Sunday, 2 December 2012

Nottingham Festival of Words

Nottingham Festival of Words - February 9th to 24th, 2013

The inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words welcomes all lovers of words to Nottingham. Taking its inspiration from Nottingham's lace industry, the festival will host a diverse range of talks, readings, children's events, panels, discussions, workshops, comedy, poetry and live music, all involving words in one form or another.

BOOKER Prize nominee Alison Moore will be among the guests for the 16-day festival along with Michael Rosen, David Belbin, Alice Oswald, and David Almond plus comedian Al Kennedy.

Festival spokesman Ian Douglas says, "We aim to draw attention to the vibrant and diverse literary culture in the city and its environs and to raise its profile. We want to provide a variety of ways for audiences to discover and engage with literature in a live context." He adds: "We are keen to build bridges through Nottingham's literary history, taking guests on a journey from Lord Byron through to the present day, via the likes of DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe."

Events will be held at the Newton Arkwright Building of Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Playhouse, Broadway Cinema and Newstead Abbey.

"Our own literary festival is long over-due," says David Belbin, adding, "Nottingham has a very talented array of writers with an astonishing range of work. It will be good to see them showcased alongside international names."

The festival’s Writer in Residence is Deborah Tyler-Bennett. In addition to her poetry collections Deborah co-wrote the V&A Museum creative writing web package, and is also the editor of Coffee House, a small poetry press magazine. 

The festival is also to have its own Artist in Residence, Sue Bulmer, for the main festival weekend. These main events will take place on the weekend of February 16 and 17, alongside the Lace Season and Light Night.

Festival highlights include:

Alice Oswald and Michael Rosen: On Friday 15th and Saturday 16th of February, the Djanogly Theatre at the Lakeside Arts Centre will be hosting the poets Alice Oswald and Michael Rosen.
Alice will be performing her most recent work, Memorial; a modern recreation of Homer’s Iliad. Her performance of Memorial is dramatic and moving and is absolutely unlike any other poetry reading you will see. This event is on Friday February 15th at 7.30 pm. Suitable for 14 years +, tickets £10 (£7 concessions)
On Sunday February 17th at 1.30pm and 3.30pm Michael will be performing ‘Favourite Stories and Poems’, his non-stop one-man show of poems, stories, songs and jokes. It’s his first visit to Nottingham sharing old favourites like Chocolate Cake and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt along with newer stories from Even My Ears Are Smiling and Michael Rosen’s Big Book of Bad Things. Tickets are £6.50, suitable for families and children age 4+.

For full details of the events see the Lakeside Arts Centre website:
To book call the Lakeside Box Office on 0115 846 7777

Newstead Abbey will be filled with the sound of spoken word on Saturday 9th February with a host of poetry and spoken word events. It all starts with free entry into the gardens and free afternoon events including prizewinning poets CJ Allen and Adrian Buckner reading and talking about their recent work, a spoken word performance from Dori K, and Jonathan Taylor’s launch of his poetry collection ‘Musicolepsy’. And while you take in the inspiring scenery and architecture, costumed poets will be performing works to keep the words flowing.
Nottingham Festival of Words continues into the evening with two fantastic ticketed events: Poetry, Landscape and Radicals and Something in the Shadows. You can now buy tickets for both events via Experience Nottinghamshire.

Lord Byron: The First Rockstar?
Saturday 9th February 2013 at Newstead Abbey. 5.40pm
Mad, bad and dangerous to know, Lord Byron rocketed to fame after the publication of his poem 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'. He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords about the Nottingham Luddites, and embarked on a life of sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Hear all about it at the poet's ancestral home, where he lived, wrote and partied...

Twitter Novel: Join the collaborative twitter novel and help shape the narrative. A dual story set in Victorian times and the present day. A Victorian lace worker finds love in a dark place, while in modern times a cross-cultural relationship enters forbidden territory. Help spin out these stories of love and lace. Details here.

