Throughout May, June and July, NCLA will host a series of digital poetry events over Twitter and Facebook featuring some of today’s most exciting poets responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Poets will perform new work, issue challenges and writing prompts, and discuss how their writing lives have been affected. Inside Writing asks writers, readers and enthusiasts what effect living under lockdown has had on their writing, and what kinds of literature will emerge as a result?
Alongside these performances and prompts, the IES are commissioning writers and academics to respond to the work of Inside Writing poets with creative micro-essays under the banner of ‘Reading and Responding’, as part of our Literature in Lockdown series. In these posts we will consider how lockdown affects the ways that we read and respond to poems. Clare Lees, Director of the IES, says of the project: “Poets and readers meet on the page when they cannot in person, and book historians remind us how material is that meeting.”
IES ‘Inside Writing – Reading and Responding’ posts can be read on the IES Literature in Lockdown website. They can also be accessed by following the IES on Twitter, Facebook and signing up to the IES Newsletter.
Featuring poets Inua Ellams, Sasha Dugdale, Rishi Dastidar, Carolyn Forché, W.N. Herbert, Jackie Kay, Sean O'Brien, and Imtiaz Dharker, among others, Inside Writing aims to inspire readers and writers to reflect on their experiences of witnessing the outbreak of COVID-19 and the global response, and submit their responses in any form, for publication on NCLA’s archive website.
The Poetry Book Society (PBS), another partner of the Inside Writing festival, will co-host a showcase reading of recently selected poets.
NCLA Director, Sinéad Morrissey, says of the festival: “I’m delighted to see the launch of NCLA’s Inside Writing digital poetry festival this week – a real cause for celebration at a time of such national uncertainty. […]. There’s a lot of wonderful new work coming up soon so do stay tuned to our social media channels and get involved with the challenges. We’re looking forward to the wider conversations the festival will spark about creativity, crisis and change.”
Festival events can be accessed and viewed by following NCLA on Twitter or Facebook, and will take place between 7 May and 31 July 2020. Inside Writing and the Newcastle Poetry Competition is organised by the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.
For more information, interviews, and images
John Challis (NCLA)
Eleanor Hardy (IES)