Tag Archives: Victoria Wainwright

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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Thanks for a fantastic Rochester Literature Festival!

Photo of the Poetrymon card
Photo by coFWD

What a busy 10 days we had at the start of October, when ME4Writers were happy to be part of the first Rochester Literature Festival.

We started the week on 3 October (National Poetry Day) with Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game. (Picture shows one poem, found in coFWD.) We hid unique, original poem cards around Medway and left cryptic clues online for readers to follow. What we love about Poetrymon is the fact that most of the time we don’t know who finds the cards, (and in fact, sometimes we hope they will be a bit baffled,) but our main hope is that they enjoy the poetry! You can see more about the poets on our Poetrymon page.

Photo of actors dressed as aliens
Aliens, a bull and a bear and a red herring sandwich…

On 5 October, Sam produced a theatre show as part of ‘A night at the theatre’. She Writes: What’s through the door? was a performance of 17Percent’s 4-star rated set of short plays based on a story by HG Wells. The plays, written by Whoop’n’wail, Sam Hall and Sarah Hehir, all have a sci-fi/surreal bent to them and invite the audience to explore other worlds – which fitted in fantastically with the festival’s theme.

“Three plays in one, each delightful and mysterious. The pieces are beautifully and intelligently connected by an overarching narrative.” **** Everything Theatre

“Both performances were astounding, so well written, produced & directed. It felt like a London quality night out in Rochester, I was totally in the world of all the stories.”

Photo of Barry Fentiman reading at the launch
Barry reading at the launch

Our next event was the launch of our book on 8 October – City Without a Head – an anthology of poetry, prose and found literature, initially published over two years as a free fanzine. The collection refined, added and developed the ideas in our initial City Project (aka Encyclopaedia Citaecephale), and is published in a limited edition of 200 with gorgeous illustrations by award-winning artist Victoria Wainwright,(available from www.wordsmithery.info).

We played readings bingo, randomly generated readings chosen by the audience, ate sweets and listened to music with a city theme by the brilliant 3D.

“an exceptionally refreshing and eloquent anthology… wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable.” **** Femalearts.com

Our final event of the Festival was our walking/writing tour of Rochester on 10 October – Write Around Town. Through a series of locally themed writing exercises, we asked writers to do the thing that ME4Writers seem to be obsessed by: looking at our locality from a different angle.

“Stimulating exchange of ideas and writing exercises to take away and work on.”

“I now view Rochester through different eyes.”

Thanks to Rochester Literature Festival for a fantastic first festival.