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National Poetry Day 2021 – Vicky Foster’s The Constant Parade

Hull’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and Humber Mouth Literature Festival have partnered with Wrecking Ball Press to commission Whitefriargate’s poet-in-residence for 2021, Vicky Foster.

Drawing on the street’s rich history and its long-standing role in the story of the city and the people who live and work on Whitefriargate, Vicky has written ‘The Constant Parade’.

Launching on National Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October, this short film of Vicky reading the poem, made by Wrecking Ball Press, will be seen on the big screen in Trinity Market Food Hall.

The poem will also be stencilled on the pavement at six locations along Whitefriargate.

The project has been funded by Historic England as part of Hull’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and forms part of the Community Engagement Plan.

Vicky Foster is an award-winning writer, performer and poet who has broadcast extensively across the BBC. She has published two collections of writing and is currently working on her first novel whilst studying for a PhD in English and Creative Writing. She won The Society of Authors’ Imison Award at the 2020 BBC Audio Drama Awards for her Radio 4 play ‘Bathwater’, and last year her Radio 4 documentary, ‘Can I Talk About Heroes?’ was reviewed in the national media. She has written poetry for radio, podcast and TV, delivered writing projects and creative writing workshops for all kinds of organisations, and performed at festivals and events across the North. She is a writer-in-residence for First Story, working with schools to help young people write their own stories.

Find out more 

Wrecking Ball Press: 

https://wreckingballpress.com

https://twitter.com/wbphull

https://www.facebook.com/wreckingballpress/

Humber Mouth: 

http://humbermouth.com/vickyfoster/

https://twitter.com/humbermouth

https://www.facebook.com/humbermouthliteraturefestival

Historic England: 

https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets/

Poet Interview: Carla Mellor

Carla MellorCarla Mellor’s debut poetry collection Scraps will be published in October by Wrecking Ball Press.
 
Naturally, we love Scraps – but don’t just take our word for it. 
 
“Carla reminds us to love our rough edges and embrace the imperfect. A candid and crucial first collection from a bright new voice.” Toria Garbutt
 
“Common but not commonplace, lyrical and luminescent. If you like early Armitage, karaoke, Cooper Clarke, cans of Carling, Garry and Garbutt, and growing up working class, you’ll love this book of bitter-sweet poetry from an up-and-coming Northern star.” Louise Fazackerley
 
“Microscopic reflections. Half answered questions, half answered.”Mike Garry
  
We caught up with Carla to find out more about her work, writing in dialect and her route into poetry. She also described independent publishers as “normal”, which is the nicest thing anyone has ever said about us. 
 
How would you describe this collection?
 
Nostalgic would be the main word that springs to mind. Although it’s not entirely autobiographical it is heavily influenced by my childhood and teen years spent between Sowerby Bridge, a small Yorkshire mill town, and Withernsea, a rural Yorkshire coastal town.
 
When did you start writing these poems in the collection and how long did this body of work take to complete?
 
I started writing poetry back in 2018, so it’s been building up nicely since then. I’d say 2020 was my most productive year in terms of producing poetry.
 
Tell us about the cover design and the collection’s title?
 
I really wanted to call it Broken Biscuits to be honest, but there seemed to be a fair few books out there with the same title. In the end I felt like scraps paid homage to the seaside town where I landed my first job, at a chip shop – but also summarised my poetry as they’re all just small scraps of writing really – nothing too long.
 
What is the importance of place to you as a poet?
 
All I ever wanted to do was write, but I struggled finishing anything longer than a poem. I put my poor concentration down to lack of ambition and focus but was recently diagnosed with ADHD. That diagnosis helped me to stop beating myself up and to embrace what I (seemed to) have a natural talent for – short, succinct poems.
 
You write in a northern dialect. Tell us more about the reasons why?
 
I just want the reader to hear the poem as it would be performed as spoken word. I remember reading the Colour Purple about a decade ago and the thing I loved the most about it was how it was written how the protagonist spoke.
 
Why these poems, now?
 
Why not? I think poetry is becoming more accessible to people and I hope I can contribute to that. I remember the feeling of dread pulling out my GCSE anthology in English and knowing I wouldn’t be able to understand half of it. Obviously there were other people in the class who could, and who probably enjoyed it, and that’s great. But i think there needs to be an alternative option too.
 
Who do you consider the audience for your poetry to be?
 
People who don’t like poetry. People who do like poetry. Anyone and everyone really.
 
What experience do you want readers of your collection to have?
 
Just to enjoy it, maybe even think “if she can do it anyone can” and have a go themselves.
 
Poetry on the page, or on the stage?
 