Paul Anderson will be showing what the World Wide Web might actually look like. Visit his blog at

Nottingham Lace Competition: Children are encouraged to write about Nottingham's lace industry for a competition, with book tokens and publication in the Festival anthology as prizes. In Memory of Dorothy Bell, the Nottingham Lace Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or under and living in Nottingham.
There are three age groups (under 10, 11–14, and 15–18), and you can enter eithera poem or a short story on the theme of lace.
Make lace. Wear Lace. Love lace. Lace words together. What does lace mean to you?
To enter the competition, download your form:
For a .doc version
click here
For a pdf version
click here.
Your poem or story mustn't be longer than one page on 12-point font size.
Send the form with your piece of writing by 24th February 2013.

You can email it to or post it to:
Nottingham Lace Competition
Nottingham Writers' Studio
32a Stoney Street

Children’s Writers:
Renowned author David Almond will talk about his fiction. David has penned many much-loved books over the years including Skellig, turned into a TV drama, Kit’s Wilderness and Clay.
Over at the Newton Building keep an eye out for Vikings and Victorians as the Nottingham History Roadshow pitches up. There will be a lively mix of quizzes, readings and slideshows. But be warned, this is not for the fainthearted as the Roadshow covers everything from burning castles to explosive diarrhoea!

Ever been on a story walk? Did you know there are secrets hidden in the nooks and crannies of Nottingham? Amanda Smith will guide you, taking parties of children on imaginative excursions around the capital.

Little Gem Storytelling will be taking us all the way to Scallywag. Local storyteller Pete Davis will also be thrill audiences and self-published author Robb Hann will lead an event around his beautifully illustrated book The GrumbleGroar (winner of New Writer’s UK Children’s Book of the Year 2012). Older children might also enjoy the workshop on writing graphic comics. And look out for Riddle Me This, A Way with Words and the Poet Trees.

Libraries and schools are also involved. For example the Central Library will be hosting a Revolutionary Cookbook for children. Watch, listen and taste! And at historic Wollaton Hall there’s a whole day of storytelling and children’s activities under the banner A Way With Words.

Keep an eye on for programme information.
Follow Notts Words on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for the newsletter – visit:

Nottingham Festival of Words is a collaborative effort, organised by Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Writing East Midlands, and Nottingham City Council in partnership with Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Alan Sillitoe Poetry Comp

Poetry competition – big name adjudicator – £200 first prize

After the massive success of last year’s inaugural Alan Sillitoe Memorial Open Poetry Competition – adjudicated by Ruth Fainlight and paying out £350 in prize money – they’re doing the same again this year. George Szirtes – winner of the 2005 T.S. Eliot Prize – will be the final adjudicator.

The competition is open to everyone except members of the Alan Sillitoe Committee and their families. Theme and form are open. The only stipulations we make are that your poem should be no more than 40 lines, previously unpublished, not submitted for publication elsewhere and not entered for, or placed in, any other competition.

First prize: £200. Second: £100. Third: £50.

Entry fees? £3 per poem or four for £10.

How many poems can you enter? Well, as long as you’re paying £10 per multiple of four, they really don’t mind.

All proceeds will go to the Alan Sillitoe Memorial Fund. The deadline is Tuesday 22nd January 2013.

Click here for the 2nd Alan Sillitoe Memorial Poetry Competition flyer; please read the guidelines on this document before entering.

Postal entries should be sent to: The Competition Secretary, 38 Harrow Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 7DU. Cheques or postals should be made payable to ‘The Alan Sillitoe Committee’.

Or you can enter by email, sending your poems as attachments to and paying your entry fee via the “donate” button on this website. You should make a note of the PayPal reference number and quote it in your email.

Good luck!

Beeston Poets

Beeston Poets were visited by Neil Astley. Fresh from the Nottingham Open poetry competition adjudication, Neil (who founded Bloodaxe Books in 1978) read from Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy to an audience of nearly 60 people. The Five Leaves elf's favourite was Edip Cansever's "Table", which is available online, unlike most of the poems in Essential Poems and the trilogy (so go and buy them... or at the very least get hold of Essential Poems, it's a fantastic and accessible introduction to contemporary world poetry).

