GUEST POST: The point of the first question

During my teaching exchange in Finland, I met so many bright, passionate and talented people. But there were two women in particular whose stories and creativity really spoke to me. I have asked both of them to write guest posts for my blog about themselves, their fathers, their writing and more. Please enjoy the first…

Warmth & Writing at the University of Jyväskylä

During Cardiff University’s reading week in February, I could be found on the University of Jyväskylä’s snowy campus in Finland. Both institutions are members of the European Association of Creative Writing Programmes (EACWP) and formed a link in 2015 with the first teaching exchange between Dr. Shelagh Weeks and Terhi Forssén. I was delighted that my visit…

The Joys of the Pre-Order

Last year, I pre-ordered two debut poetry collections: The Sobbing School by fellow Marshall Scholar Joshua Bennett and The Knowledge Weapon by the winner of Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition, Annette C. Boehm. I was desperate to read these collections so I ordered them the first chance I got. Then I waited, full of the…

Finnish Poetry

I am writing this post from a warm and colourful studio in Central Finland, sipping tea and eating pumpkin seed bread. This week, on behalf of Cardiff University, I am visiting the University of Jyväskylä to observe seminars, give presentations, teach workshops and learn more about creative writing in Finland. It has been extraordinary so far…

Semi-Detached

My last post was in May and a lot has happened since then. Summer is my busiest season and as work for my day job, PhD and freelance projects increased my blog posts and personal writing took a reluctant back seat. Luckily, things are cooling down, both literally and figuratively, and I can now take…

Grieve, Read, Write

My Dad would have been 48 this Boxing Day. I wished him a happy birthday three years ago, chatting casually about the ham he was cooking, what he and my grandmother did for Christmas, what his plans were for New Year’s Eve. He seemed happy. He’d finally won a disability settlement he’d been after for…

Written Portraits

October is coming which means warm scarves, woolly jumpers, colourful leaves and Made in Roath are just around the corner! Although we’ve got an excellent poetry and literature programme planned, I am most excited to be organising another Written Portraits event for the upcoming festival. Run for this first time at Solstice in June, this…

Dignity

Not many of us think about our dignity on a daily basis. In fact, I’m not sure I’d truly considered what mine meant before being invited to develop two creative writing sessions on the topic for a project run by Making Minds and Interlink. Before planning these workshops, which were aimed at people dealing with…

Roath Writers Anthology Launch at RARA

Three years is not long in the scheme of things and yet there is something significant about it. When I started Roath Writers three years ago I could not see beyond the first session, could not imagine people coming again and again – the early mornings picking poetry, the late nights at the pub. I…

Loss and Poetry

Since my father’s death in 2013, I’ve learned a lot about grief and writing. I’ve spent late nights reading poetry books and memoirs and early mornings combing over blogs, essays, and academic journals. I have led Death Writing workshops, given a grief talk at Ignite Cardiff, and even changed my PhD topic to better understand…