Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Port Eliot Festival 2014Tickets have already gone on sale for the 2014 Port Eliot Festival, available on a first-come, first-served basis, numbers are limited. Now in its 10th year, the Port Eliot Festival has begun to attract some major literary figures and has become something of a feature on the British (Londoner?) festival circuit. It would be nice to see a little more Cornish focus from the festival organised by the man who once lead Cornish interests in parliament though (also unsuccessfully urging Cornwall for Parliament in the war of the five peoples and amicably leaving it to the Royalists thereafter).


In my first post here, in a wide-ranging editorial, I wrote that “Cornwall became famous for its art in the nineteenth and, especially, twentieth centuries largely through the effect of incoming (mainly English) artists.  Over time, there were Cornish artists among their number too, such as Walter Langley (John Opie is probably the most famous Cornish painter, but predates this period and worked largely outside of Cornwall as a portraitist).”

Well, not all of those portraits were entirely unconnected with Cornwall. A new(?) Opie painting was recently discovered and, concerning a Cornish subject, will be exhibited at Falmouth Art Gallery for two years from April 2014, thereby allowing the public free access to it. David Carter has written a short book concerning the discovery and restoration of this important Cornish portrait by Opie. The sitter, about whom little was known, came from Falmouth and led a very interesting life, spanning the 18th and 19th centuries. The blurb for the book describes it thus:

An enigmatic gaze from a young girl in a neglected portrait, obscured by a veil of yellowed varnish, reached out to a dealer in Cornish art when it was spotted in a Midlands saleroom. The artist was John Opie, the 18th century self-taught "Cornish Wonder", who was famously described by Sir Joshua Reynolds as being "like Caravaggio and Velazquez in one". This monograph describes the exciting discovery and careful restoration of a portrait which can now rightfully claim it’s place as a Cornish masterpiece. It reaches into the murky depths of history to shed light on the remarkable life of the sitter, Lydia Gwennap, and takes us from her humble roots in Cornwall to the fashionable environs of London during an age of important social and cultural reform. Lydia was a true daughter of Falmouth, and finally, some 240 years after her birth, her story can be told. . .


Finally, it’s been a while since we’ve run with the image below, or repeated our plea but it does bear repeating.



Amazingly, little more than eighteen months into our existence, Cornish Literature now gets visited daily by people from across the world. We’re lucky to have several people who write freely for the website but they are all busy with other work and cannot give up any more of their precious time than they already do. It has always been the intention of Cornish Literature that it should be community driven – fostering a community of people to promote and debate the written word in Cornwall. This can be done in the comments under each article but we also always welcome new writers of news, feature and review pieces.

If you would like to write for us then please do get in touch via the instructions on the ‘About’ page. In particular, if there is a book that you would like to review for Cornish Literature then please let us know; we’re quite often offered copies of books for review, including the Carter book mentioned above, that we sadly have to decline owing to the constraints of lives and other work.


Q for stories. October 7th at Mylor Theatre, in Truro College, starting at 19:30. With an Arthur Quiller-Couch (Q) theme, recitations of original work and Q’s writing. To quote the HfC page on Q for Stories tickets and info (qv) :


There are four good reasons to know about the ginger-haired, freckle-faced doctor’s son from Polperro, who had a taste for loud check waistcoats and jackets, and became known as ‘Q’. As Chairman of the Cornwall Education Committee (set up as a result of the 1902 Balfour Act) Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch was instrumental in the spread of state secondary education in Cornwall; something we take for granted today. He edited The Oxford Book of English Verse in 1923, and remains its best-known editor to this day. Q encouraged young writers including Daphne Du Maurier and was Professor of English Literature at Cambridge. Most importantly, he was himself a practising writer of verse, essays, short stories and novels, including the well known Troy Town.

20 writers who have come together for Q For Stories are all practising their art and to a greater or lesser extent involved in educating. They also share with Q a strong sense of place. Their combined credits include: Radio Four, Feature Film, The National Theatre, Hampton Court Palace, Kneehigh Theatre, Wildworks, just about every theatre and village hall in Cornwall, folk venues from here to Japan, and numerous publications (books and CDs). Seven of them will be recognisable from Scavel an Gow which toured stories through the length and breadth of Cornwall in the 90s. Six of them are Bards of the Cornish Gorsedh. Seven of them are musicians as well as storytellers. Five of them are writers from The Writing Squad Kernow, a county-wide programme for talented young writers.