Neil also spoke about the philosophy behind Bloodaxe, and his own personal mission to bring a wider range of poetry to a UK audience. He suggested that much of the poetry published in the UK is written by white middle-class English men (or white working-class Irish men, or white middle-class Scotsmen... you get the idea). So Bloodaxe has made a point of publishing contemporary poetry from a wide range of men and women of all races and from all parts of the world, and Staying Alive, Being Alive and Being Human are exemplars of that philosophy. "Hoorah for Bloodaxe!" says the Five Leaves elf.

After the break, Neil treated us to a couple of poems from local success story Candlestick Press's pamphlet Ten Poems About Sheep, which he edited for them.

Andy Croft, December 8th

Andy will read from 1948, a comic novel written in Pushkin sonnets, set during the post-War London Olympics and illustrated by Martin Rowson. Starring Russian spies, London gangsters and useless poets, 1948 is part Cold War film noir and part Ealing comedy, and it was recently Nicholas Lezard’s Paperback of the Week in The Guardian. Andy will also read from his other poetry collections.

The Five Leaves elf has pulled out all the stops, and organised a slide show featuring Martin Rowson's cartoons which were drawn especially for 1948. Like Andy's reading, these will entertain and enlighten you, and are virtually guaranteed to make you laugh.
Andy Croft is a brilliant and hyperactive writer, who was Poet-in-Residence on the Great North Run, translates Siberian poets, works with prisoners, and has given readings all over the world including in the USA, France and Russia. He has written five novels and forty-two books for teenagers, mostly about football. He has edited several anthologies of poetry; and his own collections include two novels in Pushkin sonnets, Ghost Writer and 1948. He runs Smokestack Books, which publishes unconventional and radical poetry both from English-speaking poets and in translation.

For more information on Beeston Poets and their events please visit

Monday, 26 November 2012

John Harvey guest judge in EMBA

The Submission Deadline for the 2013 East Midlands Book Award is Sat 1st December 2012.

The aim of the award is: ‘to promote writers who live in the East Midlands, to raise the profile of the thriving literary scene in the region, and to reward exceptional work.’

This year’s guest judge is none other than John Harvey.

Please click HERE to read the rules and how to enter.

Review: Word of Mouth

Read the LEFT LION review of the recent Word of Mouth event at Antenna by clicking the link below.


Book Day in Arnold, Sat Dec 1st

Book Day at Gedling Civic Centre, THIS Saturday, Dec 1st, between 10am and 4pm.

This free to attend event features talks, readings, a book launch, ‘meet the author’ stalls, refreshments, and a workshop from a local publisher.

There’s no booking required, simply turn up at any point during the day. The short talks are suitable for all lovers of literature. Topics range from The Women’s Land Army to Creating A Free Website and include Where Ideas Come From, Creating Characters, Hard-Boiled Fiction, Self Publishing and Tracing Our Languages Back In Time.

Gedling Civic Centre is in the grounds of Arnot Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU. Parking is available within the park.

Everyone is welcome at this event hosted by members of New Writers UK

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Word of Mouth: Journeys

Word of Mouth: Journeys

Wed 21 November


Antenna cafe-restaurant

9a Beck Street, NG1 1EQ (how to find Antenna)

Tickets and Boarding Passes: £4/£3 (NWS members & concessions)

Word of Mouth is back on 21 November for a third month running with a night of journeys and freedom, hosted by three-time novelist Megan Taylor.

Escape a cold November night for an evening of spoken word wanderings with readings that range across Europe, Russia, and Nepal, before returning home to our very own Notts. More adventurous than a city break, more daring than a package holiday, this is writing that flies in the face of repression and off into an uncertain future.

Poetry by Richard Goodson, Andy Miller and Robin Vaughan-Williams

Prose from Giselle Leeb, Andrew Kells, Laura Grevel and Alison Moore

Wayne Burrows on PEN International's reaction to the Pussy Riot convictions, and Arthur Seaton's own unique response via James Walker.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Short Story Reading Cafe

Wed 14th November

10.30am - 12 noon

Celebrate National Short Stories Week at Arnold Library (Front Street).

