States Of Independence

Posted in Literary with tags , , on March 9, 2010 by davidbelbin

On Saturday March 20th I’ll be appearing at the Independent Press Day at Leicester De Montfort University as part of a free festival called ‘States Of Independence’. I’ll be reading, talking and answering questions about ‘The Pretender’ and literary forgery from 2 to 2.40pm. The day runs from 10.30-4.30 and there’s more good stuff going on than anyone could possibly take in. Full programme here. If I wasn’t speaking, I’d be listening to Tindal St novelists Maria Allen and Will Buckingham at 2, or the poet Gregory Woods. As it is, I’m undecided what to do at 1. Should I go and see my old mucker Peter Mortimer talking about Camp Shatila, or wonderful children’s writer Berlie Doherty (whose ‘A Beautiful Place For A Murder’ I edited) talking about how to write place? Or I could skip both to see fine poet Mike Wilson, who I was at university with. The 12 slot presents similar clashes between old friends, former students and new friends, but I think I’ve agreed to intro Anthony Cartwright and Rod Madocks, so that gets me out of offending the others. It should be a great day. If you’re within an hour of Leicester, I expect to see you there!

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The East Midlands Book Award

Posted in Literary, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 13, 2010 by davidbelbin

Last year I was asked to be one of the trustees of a new, independent, annual book award, aimed at promoting and celebrating great writing in the East Midlands, where I’ve lived most of my life. This weekend marks the launch of the East Midlands Book Award which is being administered by Writing East Midlands. The other trustees are Ross Bradshaw, John Lucas and Jane Streeter. Ross runs Five Leaves Publications. John is an emeritus professor at the universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent (where I also have a part-time job) and runs Shoestring Press. Jane runs The Bookcase in Lowdham. However, we’re all acting in our individual capacities, hence no links to any of those other institutions. Ross and Jane also run the Lowdham Book Festival, where the first award ceremony will take place next year. After that, we hope that the ceremony (probably too grand a word) will circulate the six counties of the East Midlands (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, and Rutland).

The full rules of the award can be found on the Writing East Midlands site, but, basically, to be eligible, you have to live in the East Midlands, have a book (in, broadly, a creative field) published this year, and your publisher must submit three copies of the book to Writing East Midlands between March 1 and December 1. There will be three judges, who will be announced quite soon. It’s an exciting venture, which is not subject to the vagaries of government changes or the Arts Council lottery (but with, we hope, some sponsors getting involved).  Questions are welcomed in the comments box, where I’ll answer them or take them to the next trustees meeting if I don’t know the answer. Please spread the word.