They will be sharing not only their own work, but also the work of Charles Lee (believed by Q to be the greatest exponent of the Cornish dialect): Charles Causley; and Q himself. All of them are known widely in Cornwall … never before have they all shared the same stage at the same time!

They are: Anna Murphy, Amanda Harris, Mercedes Kemp, Simon Parker, Stephen Hall,  Paul Farmer; Dew Vardh (Bert Biscoe and Pol Hodge); Boiler House (a cappella group: Rick Williams, Grevis Williams, Stephen Hall, Dave May, and Luke Murray); Pete Berryman (guitarist); Pauline Sheppard; Simon Uren (actor); Will Coleman; and Writing Squad Kernow (5 students from Truro College).

The Hypatia Trust have recently released a version of King Arthur’s Wood exclusively for iPads. King Arthur’s Wood was written and illustrated by renowned Newlyn artist Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes and published 109 years ago, in 1904. Only 350 copies of this beautiful book were ever printed. In recent decades it has been much sought-after by collectors, especially those interested in art and the Newlyn School.

Personally, I think it’s exciting to see this work by the Canadian-born “Queen of Newlyn" made more widely available but, not having the relevant device, I’ve had to decline the publisher’s kind offer of a review copy. If anyone reading this would like to take on that task for Cornish Literature then please let me know so that I can put you in touch.


The Godolphin Arms in Marazion will host a free two day feast of spoken word and music on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th October, called ‘Marazion Ickle Feste’. Ickle Feste has been created by Jak Stringer and writer, poet and Cornish Literature contributor Abigail Wyatt, who have programmed a full creative event which will include something for everyone. Abigail and Jak are proud to have the support of poet and Cornish Bard, Dr. Alan Kent (pictured left), who will be performing on the Friday evening alongside other much loved local poets.

This event will commence daily at 12 noon with an ‘Ickle Bit of Lunch’: a session of poetry and acoustic music. Further sessions include authors talking about their books, children’s sessions, a workshop for people with disabilities, a Cornish film showing, a lit quiz, limerick competition plus bands ‘Goodbye Joel’ and ‘The Man Who loves you’.

Godolphin Arms Manager, Robin Collyns says he is delighted to be hosting the first Marazion Ickle Feste and he hopes that in years to come, this event will include other venues in Marazion. A full programme is available from The Godolphin Arms Marazion or can be found on their website. Cornish Literature would like to wish the organisers the best of luck with the event and hopes that it will be a popular and fun occasion.


Finally, in what threatens to become a tradition of very later reporting here on Cornish Literature, the aDiving Bellesnnual Holyer an Gof awards ceremony took place in the Truro branch of Waterstones, in July.  In arguably the award of most interest to us here at Cornish Literature, Diving Belles, by Lucy Wood, won the adult fiction category ahead of Rainbows in the Spray, by N.R. Phillips, and A Perfectly Good Man, by Patrick Gale.

Welcome beltaneThe poetry prize, meanwhile, went to Briar Wood’s collection Welcome Beltane and the award for best Children’s book was given to The Messenger Bird, by Rosanne Hawke, ahead of Migrants & Pastes by Janeta Hevizi.

Non-Fiction books always dominate the entry lists for the Holyer an Gof and so it’s never a surprise to see a book in that category scoop the overall award. This year it went to Wade-Bridge: Notes on the History of the Fifteenth Century Bridge by Andrew G. Langdon.

    Redruth writer Abi Wyatt has news of a second Murder of Krows Anthology, co-edited by Abi and Duncan Yeates, which is due to be launched in the autumn at The Melting Pot in Redruth. Along with special artwork, poems include offerings by Dr Alan Kent and Les Merton, and other poets in Cornwall. It will be a limited print run ! Copies are sure to be snapped up so get in touch with Abi, perhaps via Poetry24 or by Red River Poets facebook page.poetry24

    Co-edited by Abi, in addition, is the international, news-inspired poetry web site Poetry24, and Abi is keen to encourage submissions from poets based in Cornwall. If you are a poet in Cornwall and would like to contribute, scoot over to Poetry24 and have a look . . . If you don’t yet feel up to contributing (yet), why not scoot over to Poetry24 and have a look anyway at today’s muse on the news.