The library's ever popular Reading Cafe plays host to this themed event. Bring along your favourite short stories (maybe your own) to discuss over tea and biscuits.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Medieval Physician

Thursday 1st November

Clifton Library  


Free- no ticket required

Sir Ralph of Epperstone : The Medieval Physician 

A presentation by Ralph Needham

Chilling Tales - Tonight

Chilling Tales

Wed 31 October, 8pm @ Broadway Cinema cafe-bar (free entry)

As winter nights gather, you are welcome you to an evening of chilling tales of terror. Live storytelling from Nottingham Writers' Studio, with horror novelist Niki Valentine and guests, plus TV archive classics from Tom Baker (SREDNI VASHTAR—a child's pet forms the basis for a new and deadly religion), Christopher Lee (the Devil, death and a black cat feature in the chilling THE STALLS OF BARCHESTER by M.R. James) and Robert Powell (James' horticultur

al horror THE ROSE GARDEN). An unmissably entertaining evening of scares.


Niki Valentine: extract from The Doll’s House
Marty Ross: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
Andrew Kells: The Good Books
Megan Taylor: The Dining Room Ghost
Brick: Horror She Wrote
Angela Foxwood: The Writing Group
Chris Pearson: The House


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sillitoe Day at Nottingham Contemporary

With the likes of McGregor and Moore, Nottingham is fast adding to its literary tradition but we still, quite rightly, celebrate our randy rebels, Byron, Bertie and Alan Sillitoe. Eastwood’s annual D H Lawrence Festival and Hucknall’s annual International Byron Festival do their bit. Last Saturday it was Sillitoe’s turn.

The Second ‘Sillitoe Day’ was a cracking event. Here’s what you might have missed:

After BBC TV’s Marie ‘one-take’ Ashby did her piece to camera, we kicked off with James Walker & Paul Fillingham, launching the Sillitoe Trail mobile phone App. The Sillitoe Trail is a literary walk commissioned by The Space (their only literary commission outside of London). The idea of the phone App is that you can access loads of information as you visit each of five locations featured in the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

Accompanying a series of slides, we heard an audio of Derrick Buttress talking about the history of Slab Square. It included an evocative account of his experiencing VE Day as a 14 year old. The Nottingham author and poet then took the microphone, recounting further tales and reading a couple of nostalgic poems.

LeftLion editor Al Needham’s talk about Nottingham’s pub culture was as poignant as it was hilarious. You had to be there but his tale about wanting to have a drink with Robbo and Dale Winton was a gem. He smoothly switched from recounting his formative years to imagining where a modern day Arthur Seaton would drink, now that the White Horse pub is a curry house. Perhaps on the other side of a bar, pulling pints and other people’s wives?  

After a short film about the Raleigh production line, Pete Davis (Storytellers of Nottingham) shared some of the raucous antics that he’d gleaned from staff that had worked at the cycle factory during its heyday.

Ann Featherstone was next up, rounding off the trail with an entertaining account of Seaton’s Goose Fair where, as the bright lights came on, boxing and wife bothering were the order of things.  

The Space and the Sillitoe Trail App contain a rich variety of audio and visual treats. The content includes the chance to hear Arthur Seaton’s views on his home city in 2012. Penned by James Walker & Neil Fulwood, and voiced by Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson, this is a monologue of reflection and advice, Seaton-style.

With David Sillitoe (Alan’s son) as compare, we began the afternoon session with a short film by Sam Derby-Cooper. The filmmaker had previously met Alan Sillitoe to ask him for permission to adapt his acclaimed short story, Mimic, for the silver screen. Sillitoe acquiesced, on the proviso that he had final say on the film’s release. After watching the short movie, Sillitoe gave his blessing on this faithful and atmospheric film.     

The launch of Sillitoe’s novel, The Open Door, came next. This republished edition has been well produced in hardback by Five Leaves and we heard readings from the book. The Open Door follows Brian Seaton (Arthur’s brother) as he is diagnosed with, and recovers from, TB. This, and Brian’s path to becoming a novelist, provides overtones of the autobiographical. Discover more here.

