26 April - 9 May 2021

Friday 30th April

Kathryn Koromilas

Event Time: 9:15 am

Join Kathryn Koromilas for a daily morning meditative writing session. In this calm and mindful session, we’ll meditate - in writing - with a poem. The intention of meditative writing is to help you remove mental obstacles, encourage mindful concentration, enhance your creative practice, and just generally supercharge your day. Sessions will be streamed live on Instagram, every morning from 9:15am to 9:45 am for the duration of the festival.

Follow the Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival Instagram account to take part.

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Author Bio

Kathryn Koromilas is a creative writer, a teacher & a gentle, joyful Stoic! She uses ancient wisdom and writing practices to help reignite creativity, reimagine purpose, and foster a thriving writing practice.

Dogged: Working Class Women

Event Time: 12:00 pm

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Hear Emma Purshouse read from her debut novel, Dogged! Set in the city, Dogged is the story of two working-class women in their 70s. Funny, warm, dark, and beautifully written, the novel has received rave reviews and has been described as "unputdownable".

Emma is a working-class performance poet and writer, and the current poet laureate of the City of Wolverhampton. She was part of the 'Common People' anthology, edited by Kit de Waal, and is also part of Portopia which is a brand-new writer development project set up to increase working-class representation in screenwriting.

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Author Bio

Emma Purshouse is Poet Laureate for the City of Wolverhampton. She is a poetry slam champion and has performed at spoken word nights and festivals across the UK – Cheltenham Literature Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude, and WOMAD, among others – often using her native Black Country dialect in her work. Her most recent poetry publication, Close, (Offa’s Press, 2018) was shortlisted for the Rubery Book Award in 2019, and her children’s poetry collection, I Once Knew a Poem Who Wore a Hat, won the poetry section of the same award in 2016. In 2019 Emma was one of writers included in 'Common People', the anthology of working-class writing edited by Kit De Waal. Her debut novel, Dogged, (Ignite Books) was launched early in 2021, to critical acclaim.

Race, Climate, and Poetry

Event Time: 12:00 pm

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We will open up with a listening circle around a seed question and delve deeper into intersectional issues faced within the climate movement through a collaborative creative writing process.

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Author Bio

Liba Ravindran

Liba Ravindran is a 29 year old poet from Sri Lankan Tamil heritage, born in Norway and presently living in Southgate, North London. He has been writing for seven years with a breadth of material spanning poetry, essays, short stories and a play. He has been recognised for his work through winning competitions, being published in anthologies and being a booked performer. The content is ironically quixotic and surreally perceptive in its philosophical themes covering dreams, love, reality and nature. Liba founded the Anti-Oppression Circle last year which is a BIPOC led intersectional grassroots community formed from the climate justice movement.

The Millstone and the Star: Mental Health, Mental Health Problems and Writing

Event Time: 1:00 pm

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How might writing help boost our mental health, and how might we write about and draw on the experience of mental health problems and mental illness in our fiction and non-fiction work? Sometimes, we carry a heavy weight and perhaps we cannot ever be mended - that is the millstone. Yes this does not mean we cannot nurture our creativity and produce fine writing; create something beautiful: there is the star.

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Author Bio

Anna Vaught is a novelist, poet, essayist, short fiction writer, editor and a secondary English teacher, tutor and mentor, mental health advocate and mum of 3. 2020 saw the publication of Anna's third novel, Saving Lucia (Bluemoose) and a first short story collection, Famished (Influx). Anglo-Welsh, she splits her time between Wiltshire, Wales, and the Southern US. She is currently editing a new novel, writing a novella and working on her first non-fiction book & a second short story collection. Anna’s essays, reviews, articles, and features have been featured widely online and in print. She is represented by Kate Johnson of Mackenzie Wolf Literary Agents, in New York City.

Rejection and Building Resilience

Event Time: 3:00 pm

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For twenty years Jenny Knight kept writing, through industry close-calls and other brutal experiences. She finally secured an agent--but, even then, the near-misses kept piling.

Rejection is a painful, but unavoidable, part of every writer's life. Join Jenny as she teaches the tried-and-tested methods – from utilising a writer's "toolkit" to building a community – that have helped her and other writers cope with the inevitable.

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Author Bio

Jenny Knight is a prize-winning writer of short story, fiction and memoir and a contributor to Kit de Waal’s celebrated Common People anthology. Her writing on writing and the publishing world has appeared in Book Machine, National Writers’ Centre and Restless. She was selected for Penguin’s WriteNow 2018, a 2019 ACE/TLC Award, is a National Centre for Writing Case Study, has won or been listed in competitions including Bridport, Fish, Arvon, ACE/Escalator, Yeovil, Riptide and SWWJ and published in several anthologies. A freelance editor and copywriter, her publishing clients, including Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Routledge, and she assesses manuscripts for Jericho Writers. Her agent is Jo Unwin.

She’s also taught creative writing in prisons, for the UN/Comic Relief in Somalia and Kenya, spoken on panels and held workshops about writing, getting agents, rejection and resilience for PrimadonnaFest, Stay-At-Home-Fest 2020 and Litro. She has a degree in English Lit & Drama and studied Creative Writing at UEA.

Dub Poetry Workshop

Event Time: 4:00 pm

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A taster session on Dub Poetry, presented by Raquel McKee. Born in Jamaica, Raquel is the recipient of the ANCI award and is a facilitator at the Poetry in Motion School. This session will teach the basics of writing Dub Poetry while also exploring the genre's legacy of confronting social issues. Space is limited, so book early!

