Tag Archives: Matt Harvey

Festival Finale – Things WILL only get better

21 May

SwindonLitFes_2018_0020_Jacob_Hi_Ho&Darine_Flanagan_previewAt the finale of the Finale of the Swindon Festival of Literature, circus performer Darine carried Jake and the festival into a new era – next year it morphs into Spring Swindon Festival of the arts.

One could be forgiven for feeling reflective. Laura, of musical act the Glow Globes, observed, “Is it a little melancholy tonight because it has been 25 years and things are going to change?”

A film showed us the growth of the festival from a programme of twelve events to over fifty. “Who told us festivals to look forward to this week include the Cannes Festival and Swindon Festival of Literature?” festival director Matt Holland asked in a short audience quiz. The answer was Radio 2. Continue reading

What the kenning? – Matt Harvey, writing workshop

21 May
Matt Harvey at the Festival Finale

Matt Harvey at the Festival Finale

Kenning, according to Matt Harvey, is a way of describing things and their function through creative language and metaphor.

Make sense? No, me neither at first. But, as he explained further it did, with his sharing of work and examples along the way: blood as battle dew, clouds as God’s pocket fluff, and slugs as soft-horned invisigoths.

It is a process that is taught to children. Books are even written about it: Valerie Blooms’  Things to do with Kids Kennings an example of one Matt explained. And, it was to be an important part of our first task. This was a workshop after all; a fact which I had appeared to have forgotten over a leisurely lunch and a spell in the sunshine in the serene surroundings of Lower Shaw Farm. Continue reading

All good things come to an end – Swindon Festival of Literature Finale

2 Jun

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All good things must come to an end, and this good thing ended with a bunch of crescendos, and some climaxes courtesy of poet Jo Bell.

Swindon Festival of Literature is about authors, and books, and thoughts, but the Festival Finale traditionally throws music and poetry into the mix, allowing the festival faithful a chance to kick back, rest weary brain cells, and wallow in entertainment. Continue reading

A Little thought-provoking thought – Think Slam! at the Swindon Festival of Literature

19 May

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A little thought provokes and a little thought at the Swindon Festival of Literature provokes an event called ‘The Think Slam’ which is now in its sixth year.

Festival Director Matt Holland has often championed Swindon’s Literature extravaganza as a ‘Festival of Thinking’ so it’s easy to think of the ‘Think Slam’ as the thinking man’s cherry on top of the think cake of the festival of thinking (if you think like that).

Seven contestants thought that their thinking could make the judges think enough of their thoughts to crown them ‘Swindon Festival of Literature Think Slam Champion 2015’.

The event itself is less debating society and more poetry slam without the poetry (a nice niche idea I’d have thought), replacing the babbling bards, are of course, the seven ‘thinkers’ who are judged not only by two thoughtful judges, Radio 4’s Matt Harvey and Tedx talker Suzannah Lipscomb but by the reaction of a deeply thinking, thoughtless or thunk out audience. Continue reading

Damn fine words – writing workshop with Matt Harvey at the Swindon Festival of Literature

17 May
Writing workshop with Matt Harvey

Writing workshop with Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey’s writing workshop yesterday was a lesson, not just in writing, but how to run a writing course. We had three and a half hours to learn. I felt sympathy for Matt when we introduced ourselves, a proper mixed ability class.

There were published poets and Karen, a novelist with an agent. There were also people who hadn’t written since school; for Lucy that was twenty years ago. That’s one diverse crowd to cater for in a single workshop.

But the great thing about writing is that a person becomes a writer when they write. Whatever inspires a person – with a pen, pencil or finger to put it to paper or electronic device and create words – is job done. Continue reading

Are you there?

10 May

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Are you there? Good.

So I went to Alex Horne’s Word Watching at the Swindon Festival of Literature last night, a tad concerned it might be a bit Radio 4, you know, cosy in a Louis Theroux sort of way. And yes, I guess it was. No agit-comic Mark Thomas-style clashes with authority or Frankie Boyle controversy for Alex.

That’s not to say he didn’t get some sound tellings-off. During his quest to get an Alex-original (or rather: re-appropriated) word into the Oxford English dictionary he was nearly banned from Wikipedia for repeatedly changing Natasha Kaplinski’s entry to describe her height as 6’2” tall and removing all references to ‘hands’ and replacing them with new word ‘paddles’. And his knuckles were virtually rapped via email by Only Connect presenter Victoria Coren for being responsible for a deluge of emails to the BBC which insisted that ‘honk’ is a bona fide word for ‘cash’. Continue reading