Michael Eaton’s letter to Alan Sillitoe was a wonderful homage to Nottingham and its people. From the origin of the term ‘duck’, to living with the odd break-in, Eaton had the audience in his palm.

The day continued with Frank Abbott’s preview of his mash-up of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Abbott’s film is a remix of the original, containing new images and extracts of other movies.

Local legend and screenwriter, Billy Ivory, missed his beloved Notts County in action to discuss Sillitoe’s film adaptations, their place in the British Social Realism movement, and Sillitoe’s influence on his writing.

There was much more besides at this well organised feast of local heritage.

Following Sillitoe Day was Sillitoe Evening, a night of poetry and music. Profits and donations from the two events have gone to the Alan Sillitoe Memorial Fund. It’s important that we honour Sillitoe with a statue. It will happen, but will we get the immortal line etched into its pedestal, ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down!’

Alan Sillitoe proved that you can’t label an individual but you can give him a voice.

Sillitoe’s Nottingham: Then and Now at The Space
The Sillitoe Trail
The Alan Sillitoe Website


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Stella Rimington - Bloomsbury Book Club

Intelligence Squared Bloomsbury Book Club with Stella Rimington
Thursday 8th November
6pm for 6.30pm
At 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP
Tickets £25 including the book

Stella Rimington, our most high profile spy fiction writer, attends the November Book Club.
As the former Director General of the MI5, Rimington is no stranger to the underground world of spying. Her wealth of experience as the first female spy to rise to the top of the famously male-dominated organisation feeds magnificently into her novels, providing an authentic insight into the often over-glamourised and sensationalised world of the Secret Service. Which is not to say that her book lacks any of the traditional thrills and spills of traditional spy fiction; The Geneva Trap is a masterful blend of ambition and personal relationships.

When a Russian spy approaches MI6 with vital information about the imminent cyber-sabotage of an Anglo-American Defence programme, he refuses to talk to anyone but Liz Carlyle of MI5. But who is he, and what is his connection to the British intelligence officer?

At a US Air Force base in Nevada, officers watch in horror as one of their unmanned drones plummets out of the sky, and panic spreads through the British and American Intelligence services. Is this a Russian plot to disable the West’s defences? Or is the threat coming from elsewhere?

As Liz and her team hunt for a mole inside the MOD, the trail leads them from Geneva, to Marseilles and into a labyrinth of international intrigue, in a race against time to stop the Cold War heating up once again...

‘Liz Carlyle is an MI5 agent with the traditional thriller-heroine mix of dysfunctional personal life and steely ambition’ Daily Telegraph

Ticket Details

Tickets for the Intelligence Squared Bloomsbury Book Club cost £25 for individual events and include a copy of the hardback book posted to your home. For details of season membership please contact Claire Daly at
or call 0207 631 5717.
Date: Thursday 8th November
Time: Drinks 6pm, Talk 6.30pm
Place: Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP
Cost: £25 (including the book)

The Intelligence Squared Bloomsbury Book Club is sponsored by Mo√ęt Hennessy

Monday, 22 October 2012

Playhouse: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

23-27 October.

BAFTA winning and Olivier Award nominated playwright Roy Williams has adapted Alan Sillitoe’s classic novel for the stage and, after touring several cities, it has arrived in Nottingham for a 5-night stint.

The award winning Pilot Theatre Company bring the searing text of class and the criminal justice system to the Nottingham Playhouse. This stunning new production, set in Britain's Olympic Year, exposes the beating heart of a nation, still broken and still divided across class lines.

A long distance race in real time, we follow one runner, alone with his thoughts, becoming part of his journey as his steady running rhythm transports him over a harsh, frost bitten earth. Colin Smith is defiant. He is a young rebel inhabiting the no man's land of detention centres and young offenders’ institutes.

Why, for whom and for what is he running?

It’s a retelling with a contemporary edge. The 2012 youth is now mixed race and the riots of last year provide elements of the class war and anger of Sillitoe’s creation over 50 on from the novel.

