowe.

Photos from Man in the Attic photography, Marilyn Simpson and Chris Tong. Thanks to the Pop Gallery and Recreate for use of the space. The Pop Gallery LabRat Conspiracy is on til 7 March – if you want to see the photos in the background!

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Review of City Without a Head

Here is a review of City without a head, ME4Writers’ little yellow book, by Crab Man / Phil Smith, (Mythogeography) :

“One way to map a city is in a sprawling novel of characters. Another is to weave writerly trajectories of obsessive detail. But ‘City Without A Head’ has no narrative, design nor geography that is grand. It is a thing of uneven miniatures, its scale shifts uneasily around small. It seeks the molecular level, the chipped letters in the urban alphabet, each entry struggling towards some noun, occasionally getting up towards a phrase, but there are no sentences with verbs here. This is a city that does not do, or suffer, or change; instead, its parts fall into place like small dead meat on an ocean floor. This is starting again, not from scratch, not from the screen wiped clean, but from wet dust.

There are fragments of a dystopian future that is almost always here; of paté that tastes of Willesden, “incest weeklies”, services run by “Norman Bates with a budget”, “ominous cellos of austerity”. In the new estate the pavement ends twenty feet either side of the bus stop; where “the impossibility of walking become complete” the only thing to hang onto is each other and yet under conditions of psychic tectonic shifts atrophying “islands of humanity” are pushed ever further apart. ‘City Without A Head’ is, in grit, what Debord theorised as the pervasive “separateness” in a spectacle.

There is, however, a kind of hybrid landscape here, which in its multiplicity suggests a salvation through juxtapositions of errors and accidental collisions: the statues mistaken for potential suicides, a “Thing” to come face to face with, the bags fluttering in branches.
One of the writers here describes themselves as a mythogeographer and in the whirl of disconnections there is an alternative and unsentimental rhythm of despairing of despair, of memory so lonely it demands to be re-visited, of a shadow city unglued, a city that no longer needs heads, a civil body without the organisations of the organic, a bypass that requires a bypass. Hints there are here of an emerging ambulatory accelerationism.

For all its granular qualities, like a non-specific disease, this book is not particular about place. There is no escape; you may get on the night bus, but that does not mean it will take you anywhere: “Smoke rises from the floor, they clap and sing. We arrive in Tangier, but I swear we never left our seats.” Space, headless and unglued, is the place. ”

Crab Man

See us in the city…

Photo of CWAH at Chatham Waterstones
At Chatham Waterstones

We are delighted to announce that you can now get City Without a Head in Chatham Waterstones. It’ll still cost you £12. You can also buy it online (plus postage) from www.wordsmithery.info. (Though maybe you might get a little extra surprise gift if you buy it online…)

You can also now follow our City Without a Head blog – where we will be posting extracts and images from cities we visit.

Or follow us on Twitter: @headlesscity


City Without A Head, sci-fi and Medway

Sam was a guinea pig for the first Seasonally Sessions – a new style podcast from the makers of Seasonally Effected, where we chatted about stuff to do with writing.

Listen to it here. 

Next Seasonally Effected is on 30 April at the Dot Cafe, Rochester.

2013 – our highlights in words and images

Happy New Year to all our followers and friends! 2013 was (again) a busy year for ME4Writers.

ME4Writers was started in 2009 by Sam Fentiman-Hall and since then, the collective has worked with over 500 members of the Kent community (focussing on Medway), on over 40 literary projects and events, with the aim of bringing more words to Medway.

ME4Writers is a loose grouping of Medway writers who work on different projects, also doing their own writing projects individually, though is held together by Sam and Barry Fentiman-Hall. Writers and creatives will join us for one or more projects at a time, and most of our projects and events are open and accessible to all. (ME4Writers is now part of Wordsmithery, a literary development company set up by Sam, which also encompasses 17Percent, an organisation which supports female playwrights. www.wordsmithery.info)

Some examples of the sort of events we have run are:  poetry open mics in alternative venues; new writing shows at the Dickens Festiva;, an open exhibition about memory and place – ‘Letters Home’ – in two Medway libraries; a Medway-wide poetry treasure hunt game for National Poetry Day; creative writing workshops and tutorials; took ‘possibly the world’s smallest writing retreat’ to the Fuse Festival 2013; published an anthology of creative writing about cities; and created a walking-writing tour of Rochester and other events for the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival.

A few highlights from this year:

  • May-June: The WordShed at Fuse Festival – we received a Spark Commission from Medway Council to pilot our new writing shed. We lead four creative writing workshops in Strood, Rochester, Walderslade Village and Chatham libraries in advance of the festival. We also made a printed booklet The Seed Catalogue with highlights from the workshops, which was given out at the festival, and online we published The Seed Compendium, a collection of everything (legible) from the Fuse Festival weekend. Find out more about the WordShed on the WordShed blog.
  • July and October: Rochester LitFest – we created a number of literary delights for the new festival. In July at the Garden Party we did a version of WordShed lite in the garden at The Good Intent. Then in October, at the festival proper, we played Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game (in the pouring rain) on National Poetry Day, launched our first full-length book (published by Wordsmithery) City without a head, and led a walking/writing tour of Rochester. For 17Percent, Sam also produced a theatre show; She Writes – What’s through the door?
  •  City without a head: This is the culmination of a long standing ME4Writers’ project. Extracts from the anthology were published in parts as part of a guerilla distribution scheme, where we hid issues of a limited edition fanzine around Medway and further afield (some went to Sweden, Australia and America!) Wordsmithery launched City without a head on 8 October 2013, you can still buy a limited edition issue from Wordsmithery. In November we read extracts from the book on Fizzer’s Radio Show, which you can hear here.

    “this anthology is wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable. It’s not an easy read – some of it will make your head spin in the sheer density of its intimacy (I now feel like I know each author personally) but it is rewarding.” **** Female Arts

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