Manchester, UK
Saturday 24th March 2012


1112pmPoetry Futures’ :       Spoken Word:  What Next?  The Way Forward

The spoken word scene has come alive. Young people have embraced the form.  Primary recent influences have been the Brave New Voices Spoken Word competitions in the USA.  In the UK, the post-dub, post-punk  live performances of seminal artists such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, John Cooper Clarke,  and Jean Binta Breeze are being superseded by a raft of younger spoken word voices –  Saul Williams, Kat Francois, Patience Agbabi, Tony Walsh (Longfella), Polar Bear and Inua Williams to name a few.

As video begins to be an integral part of the performance event, and as sub-genres proliferate and influences expand, where will the next innovation come from?  What is the future for the spoken word and, crucially, what do new poets need to do to prepare themselves for this future?

Panel: Khadijah Ibrahiim of Leeds Young Authors, Madeline Heneghan of Liverpool Young Writers, Shirley May of Manchester’s Young Identity; Derri Burdon of Curious Minds, Shamshad Khan, poet.

12pm-1pm     Ebooks and social media:  The Book is Dead. Long Live The E-Book

There are more poets than poetry readers.  Or at least, sales figures suggest nobody seems to want to go and buy a tree-based book of poems.  Will the advent of ebooks shake this up?  How will Kindle and other ebook platforms –some of which allow embedded audio and video at the same time as scrolling text – change the market?   And how can poets –both page poets and spoken word artists – best take advantage of these changes?

Panel: Zahid Husain, Manchester based, author; Simon Murray, Yorkshire based poet, author and blogger; Nii Parkes, flippedeye publisher and web designer, Adam Lowe, writer, publicist, blogger.

1pm – 2pm    Informal  Salon session:

How are writers making use of various social media, not only to promote/market themselves but to share/get feedback on their writing, and even develop new collaborative forms?  Three writers showcase their innovations.

Salon Host: Segun Lee-French. Featured authors: Dorothea Smart; Mark Mace Smith

2pm-3pm Writing For Children & Diversity: Why Are So Few BME Writers Published In This Genre?

While the achievements of Malorie Blackman, Bali Rai, Benjamin Zephaniah and (in poetry) John Agard are to be applauded and their publishers congratulated, nevertheless, the publishing industry struggles to publish books for children that reflect the diversity of the society that those children live in. Why is this?   How do we address this?  What initiatives exist, and what more is needed?

Panel: Jacqueline Roy, author and academic at Manchester University; Catherine Johnson, London based, children’s author; Melvin Burgess, Penguin author; Jake Hope, children’s librarian and judge of the Diverse Voices prize; Verna Wilkins of Tamarind Pres, Kuljit Chuhan, creative producer.

3pm -4pm  How To Get Your Novel Published

What publishers are looking for; how is the publishing industry changing; how submissions are assessed; common errors and misunderstandings; how to stand out from the slush pile.

Panel: Jeremy Poynting of Peepal Tree Press; Kavita Bhanot, writer, editor for Tindal Street Press anthology ‘Too Asian, Not Asian Enough’; Divya Ghelani, author, Betel Martin, Bristol based publisher, Chair: Jacob Ross, London based  author.

4pm-5pm Informal  Salon session

What Black writers are enjoying reading/listening to/watching to inspire and delight them?

Salon Host: Jennifer Makumbi.

For Panel Biography’s click here!

Evening  Showcase

Music & words from Speakeasy Collective + Panellists + Young Writers + special guest star poet, Kei  Miller.

With thanks to Arts Council England for funding.