    Of Abi’s own work, her poem ‘The Long Falling Down‘ is included in a recent anthology of poems ‘Journey to Crone‘. This is one of the five star reviews:

    Excellent and moving poetry. The Poems are original, insightful, well crafted, and distinctly female. The voices resonate long after the reading is complete.

    Ashley and Eileen Ludgate organised a mini-folk music festival at the Bath Inn, Penzance, where Abi performed more of her poems, including the haunting and soon-to-be-anthologised ‘Dozy Mary‘. It’s good that music and poetry are mixing at events in Cornwall.

    Staying in Penzance, a new writer’s group called Writer’s Cafe is set to meet every other Tuesday, at 2pm, in the Lost and Found cafe, Chapel Street, Penzance. The 9th July 2013 is the next meeting, that’s this Tuesday coming !! And from the 17th to the 21st July is this year’s Penzance Literary Festival, with dozens of excellent events – have a look at the website and browse through the schedule – too much good stuff to list here (and much of that is Cornish in composition and/or content – the usual suspects and some interesting others (including music) . . .).
    Passio Cristi page from Scawen
    One of the talks at Pz lit fest is presented by the Penzance Conservation Community Interest Company – in May they took delivery of William Scawen‘s original manuscript of his Antiquities Cornu-Brittanic 1688, and also his Observations on a Cornish Manuscript entitled Passio Christi i.e. the poem Pascon Agan Arluth. Cornwall Record Office also contracted Pz Conservation CIC to restore William Borlase’s 1750 Memorandums of the Cornish Tongue original manuscript. (These historically significant Cornish manuscripts might be held in the proposed Redruth archive centre, which was recently awarded a £386 thousand heritage lottery grant towards the price tag of around £15 million. It would be nice if these manuscripts above were fully digitised for public viewing before too long. Mar plek.)
    Williams Llawnt
    In 1865 Rev Robert Williams of Llawnt Ugha (Lawns Ughella / Upper Lawn) in Wales published Lexicon Cornu-Britannicum, which was perhaps the first modern Cornish dictionary. Now, Cornish cultural writer Derek R Williams has authored Williams: The Llawnt – a biography of the Welsh minister and linguist, published by the excellent Y Lolfa.
    Looking to Cornwall’s east, another publication brought to our attention is Theatreworks, a collection of plays by Charles Causley, edited by Alan Kent and published by Francis Boutle. Included among 11 librettos and other dramatic works are The Doctor and the Devils (inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas), The Ballad of Aucassin and Nicolette, first performed at the Exeter festival in 1978, and The Tinderbox,which Charles Causley wrote for Kneehigh Theatre in 1990. Alan himself drekly will have published his new books Towards a Cornish Philosophy and a book for children, Surf Dogs.

    Sadly for its workers as well as for the future of book production within Cornwall, MPG Books of Bodmin has gone into administration in the last month with the loss of more than 50 jobs.

    Written, and with photographs collected, by motor engineering aficiando Ernie Warmington of Redruth, Cornish Road Transport Through Time, published by Amberley Publishing (Amberley in Sussex being the resting place of ASD Smith/Caradar, by the way) traces its subject from Murdock’s engine, and horse drawn vehicles of various kinds to internal combustion motor vehicles used, and produced in Cornwall.
    Road transport Cornwall

    sniveslitfestThe St Ives Literature Festival 2013 is running from Saturday 11th – Saturday 18th May. (NB That’s this coming Saturday folks ! :-)) A host of events are to be held at St Ives Arts Club, St Ives Library and Café Art. Books by festival authors are for sale from Harbour Bookshop.

    • Book Launches, Readings and Workshops.
    • Poetry And Music In The Square – daily in Norway Square.
    • Free Speech – Open Floor – daily at Café Art.
    • The Big Frug

      • On Friday 17th May. Local duo Tir ha Tavas, Delia and Dave Brotherton, have teamed up with guests Vaughan Bennett, Peter Burton, former Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd Mick Paynter and fluent Welsh speaker Gareth Parry for an evening of words and music starring the Cornish language, Kernewek, with a tasty serving of Welsh alongside.