Ah it depends on the poem, there’s some stuff in scraps I wouldn’t perform and others that I would.
 
Can you tell us something about your journey into creative writing?
 
It was always something I’d dabbled with and never really picked up fully. I think confidence and self belief come with age, and having the right people around you. My fiance Tash has always pushed me with my poetry and I’m really grateful for that.
 
Could you tell us something about your creative process? 
 
Nothing about me is disciplined or organised, unfortunately! I tend to get a thought or a feeling and just go with it, get as much down as possible and then edit it or add to it later.
 
How do you feel as your debut collection is about to be published?
 
It’s absolutely unreal. When I was a kid, about 6, I remember saying to myself “when I grow up i’m going to write a book”. And it’s never left me really, it’s always been the one thing i’ve wanted to do with my life, and to achieve it is the best feeling ever.
 
Who are the poets that you admire, and why?
 
There’s a few – Toria Garbutt, Louise Fazackerley, Mike Garry, Matt Abbott, and of course John Cooper Clarke. I think they all just own their truth and speak it. It’s accessible and relatable.
 
What would you say to someone who was keen to express themselves through poetry?
 
Just go for it!
 
Do you have any plans to perform the works from this collection in public?
 
Yes, absolutely. I live in Wigan so i’ll be popping up at numerous places across the North West in the coming months but also hoping to travel further afield too.
 
Do you have any thoughts about your experience of independent publishers?
 
It’s really warming how nice everyone has been, and how normal too!
 
Scraps can be ordered from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/scraps

National Poetry Day 2021: A poem for Whitefriargate

Vicky Foster

Hull’s Whitefriargate is the inspiration for a new poem that will be unveiled on the historic street on National Poetry Day on Thursday (7 October).

Vicky Foster, Whitefriargate’s poet-in-residence for 2021, has written a new poem, drawing on the street’s rich history and its long-standing role in the story of the city and the people who live and work there.

Hull’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) partnered with Humber Mouth literature festival and Wrecking Ball Press to commission the poem.

Vicky said: “It was important to me to write a poem that captured a sense of both the history of the street and the spirit of the people who’ve built that history. But also, that the poem ended with the idea of possibility and thinking about what might come next, because history and identity are constantly changing and we get to make choices about what happens next and how we take care of our places.”

The poem will be stencilled on the pavement at 6 locations along Whitefriargate for National Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October.

Two short films made by Wrecking Ball Press will also be released for National Poetry Day – one of Vicky reading the poem (which will be available to watch in Trinity Market) and one of her talking about the inspiration behind her poem. Both films can be found online via the Humber Mouth website after 7 October.

Councillor Rosemary Pantelakis, portfolio holder for culture at Hull City Council, said: “Whitefriargate is a key part of our heritage. The historic street is one of the most recognisable and much-loved places in our city, so it’s fantastic to see projects like this unearthing stories and celebrating its rich history.”

Whitefriargate has been at the heart of the historical, cultural and contemporary life of Hull’s people. Whether this relates to the city refusing entry to Charles I in 1642, its part in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Wilberforce’s role in the abolition of slavery, or the various fashion trends and pop cultures of the swinging sixties, punk rock or house music eras.

Chris Collett, Public Engagement Manager for Historic England in Yorkshire, said: “Whitefriargate has a rich heritage, which has provided a great source of inspiration for Vicky’s poem. We are really pleased to be funding this project through the High Street Heritage Action Zone and look forward to experiencing this new tribute to the historic street.”

The project has been funded by Historic England as part of Hull’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) and delivered in partnership with Humber Mouth literature festival and Wrecking Ball Press and forms part of the Community Engagement Plan.

Whitefriargate has benefitted from £1m from the Humber LEP’s Humber High Street Challenge Fund and secured £1.75m from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

Hull City Council has also been awarded a £100,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Whitefriargate High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.

OUT TODAY: John Newsham's Killing The Horses

OUT TODAY: John Newsham’s Killing The Horses

John Newsham’s novel Killing The Horses is published today (August 10) by Wrecking Ball Press.

In the woods the earth made myths. Angry myths. Savage myths. Myths that could kill…

Set on the outskirts of Bradford over the course of a single day, Killing The Horses follows Ryan and Liam, teenagers skiving off school in the woods at the edge of the city. But the woods hold secrets. Dark secrets. And the landscape aches with the violence of all that has been done there.

There is blood on the ground and a sickness in the earth. As the memory of what has happened there climbs back out of the hillside, the boys learn that they are too entangled in the savagery of the land around them to be able to separate themselves from it.

Killing The Horses is rooted in the landscape and dialect of West Yorkshire and fuses realism with the mythical. It brings the macabre and darkly-religious world of the American Southern Gothic to the north of England.

