Thursday, 27 March 2014

Danielle Clarke reviews Words And Women: One

Words and Women: One, 2014, was published by Unthank Cameo, and has been edited by Lynne Bryan and Belona Greenwood. This anthology arises from the work of Words And Women, an organisation which started as a small reading event in Norwich, Norfolk, to celebrate International Women's Day in 2011. This event was so much fun and had such a great reception, that it was obvious that it was not going to be a one-off! Now Words And Women continues to celebrate International Women's Day, but also offers women writers in the East of England opportunities to present their work and talk about their writing, using their energy and resources to provide a platform for all those voices which it feels need to be heard. This anthology features the work of 21 writers who entered Words And Women's first writing competition which was launched in July 2013. It was for prose work - either fiction, memoir or creative non-fiction under 3000 words in length. It features writers from a huge range of backgrounds, ages and education.

This book certainly creates a new league of expectations for women writers. The diversity which is shown within the content of each individual story is extraordinary. Wellfleet by Lily Meyer, at the beginning of the book, gives you a dramatic shock challenging everything you were expecting.  It shows confidence, in its greatest form, challenging the norms. The surprisingly open and very funny friendship between Della and Rosie was definitely one of my favourite aspects. It was written beautifully, and was unbelievably liberating, with the underlying message about relationships being truly uplifting. This story is an exceptional beginning to an exceptional book, as it creates the perfect atmosphere in your mind representing how influential women can be when being supported and letting their imagination and creativity go wild!

The story of Len's Whole Life by Alice Kent is a prime example of the differences shown within the writing. All of the work is so invigorating and enlightening.  It grabs your heart strings straight away, and leaves you wishing there was more, and you can count on never getting  tired of reading, as one story full of girl power ends, the story of a lonely man with mental health issues pulls at your emotions, begins.

By no means is Words And Women limited to women only. The writing is done to such an immaculate standard, that anyone, male or female, will be captured by the visual beauty created. There is a story for everyone. I cannot emphasise enough how the variety is so refreshing, you can lose yourself so easily in these wonderful pieces of writing, and feel as if you're there in the room watching the storylines unfold, as in My Sister's Haircut, the wonderful winning piece of writing by Dani Redd, you can literally feel your heartbeat increasing as the intensity grows.

Overall, I would highly suggest to anyone who enjoys reading, has a love for writing, or even those who just want something to occupy themselves with on the train, to purchase this book. I believe that everyone has the ability to relate to a lot of what is written about, from relationship mishaps to the inconceivable situation of a missing child. In conclusion, the writing may be short in length, but the storylines are ones which will stay with you for a lot longer.

Click here for a link to Unthank Cameo.

Danielle Clarke was born in Norwich and lives in the rural village of Bacton, but has spent time in London and Amsterdam. She attends Paston Sixth Form College in Norfolk where she has studied Law, Media Studies, Psychology and Business Studies at A level. She is now in her final year, continuing Psychology, Media and Law. Danielle secured a place in the British Film Institute (BFI) Film Academy for young people, where she was able to work with professionals as well as share her passion of media with other young people.  The project produced a short documentary film called 'Apocalypse Now?'  She has written for student newspapers, and is always looking for new ways to develop, challenge and express her creativity. She has a strong passion for writing and journalism and has offers from universities in London where she hopes to study journalism.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Listen to Words And Women on General Norwich!

The lovely Madeleine Hickish, producer of General Norwich, spent some time recently interviewing W&W organisers Lynne Bryan and Belona Greenwood about Words And Women. She has made a wonderful podcast of the interview which reveals everything about our work  and more. The more includes a reading by Deborah Arnander who features in our anthology Words And Women One. Deborah reads an extract from her anthology story Lion Bastard. Also the podcast ends with music by the stylish and eccentric duo Let’s Eat Grandma playing Sax In The City, a song which they unleashed on our audience at our IWD event on the 8th March.

You can listen to the interview at or by subscribing to iTunes.