        “We will be presenting our personal selection of prose, poetry and song in the old Celtic tongue,” said Delia, “a language almost lost in the mists of time yet one that lives on in the daily life of West Penwith and beyond.”

        Featuring many original compositions, this special evening will be held at the St Ives Arts Club starting at 9pm and marks the first of several events over the coming months to raise the profile of the Cornish language in a performance.

        “The Celtic language of Cornwall is once more being embraced as a symbol of her historic past,” added Delia, “reviving from ancient roots, while ever changing in the hands of the next generation who cherish the old culture and nourish the new.”

        Tickets £6.50, or 5 for £30, are on sale now from Café Art in St Ives, tel 01736 799450, or from the St Ives LitFest organiser on 753899 or from Dee on 799305. There is a full programme with more information on the St Ives Literature Festival website

        John Phillips was born in St Ives. His poems pose questions about how we perceive the world through language and the senses, deftly weaving together details of the external world with reflections on the thought processes and on the nature of words. At the St Ives Arts club at 15:00 on the opening day of the festival, Saturday, the 11th May, he will be reading poetry from his work so far.

        His publications include Language Is (Sardines Press, San Francisco, 2005) and What Shape Sound (Skysill Press, Nottingham, 2011). He work has appeared and been reviewed in a variety of magazines in this country, the U.S., Australia, Austria, Japan and Israel; it can also be found in the following anthologies: From Hepworth’s Garden Out (Shearsman Books, Exeter, 2010), Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2013), and Succint (Broadstone Books, Frankfort, Kentucky, 2013). He runs Hassle Press, which has published a range of poets.

        Tickets £ 5.00 from Cafe Arts, tel 01736 799450, at the door or ring Jasna Phillips on 07969727040.

    Call for submissions for Murder of Krows 2

    Posted: April 15, 2013 by lallocropia in news, poetry

    Duncan Yeates and Abigail Wyatt are inviting poets and artists to contribute to our next Murder of Krows* anthology.

    The submission guidelines are as follows:

    1)    All contributors should be resident in Cornwall.

    2)    Poetry of a serious nature is looked on more favourably than comic or light-hearted verse.

    3)    Please do not submit any more than two poems although there is no limit on length.

    4)    All submissions should be e-mailed to either or Please submit poems as .doc or .pdf attachments where possible.

    5)   Artwork can be any style or theme. All work should be black and white and scalable to A5 size. Please submit work as JPEGs.

    6)    The closing date for all submissions is 1st June 2013.

    *Murder of Krows is an anthology of poetry by published and previously unpublished Cornish poets. The first volume was launched at the Melting Pot Café at Redruth in March 2013 and proved to be a great success, selling out its print run and attracting guest readings from Dr Alan M Kent and Les Merton. If you would like to get a feel for the content and style of the first anthology, a PDF of it is available by e-mailing There are also a very limited number of copies left at the price of £2.00 inc. P+P – again please e-mail if you wish to purchase one.

    There will also be opportunity for all contributors tor read at the anthology’s launch night at The Melting Pot Café.

    book cover image enlarged

    Following the “Call for Submissions” post in the Cornish Lit blog last year, Duncan Yeates and Abigail Wyatt are delighted to announce the launch of their poetry anthology, “Murder of Krows” on 20th March at 7:00 pm at The Melting Pot, Redruth.

    Featuring guest readings from the prolific and talented Alan M. Kent alongside Les Merton, the editor of “Poetry Cornwall”, this promises to be both an exciting and significant occasion to make space for in your diary.  The anthology itself is a selection of local poets from the Redruth area and beyond and gives an insight into the sheer diversity of work being produced in the small community of people who often convene to perform their work at The Melting Pot’s late opening Wednesday nights. In addition to this are other previously published and well respected poets such as John Phillips, and visual artists who work with language such as Janet McEwan, ensuring that this is a collection of work that really does showcase what Cornwall has to offer.

    The night itself will include a free buffet and drinks for all who attend and a chance to buy a copy of this numbered and strictly limited anthology at the sum of £1.00.  If you are interested in purchasing an advance copy, please contact Duncan Yeates at

    Please come and support Cornwall’s burgeoning creative writing scene. We intend that this anthology will be the first of many to promote Cornwall’s many published and unpublished writers.

    book cover image enlarged