The short story version of Killing The Horses was longlisted in the 2018 Manchester Fiction Prize run by Carol-Ann Duffy.

John Newsham’s other writing credits include fiction publication in the Fortnightly Review, winning a Dorothy Rosenberg Prize for ‘young poets of unusual promise’ from the University of Berkeley, and the Grist first-place prize for poetry describing place, from the University of Huddersfield. He has performed at numerous literary festivals around Yorkshire including the Ted Hughes Festival, the York Takeover Festival, the Leeds Lit Festival and the Bradford Literature Festival. John is also a teacher of A-Level English Literature and Language.

Killing The Horses can be purchased directly from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/killing-the-horses/

To request review copies or for further information email editor@wreckingballpress.com

PRESS RELEASE: Talitha Wing's debut collection out now

PRESS RELEASE: Talitha Wing’s debut collection out now

Title: The Things I Learnt And The Things I Still Don’t Know About

Pages : 124

Cover : Paperback

Language : English

Publisher : Wrecking Ball Press

ISBN : 978-1903110836

Released : 26.07.2021

Talitha Wing‘s debut poetry collection The Things I Learnt And The Things I Still Don’t Know About has been published by Wrecking Ball Press. 

This debut poetry collection from writer and thrilling live performer of spoken word and poetry Talitha Wing will propel Talitha to prominence in the world of poetry and spoken word. The honest, raw and intimate nature of the poetry in this debut will make a positive impact on your life.

Within the pages of The Things I Learnt and the Things I Still Don’t Know About, Talitha presents a collection of work that provides a voice for those who, like her, refuse to be categorised and labelled. Talitha explores the ambiguities of the journey into adulthood, self-acceptance and what it means to be ‘other’ in a manner that will resonate with readers. 

Talitha is an actor, writer and poet, based in London and Vienna. Talitha’s debut play Socks was commissioned by Paines Plough for the nationwide Come To Where I’m From program in 2019. Talitha’s next play will be She Calls Me Crazy, currently in development with TBA Productions. 

Poets can spend years finding their voice but Talitha writes with the same level of self-assurance, passion and determination that are evident in her spoken word performances. We should all be thankful that she’s picked up her weapon of choice in order to get these poems onto the page and is now ready to share them with the world. The Things I Learnt and the Things I Still I Don’t Know About is as vital and exhilarating as poetry gets. 

Talitha said: “To me this collection is a journey into adulthood, a raw and real look at discovering ones identity, and all the experiences, thoughts and feelings that come along with that, both extremely exciting, utterly confusing and often a mountain sized challenge. From the first time using a tampon, to heartbreak, dealing with mental health and everything in between.

”I want readers to be able to get lost in the words, the world and the story of the collection. I hope it is accessible and easy to digest – I love that poetry doesn’t have to be elitist, fancy and traditional (I love poetry like that too sometimes) but my style is hopefully quite down to earth! I want them to feel how I feel when I listen to a Beyoncé album.

“I’d say that this collection is mostly for young people, young adults and adolescents – but also for anyone who has felt different, unseen, or unheard. It is a love letter to young women.”
 

The Things I Learnt and the Things I Still I Don’t Know About can be purchased directly from Wrecking Ball Press at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/the-things-i-learnt-and-the-things-i-still-dont-know-about/

To request review copies or for further information email editor@wreckingballpress.com

Our arts venue receives £100,000 grant

Our arts venue receives £100,000 grant

Wrecking Ball Music & Books, on Whitefriargate, has received a £100,000 grant from the Humber LEP’s Humber High Street Challenge Fund.

The store, which moved from Princes Quay to Whitefriargate last year, is the latest business to receive funding as part of Hull City Council’s Whitefriargate regeneration project.

Wrecking Ball opened its retail offer in November and has plans to open its arts venue and café later this year.

Owner Shane Rhodes said: “We are excited by the council’s plans for Whitefriargate. When we opened before Christmas we had a fantastic response from the public and it was clear that there is a demand for this sort of retail offer in the area.

“When we open the arts venue and café we will be able to draw even more people to the area and contribute to the fantastic regeneration happening on the historic street.

“Customers still like and want social contact. The high street gives people the opportunity to browse and time to choose their purchases – it is not just about acquiring something.

“The independent sector can offer something different and can respond to local needs. Our offer will be diverse with retail and hospitality downstairs and an arts venue upstairs. We see this as an opportunity to innovate and be creative with a fantastic space in an historic area of the city.”

The Whitefriargate regeneration project includes a number of grant schemes and funding projects.

Whitefriargate has benefitted from £1m from the Humber LEP’s Humber High Street Challenge Fund and secured £1.75m from Historic England’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme.