The General Norwich Podcast is a not-for-profit project funded by an Ultd. Social Enterprise grant. The aim of the 12-part series is to celebrate those individuals and organisations who contribute creatively and innovatively to our community. The podcast has covered loads of brilliant people, places and goings-on in the city of Norwich, Norfolk, England, in addition to Words And Women, such as Thalia Theatre Company, Print to the People, The Big Issue, and FoodCycle Norwich. Madeleine would love to hear from you if you, or someone you know, is doing something exciting in the community, and would like to be interviewed too! You can email her at

Madeleine Hickish is a 2nd year English Literature undergraduate at the UEA. She’s travelled from St. Petersburg to Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian railway, and spent 6 months chalet-hosting in the French alps, but has only just set out on the career-finding adventure of being a student. Aside from eating toast, drinking tea and avoiding coursework, Madeleine produces and hosts her own show on UEA’s student radio station, ‘Madeleine’s Tea Party’ features an eclectic mix of pre-1950’s music, cryptic crossword challenges and vintage social guidance advice, and airs on Sunday evenings at 7.30pm. She can be found on Twitter @maddiehickish, and found in real life wandering the Norwich lanes/at the gym/washing up at Franks Bar. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Project U features Words And Women

Project U, organized by Unthank Books, will feature writers from Words And Women’s first anthology of prose writing. The event will take place this Thursday 20th March at The Garden House, 1 Pembroke Road, Norwich. It starts at 8pm, and is free to attend! Copies of the anthology will be on sale.

The writers reading their work will be Deborah Arnander, Judith Omasete, Beth Settle, Kim Sherwood and Rowan Whiteside.

Deborah Arnander wrote a brilliant review of our IWD event which is posted below.

Bethany Settle has an MA in Creative Writing: Prose from the University of East Anglia. She remained in Norwich, where she works at a library. Reading, writing and nature are her top three best things. She is writer-in-residence at the Rumsey Wells pub in Norwich, and is currently writing a novel that explores grief and loss. Her story Pendulum is  published in the anthology.

Judith Omasete is originally from Kenya, where she worked with International Non Governmental Organizations, dealing with agricultural development, healthcare, education, child welfare, micro enterprises, tourism, conservation and land tenure. Now Judith lives in Norfolk with her family and has worked as a high school teaching assistant for 4 years. She has run workshops in schools for Norfolk Education Action for Development (NEAD) and is currently pursuing further education. Her piece of creative non-fiction called My Dog Is Boss features in the anthology.

Kim Sherwood tours with literary salons Elbow Room and The Book Club Boutique, and has published short stories and poetry. She completed the BA in Literature with Creative Writing at UEA in 2011, receiving the Jarrold Prize for most outstanding performance. She continued on to the Prose Fiction MA, and is now a fellowship student on the Creative and Critical Writing PhD. Kim writes in Norwich, London, Devon, and the quiet coach. She’s writing her first novel.  Her short story Quick Brown Fox features in the anthology.

Rowan Whiteside was born in Durban, South Africa but has spent most of her life in the fine city of Norwich. She works as Marketing Assistant for Writers’ Centre Norwich and as a bookseller for Waterstones, where she was formerly the manager of the fiction department. Rowan studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, where she snuck onto as many creative writing classes as possible and read a lot of books from the Classics section. Her writing has been published online on various sites and ‘zines. She can be found on Twitter @DilysTolfree. Her story Persephone  is included in the anthology. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A review of our IWD event by Deborah Arnander

Lois Williams
Lily Meyer

On Saturday 8th March Lynne Bryan and Belona Greenwood held their fourth annual event for International Women’s Day, combining it with the launch of their inaugural anthology.  It was jam-packed, standing room only, attended by men, women and children of all ages: including what appeared to be a couple of punters near me at the back who didn’t get it together to leave the bar in time and couldn’t push their way to the door.   Still, after the initial bemusement they looked like they were rather enjoying themselves.  As well they might: Belona and Lynne put on a great show.  The Words and Women organization is a fantastic resource.  You don’t just need a room of your own if you’re a woman writer.   You also need somewhere to read your work and have it heard by a receptive audience, and that’s what you get at these events.   It’s also liberating, as an audience member, to hear women read aloud funny, outrageous, honest, moving material that they might hesitate to expose in other contexts.   There’s no call here for the dreaded apologetic demeanour that leads to accusations of women holding themselves back.   And although the atmosphere on Saturday felt supportive, Words and Women is not about blanket endorsement of women’s efforts.   The five women who read were winners of the Words and Women writing competition: first prize-winner Dani Redd, fellow short-story writers Lily Meyer and Kim Sherwood; memoirists Anni Domingo and Lois Williams.  The whole big stack of anthologies sold out  – that’s how good the readings were.  I’m told you can get one on Amazon, or via Unthank Books, or by pestering the nice people at Waterstones.  