A glorious tour de force
 The Independent

Book now on 0115 941 9419.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Worth a look


Five Leaves' author websites:

Lesley Acton:
Sherry Ashworth:
Ray Banks
Michael Baron:
David Belbin:
David Bell:
Lawrence Block:
Stephen Booth:
Alan James Brown:
Elizabeth Cashdan:
John Stuart Clark:
Andy Croft:
Berlie Doherty:
Rod Duncan:
Zoe Fairbairns:
Kevin Fegan:
Mike Gerber:
Alan Gibbons:
David Goodway:
Cathy Grindrod:
John Harvey:
Richard Hollis (designer):
Jacqueline Karp-Gendre:
Anita Klein:
Shaun Levin:
Peter Lawson:
Joanne Limburg:
Maxine Linnell:
Clare Littleford:
Rod Madocks:
Karen Maitland:
Michael J Malone:
Jon McGregor:
Russel D McLean:
Roger Mills:
Nicola Monaghan:
Peter Mortimer:
Mark Patterson:
John Payne:
Marge Piercy:
Bali Rai:
Dominic Reeve:
Danuta Reah:
Harold Rosen:
Michael Rosen:
Martin Rowson:
Carol Rumens:
J David Simons:
Iain Sinclair:
Dan Tunstall:
Michelene Wandor:
Andrew Whitehead:
Charlie Williams:
Gregory Woods:
Colin Wilson: and
Ken Worpole:

Alliance of Radical Booksellers:
Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing:
Lowdham Book Festival:
Exiled Writers Ink:
Anglo-Catalan Society:
Writing East Midlands:
Jewish Socialists' Group:
Jewish East London Celebration Society:
Left Lion, Nottingham culture on line:
The Poetry Library:
Socialist Jewish East End walks:
Nottingham Trent University MA in Creative Writing:
Resonance radio's programme on forgotten London Writers:
London fiction:
London anarchist book fair:
Mike Gerber’s Jazz Jews related programme:
Alan Sillitoe Committee:
Cable Street Group:
Iberian Book Services:
Nottingham Literature:
Beeston Poets:

Inpress, representing 30+ small publishers - including Iron Press, Parthian, Smokestack, Menard, Flambard, Modern Poetry in Translation, Arc, Hearing Eye, Glas, Wrecking Ball; Smith/Doorstep:
Shoestring Press:
Sphinx - chapbook reviews:
Central Books, distributing independent publishers:
Penniless Press literary journal:
The Book Depository – an “Amazon” that is good on backlist titles:
Candlestick Press poetry:
Staple literary magazine:
Pewter Rose, a new Nottingham small press:
Eland Publishing:
Serif Books, specialising in cookery, travel and politics:
Nine Arches Press, rising star of poetry publishing:

Newham Bookshop, London:
Eastside Bookshop, London:
Joseph’s Bookstore, London:
The Bookcase, Lowdham:
News from Nowhere, Liverpool:
Housmans, London:
Wordpower, Edinburgh:
Cottage Books, mail order Romani Books:
Andrew Burgin, mail order posters & books:
Left on the Shelf, second hand labour movement:
Nottingham Books: - The best selection of books about Nottinghamshire
Scarthin Books, Derbyshire: (new and second hand, quirky and mainstream - a bookshop for the majority of minorities)
George Street Books, Glossop (mostly second hand):
Books about Northumberland:
Pages of Hackney:
Bakewell Bookshop:
Open Road Bookshop, deepest rural Suffolk:
Hydra Bookshop, radical, Bristol:
People's Bookshop, Durham (new and second hand):
Oswald Street Bookshop, Glasgow - for Scottish books:
Kibworth Beauchamp, general and children's:

Tales & Terror

Chilling tales of terror

Wed 31 October.

