Birmingham Poet Laureate, Anyone?

The winner of my recent book giveaway is Clair Chaytors and she’s chosen the novel, Jubilee as her prize. Well done Clair, your book will be with you, courtesy of Amazon, in the next few days.

And just in case you’re wondering how I did the draw…well, 20 lovely people left comments under the Jubilee posting; I wrote all the names down and numbered them in the order that the comments arrived. Then I used the random number generator here which came up with number 10 – which was Clair! Simples!

I really enjoyed reading about your plans for the weekend by the way, so thank you. We managed to have the barbecue on Saturday (despite the chilly air) and a few games of croquet in the garden (or ‘hopscotch’ as my Dad keeps calling it). That may sound genteel but when I hit my foot with the mallet – several times – my language was not particularly ‘choice’. Sorry, new neighbours.

Birmingham Poet Laureate

If you live in or around Birmingham and you’re a poet (but perhaps you don’t know it?) you might be interested in becoming Birmingham’s next poet laureate. Details are here and you’ve got until 17th August to get your application in!

You might be thinking ‘What? Me?’ but that’s what I thought, when I entered a competition to find a new Laureate for Warwick back in 2006 – and I ended up winning (no one was more surprised).

It opened all kinds of doors for me and it was fun, so don’t think you can’t do it! Most regional poet laureates are fairly ‘normal’ folk, with day jobs and stuff.

There are more and more of these ‘regional poet laureate’ posts springing up around the country, so if you like the idea but you’re not a Brummie, try Googling ‘Poet Laureate’ and then your town or county and you might find that there’s a Poet Laureate for your area or attached to a local literary festival.

Take A Break – You’re Telling Us

If you want to write to Take A Break, with a chance to earn yourself £60, this week’s question is as follows:

A recent newspaper article suggested that a third of parents regretted buying their children games consoles and mobile phones because they damage their creativity.

Do you wish you’d never bought your kids all-singing, all-dancing modern gadgets like these – or do you think they’d be missing out by NOT having them?

If you’ve got something to say on the subject, go to TAB’s Facebook page or email

Sorry that this is yet another ‘all over the place’ post but that’s because I’m still a bit unsettled in the writing department (ie: I’m not doing any, despite having lots of time).

I blame this on: a) the move b) the fact that I don’t yet have an office/work space c) I am NEVER ON MY OWN anymore!!

Am I the only one that needs solitude in order to think and get ideas – or am I just making excuses?!

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6 Responses to Birmingham Poet Laureate, Anyone?

  1. Kath says:

    Hi Helen – thanks for all the info. I wouldn’t want to crowd you but you’re certainly not alone in your need for space to inspire the creative process. I suffer terrible mental stress which freezes my creative juices when other people are about. I don’t think it’s because we’re bad we’re just far too responsive to other people and their needs. Hence we find it impossible to shut them out. Good wishes Kath

  2. Lol, nope, you are definitely not alone in needing solitude 🙂

    I write at my dining room table *pouts* so I don’t get anything done when the family are all in/around 😦

    Hope you manage to get your office sorted out soon 🙂


  3. Maggie May says:

    I think we all need solitude to be creative, but not necessarily peace and quiet. I can quite happily compose with the TV talking to itself in the background.

  4. It’s easy Helen, you’re a writer. When people are around, get out your notebook and bore them with charater details like. “Should my main character have black hair or blonde?” They’ll either help you write the story, or go away. Or couldn’t you go down to the library to do research, and write there? I know you’ll find a way. Talk soon.

  5. Prue says:

    I definitely find solitude necessary for writing. So, if I remember correctly, did Jane Austen.

    Mr Prue is still ill with complications from pneumonia which he had over a year ago. He’s going through another round of blood tests/consultants etc. He doesn’t worry but I do. I find the stress is really draining so I’m not writing at the moment (unless you include an essay on Ancient Egypt for evening class).
    Sometimes the only thing to do is stop and have a break.

    Hope you get sorted out soon and the words start to flow 🙂

    • Prue I completely understand – it’s very hard to write when you’re stressed. Your mind is too preoccupied, I think. I hope Mr Prue gets better soon. My partner had pneumonia a couple of years ago – completely out of the blue – and although he made a fairly speedy recovery (2-3 weeks on antibiotics at home), it’s a horrible thing and does knock you about a fair bit. Take it easy, be kind to yourself – and to him, of course! (men never worry about their health, do they? They let us do that for them).


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