Let's Eat Grandma!

The other great thing about Words and Women is that it’s not just about the words.  At most literary events, the audience is expected to sit quietly and listen to writers reading at what can feel like interminable length.  After a while, no matter how spell-binding the story-teller, your bum starts to hurt and you wonder what to have for tea.  Saturday’s event included a very beautiful, meditative, multi-layered short film about women’s writing space, mental and physical, and two barnstorming performances by women musicians:  Karen Reilly, who seemed to just open her mouth and fill the whole room with the power and joy of her voice, from a whisper to a growl, acapella and off-mic, with three songs she composed with her band the Neutrinos (including one about Amanda Knox); and fifteen-year-old duo Let’s Eat Grandma, stars of the future, who I might describe as Lily Allen meets the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, only completely original, and also very cool, despite a dramatic rescue by Belona Greenwood when one of them got locked in the toilet just before they were due to go on.  That’s the kind of event it was: fun, inspiring, with plenty of room for the unexpected.  Previous events have included top-quality art, stand-up comedy, theatre, and a bonkers book raffle.  If you haven’t been already, get along next year – but turn up early, or you might not get in at all.

Deborah Arnander was born in Northumberland and spent her childhood in Thailand.  She has worked as an academic, translator and speech-writer.  She won an Escalator New Writing Award in 2009 from the Writers’ Centre Norwich, and is currently working on her first novel, about a GI baby, set in wartime Norfolk and 90s California. She has a short story in Unthank Books’ first Unthology and Words And Women: One, and has published poems on the webzine Ink, Sweat and Tears, and in the anthologies Not Expecting Fish, Gatehouse Press, and Voicing Visions, (Norwich Twenty Group Spring Exhibition 2009). 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Many thanks!

Dani Redd
Many thanks to everybody who came to our International Women's Day event. We had a magnificent time. It was so crowded we were turning people away at the door! Here are a few photos from the event. There will be more posts over time as we recover our energies. But thank you for the support - it means a lot.  
Anni Domingo
Karen Reilly of The Neutrinos

Friday, 7 March 2014

Celebrate International Women’s Day!

Let's Eat Grandma

Come to The Lounge, 13 St Benedicts Street, Norwich tomorrow, 4 – 6pm, for the launch of Words And Women One, our first anthology, and Space, our first short film. Hear readings by anthology writers Anni Domingo, Lily Meyer, Dani Redd, Kim Sherwood and Lois Williams. Watch Space,  directed by Jean Hogg. And listen to music by Karen Reilly of The Neutrinos, and Let’s Eat Grandma!

Let’s Eat Grandma are a late addition to the bill. A duo - Jenny Hollingsworth and Rosa Walton, two mad 15 year old music enthusiasts who met aged 4 while crayoning "abstract" pictures in a reception classroom. Aged 13, Rosa got a guitar for her birthday and Jenny strummed along on an out of tune ukulele. Since then their musical instrument collection has expanded so far that transporting it to gigs is becoming an increasingly prominent problem.

There will be a pay bar, and an opportunity to buy copies of our anthology at the special price of £10. The event is free and everybody – men, women and children – are welcome. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Karen Reilly of The Neutrinos to perform at Words And Women anthology launch !

The wonderful Karen Reilly will be singing at our International Women’s Day event this Saturday, 8th March, at The Lounge, St Benedicts Street, Norwich, 4 – 6pm. Karen is a member of The Neutrinos, a blues-art-punk band, touring and inventing since the turn of the century. The band is currently working on its show KlangHaus, for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to be performed at Summerhall 1-25th August 2014.
A preview of material will be shared at KlangHaus Midnight Feast on May 10th at Norwich Arts Centre 10.30pm.

In Toronto, Karen was hailed as a saviour to women in rock: ‘What Courtney Love should have done... She'll blow your ears out and scare the hell out of you.’ Torontowide Magazine

The Neutrinos:

'Throbbing art-punk noise and sexy urgent energy’ - Time Out,  New York

‘A Neutrinos show will leave you dazed, shocked, maybe scared, but certainly thrilled’ - World of Gigs, USA

'Manipulative leaders, mentors, lovers and losers populate the Neutrinos world of song' - Village Voice, NYC