8 pm @ Broadway Cinema cafe-bar

(FREE entry)

As winter nights gather, why not attend an evening of chilling tales of terror. Live storytelling from The Nottingham Writer's Studio, with horror novelist Niki Valentine and guests, plus TV archive classics from Tom Baker (SREDNI VASHTAR—a child's pet forms the basis for a new and deadly religion), Christopher Lee (the Devil, death and a black cat feature in the chilling THE STALLS OF BARCHESTER by M.R. James) and Robert Powell (James' horticultural horror THE ROSE GARDEN).

An unmissably entertaining evening of scares.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Man Booker reaction

So we didn’t get the result we wanted but maybe we’d already achieved it. For Alison Moore, if ever there was a case of ‘it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part…’ then this is it. By Moore’s own acknowledgement, her debut novel would have been struggling to find shelf space at Waterstones without the longlist nomination. To then be shortlisted, has established Moore as a respected author. Sure, the nomination opens her debut up for criticism but that is almost incidental because from now on, she is a shortlisted author, she commands respect. I only wish the media would stop referring to Moore as a Manchester-born novelist. Who cares where she was born when she lives in Nottingham! It’s not a case of us claiming her, more that she is already ours. Cary Grant is associated with Hollywood not Bristol. Come on folks.

I wasn’t surprised to hear that Mantel (Derbyshire-born) won, but I had hoped that the judges might have been split over the two heavyweights, allowing the majority’s 2nd favourite, perhaps Moore, to take it on the line. Self was the bookies front runner but only last year the judges were preaching the importance of readability. Had Umbrella won it would have marked a huge U-turn. Whilst there is much to admire, it’s a book that will be started by significantly more readers than finish it. With Mantel, it becomes a question of worth. By awarding Mantel the prize, the judges are lavishing huge praise on a sequel, making the author the first British writer - and the first woman – to win twice.

Moore’s writing ticks the literature box but it also has the readability factor. It will keep the masses sticking around for the ending and they won’t be disappointed when they get there. So yes, I am a little disappointed that she didn’t win. The Lighthouse had momentum, regularly being picked out by library groups as their favourite, and the author had impressed during the rounds of interviews and media demands. I suppose that, in the end, the judges had backed themselves into a corner. The problem was that whilst Wolf Hall was a popular winner, Bring Up The Bodies is a much better book.

I look forward to Moore’s next novel, which I suspect will surpass The Lighthouse, I just hope it isn’t released in the same year Mantel completes her trilogy.

The Lighthouse by Nottingham author Alison Moore

Writing Competition for Notts under 19s

Nottingham Lace Writing Competition

Open to anyone 19 years or under, living in Nottinghamshire.
Flash Fiction and Poetry on the theme of 'LACE'.
Winners to be announced at a prize-giving in February 2013 as part of the first Nottingham Festival of Words.


Usborne author, Paula Rawsthorne
Former Derbyshire poet laureate, Matt Black

Age Groups:

11 years and under
12 - 16 years
17 - 19 years


(for each age group)
1st prize: £50 book token and mentoring
2nd prize: £25 book token
3rd prize: £15 book token
All winners and commended runners-up receive publication in the competition anthology.


Wed 14 November 2012, 5pm


To Enter:

Entry is free. Print off the entry form and email or post it to the address given on the form.


1.     Entrants must have been resident in Nottinghamshire at some point during the six months prior to 14 November 2012.

2.     Age group is determined by age on 14 November 2012.

3.     Maximum one submission per entrant.

4.     Submissions must fit onto one page of A4 in minimum 12-point font size, and contain no more than one poem or piece of flash fiction.

5.     All submissions must be the original work of the entrant.

6.     Copyright remains with the authors, although Nottingham Festival of Words retains the right to reproduce poems and stories physically and digitally until 30/11/2015. If entrants wish to publish their winning work or work selected for inclusion in the competition anthology, they will be required to acknowledge Nottingham Festival of Words.

7.     Work submitted must not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, in print or online.

8.     The winner in each age group will receive 3 mentoring sessions, either individual or for their class at school: 17–19 years —individual; 12–16 years —individual or school-based; under 11 years —school-based.

9.     The judges cannot acknowledge submissions.

10. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Enquiries to: or 0115 959 7947