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A first-generation Jamaican migrant living in Northern Ireland, Raquel applies Jamaican style social commentary - Dub Poetry – amongst other styles, to address personal and political issues. She is an actor, storyteller, singer/songwriter, workshop facilitator and teacher. Raquel is a Poetry in Motion facilitator with Community Arts Partnership where she gives poetry workshops. She collaborated on a creative conversation using poetry and movement, called IN JUSTICE as part of the Terra Nova Intercultural cohort commission in 2021.

Blueprint Poetry Press Showcase

Event Time: 5:00 pm

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Blueprint Poetry Press, established in 2019, is the brainchild of poets Jo Colley and Julie Hogg. We believe that poetry pamphlets are a thing of beauty in their own right and not just a springboard to a full collection. We publish short, coherent sets of poems which may also include illustrations, from published poets. In 2020, we published Paul Summers (the dreamer’s ark) and Angela Readman (Cooking with Marilyn), and in 2021, Matthew Caley (Prophecy is Easy), Bernadette McAloon (A Queen of Rare Mutations) and Degna Stone (Mrs Stone’s Diaries).

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Bernadette McAloon

Bernadette McAloon is the recipient of a Basil Bunting Award and the Flambard Poetry Prize. She works as a creative arts therapist and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. A Queen of Rare Mutations is her debut poetry pamphlet. Her work has appeared in many magazines: Butcher’s Dog Magazine; Drifting Down the Lane: Art and Poetry Explorations edited by Harriette Lawler, Agnes Marton (Moon and Mountain); Flambard Prize Winners' Anthology, Mslexia Magazine; Ofi Press Online Magazine; One Planet, Newcastle University's Alumni Online Anthology; Rowing Home, Cruse Bereavement Care Anthology and The Rialto Magazine.

Degna Stone

Degna Stone is a poet and editor living in the north east of England. She shares her home near the River Tyne with her husband, two teenagers and their chihuahua. Her work has appeared in The Book of Newcastle (Comma Press), Ten: Poets of the New Generation and A Mighty Stream (Bloodaxe), Writing Motherhood (Seren), Urban Myths and Legends and Some Cannot Be Caught (The Emma Press), Crossings (Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts) and Filigree (Peepal Tree Press).

Paul Summers

Paul Summers is a Northumbrian poet & artist who lives at the mouth of the River Tyne. He is currently obsessed with liminals & the littoral, making a daily pilgrimage to the river’s rocky shoreline almost every day since his return from Australia five years ago. His poems have appeared widely in print for almost three decades. A founding co-editor of the 'leftfield' UK magazines Billy Liar and Liar Republic, he has also written for TV, film, radio, theatre and collaborated many times with artists and musicians on mixed-media projects and public art. His latest book is straya, published by Smokestack Books in April 2017. Previous collections include: primitive cartography, union (new & selected) Three Men on the Metro, big bella's dirty cafe, cunawabi and the last bus.

Matthew Caley

Matthew Caley’s Thirst (Slow Dancer, 1999) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Subsequent collections are The Scene of My Former Triumph (Wrecking Ball Press, 2005), Apparently (Bloodaxe Books, 2010); his lost second collection, Professor Glass (Donut Press, 2011); and his fifth and sixth collection, Rake (Bloodaxe Books, 2016) and Trawlerman's Turquoise (Bloodaxe Books, 2019). His work has been included in many anthologies, and he also co-edited Pop Fiction: The Song in Cinema with Stephen Lannin (Intellect, 2005). He lives in London with artist Pavla Alchin and their two daughters.

Writing Happiness Workshop

Event Time: 6:00 pm

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In this workshop, we will be exploring how we can write about joy and happiness to develop our own writing and support our wellbeing.

NB 50% of any donations will be split between charities Saheliya (a specialist mental health and well-being support organisation for black, minority ethnic, asylum seeker, and refugee women and girls in Edinburgh and Glasgow) and Beat (the UK's eating disorder charity. Their mission is to end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders.)

This event is held in partnership with Middlesbrough Libraries.

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Author Bio

Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis is a poet, facilitator and editor. Three Degrees of Separation, her debut poetry pamphlet exploring joy in recovery from mental illness, won the 2019 Wordsmith Prize and was published by Wordsmith HQ. She is currently working on a second pamphlet on her Jewish family history. She regularly facilitates writing workshops, and is a member of the Wriot poetry collective and Covent Garden Stanza.

Elspeth Wilson

Elspeth Wilson is a writer, researcher and poet who is interested in writing about health, disability and sexuality. Their work has been shortlisted for Canongate's Nan Shepherd prize and Penguin's Write Now Editorial programme. Elspeth is currently working on their debut novel and also regularly facilitates accessible creative workshops. When they aren’t writing or reading, they can usually be found near the sea or spending time with their elderly dog.

Aminatta Forna in Conversation

Event Time: 7:00 pm

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This is an inspiring, regenerative discussion and Q&A session with Aminatta, hosted by Paper Nations. Following last year's wonderful in-conversation session, the event returns in 2021 as a collaboration with the Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival.

We welcome everyone to this 75-minute event - booklovers, poets, new and professional writers, and those interested in culture and transnational writing.

Questions
If you have any questions, email: writers@papernations.org. Please include ‘In Conversation with Aminatta Forna Query’ in the subject line.

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Author Bio

Aminatta Forna is a novelist, memoirist and essayist. Her novels are The Hired Man, The Memory of Love, Ancestor Stones, and Happiness. In 2002 she published a memoir of her dissident father and Sierra Leone, The Devil that Danced on the Water. A forthcoming book of essays, The Window Seat, is published by Grove Press in 2021.

She is the winner of a Windham Campbell Award from Yale University and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and has been a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, the Orange Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize and the IMPAC Award. Aminatta was made an OBE in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours list.

Aminatta Forna is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and Director of the Lannan Center at Georgetown University.