Members’ news: October 2023

First, a shout out to Sarah Hill. Sarah produced beautiful writing and artwork inspired by Sphagnum Moss for 26 Plants, which piqued the interest of the British Bryological Society. So much so, that they have shared Sarah’s work on their website

We love it when our projects find homes in unexpected places. 

And congratulations to John Sills. John’s book, The Human Experience, has been nominated as Leadership Book of the Year by the Institute of Leadership.

I have co-written a book Radical Acts: Unconventional Wisdom for Shaking Things Up.

Our book provides ideas on:

✨ Setting a Creative Direction: Liberating ourselves from the constraints of conventional thinking.

✨ Choosing Making Over Aboutism: Embracing action and experimentation over endless deliberation.

✨ Loosening People’s Brilliance: Encouraging individuals to unlock their innate creative potential.

Steve Chapman was our superbly talented illustrator. We had the launch while we were at SXSW Sydney, and we have a photo of it looking very grown up in the bookshop.

– Lee Ryan

Michael Wolff is a legend of the creative world – founder of the original identity agency Wolff Olins in the 1960s, Michael blazed the trail that many of us have followed since. I was lucky enough to work for five years with Michael Wolff at Newell and Sorrell in the 1990s. Quite simply he was an inspiration. Sometimes that can be a description dropped lightly, without real meaning, but in this case it’s genuinely and deeply deliberate. A conversation with Michael at the start of a new project would always lead to the effortless stimulation of a stream of creative ideas. He would do this in the most genial, engaging way, telling stories to make his points, demonstrating his wonderful way with words as well as visual thinking. I’ve every expectation that this book will contain the essence of Michael Wolff, brought into this book form by NB designers and the writer Tom Lynham (also a co-founder of 26). Make sure you get your copy by signing up to the crowdfunding here.

– John Simmons

My news this month: I was a writer in residence for the Bloomsbury Festival, and I’ve got some comedy shows coming up in north London—one’s a launch! 

Good News / Bad News is a new mixed-bill night I’m hosting where comedians bring along their best or worst news stories from the last month. Join us for the first night on 7th November! It will then take place on the second Tuesday of every month: 7:30pm, Aces & Eights, Tufnell Park

My solo show Doomscrolling (WIP) in its latest form! 

– Suchandrika Chakrabarti

On September 16th, Nancy Garrs told an abridged version of her life with the Brontes as part of the ‘Uncovering Undercliffe, tour of the Grade II cemetery in Bradford. Nancy was nursemaid then housekeeper for the family at both Thornton and Haworth. Her grave was rediscovered a couple of years before the pandemic, and the cemetery raised funds for a headstone, which was duly installed last year.

Scripts from Scraps: Irene’s 3-day scriptwriting course focusing on monologues/duologues for emerging/interested writers running over Saturdays in Oct/Nov at Keighley Library, Bradford was sold out within two days. Writers will have the opportunity of seeing/hearing their work performed script-in-hand by actors to experience it ‘live’.

– Irene Lofthouse

Picture of Nancy (aka Irene) by Cath Muldowney

On a church-based twin-towns visit to Heidelberg, I discovered that our host was a retired virologist. I interviewed him for _East Anglia bylines_, during a tram journey, about the best and the worst of Germany’s response to COVID. My contribution is available here.  

– Aidan Baker

And finally, this Saturday is Fang Day: my second virtual event under the moniker “Writing the Occult” runs from 1-9pm UK time and features a range of writers, folklorists, and academics talking and running workshops about the history of the vampire character. The line-up includes: famed skeptic Deborah Hyde; Dr Samantha George of the Open Graves, Open Minds project; filmmaker Erica Robert Pallo, who’ll investigate adaptations of Anne Rice’s works; a conversation on the feminist gothic with A.R. James and Dawn Kurtagich; a workshop on world-building, vampire romance, and queer representation with Beverley Lee and Nicole Eigener; and a star-studded panel finale, chaired by Haunt Publishing’s Rebecca Wojturska, looking at how writers can imbue the tropes with their own experiences to make them unique. The panel features Jewelle Gomez, author of the acclaimed and iconic Gilda Stories (the first Black sapphic vampire tale, recently re-released by Penguin in the UK), Scott J. Moses (author of the novella Our Own Unique Affliction), Scotland-based short story writer Katalina Watt, who’s written about East Asian vampires, and writer, storyteller, and poet AW Earl, whose work centres queerness, deviant bodies, folklore, and the macabre. Ticket sales end on Friday, 27 October; get them here!

-Lauren McMenemy

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