Funding can be used to undertake building and conversion projects that animate high streets, diversify the traditional high street offer and bring unused floor space back into use.

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone programme can also fund lighting and interpretation improvements.

Councillor Daren Hale, portfolio holder for economic investment and regeneration at Hull City Council, said: “Momentum is really starting to gather now on Whitefriargate and it is fantastic to see so many exciting and diverse businesses and projects receiving funding.

“The council has made the regeneration of this vital thoroughfare a key part of our plans for the city centre. We have secured millions of pounds of funding already from Historic England and the Humber LEP, and will continue to support and invest in the historic street and our fantastic Old Town.”

Contains Strong Language 2020

BBC Contains Strong Language

Wrecking Ball Press is delighted to partner with the BBC once again on BBC Contains Strong Language.

The partnership has seen three previous Contains Strong Language festivals delivered in Hull, from 2017-2019. For 2020, the UK’s largest festival of poetry and spoken word has relocated to Cumbria.

The festival takes place from September 25-27 at multiple locations that include Wordsworth Grasmere, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness. Live coverage of the festival will see events on BBC Arts BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 with additional programmes on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.

To find out more about Contains Strong Language 2020, view the brochure below and visit bbc.co.uk/containsstronglanguage, where you can also view highlights from previous festivals.

Wrecking Ball Press Book Club

Poetry and prose from Wrecking Ball to you.

Imagine a Wrecking Ball Press title delivered to your door every single month. That’s what the Wrecking Ball Press Book Club is all about.

Here’s how it works – for just £80 we will send you a book on the same day every month for a year. The first book you will receive is your choice* – simply go through our back catalogue and pick the book you want.

After that we’ll select books for you from literary legends such as Ben Myers, Dan Fante, Roddy Lumsden, Geoff Hattersley, Niall Griffiths and exciting voices like Shirley May, Toria Garbutt, celeste doaks, Vicky Foster, Isaiah Hull, Barney Farmer, Dean Wilson, Andy Fletcher and Peter Knaggs.

So what are you waiting for? Join the Wrecking Ball Press Book Club, include all your contact details and, in the order notes, your choice of first book and we will add you to our lovely list of literature lovers who will be getting a year’s worth of words, one month at a time.

The £80 cost is fully inclusive of postage and packing, so the Wrecking Ball Press Book Club is great value for lovers of poetry and fiction.

So what are you waiting for? Head here to sign up:

https://wreckingballpress.com/product/wrecking-ball-press-book-club/

*excludes The City Speaks.

Vicky Foster: BBC Audio Drama Awards 2020 winner

Wrecking Ball Press writer Vicky Foster has won The Imison Award at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2020.

Vicky won the award, which celebrates the best in new writing for the medium of audio drama, for her radio play Bathwater. Bathwater was produced by Susan Roberts and first aired on Radio 4 in 2019. The award is presented annually to an audio drama script by a writer new to the medium and which, in the opinion of the judges, is the best of those submitted.

Vicky Foster appearance on The Verb at BBC Contains Strong LanguageThe prize was established in 1994 in memory of Richard Imison, a BBC script editor and producer. Previous winners include Adam Usden, Mike Bartlett, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Murray Gold and Nell Leyshon.

The BBC Audio Drama Awards – presented by the BBC together with the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain – celebrate the range, originality and cut-through quality of audio drama on air and online and give recognition to creatives working in this genre.

Vicky was announced as The Imison Award winner at a ceremony in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House London, hosted by Meera Syal, on Sunday 2 February 2020.

The list of finalists for the various categories of the awards included Stephen Dillane, Rebecca Front and Alexei Sayle.

Vicky was shortlisted for The Imison Award alongside Testament (for The Beatboxer) and Colette Victor (for By God’s Mercy). Bathwater is Vicky’s first full-length play, and is performed by herself and Finlay McGuigan with a sound score by The Broken Orchestra.

Vicky was one of the BBC’s selected poets for Contains Strong Language in 2017 and 2018. She continued her involvement with the festival, co-directed by Wrecking Ball Press, in 2019, with Fair Winds & Following Seas, jointly commissioned by CSL and Freedom Festival, and featuring on Radio 3’s The Verb with musical collaborators The Broken Orchestra.

You can find out more about award-winning Vicky at https://vickyfoster.co.uk/

Bathwater is published by Wrecking Ball Press and can be purchased at https://wreckingballpress.com/product/bathwater/

Press Release: New collection from poet Dean Wilson – Take Me Up The Lighthouse

Dean Wilson’s new collection Take Me Up The Lighthouse will be published by Wrecking Ball Press on January 31, 2020.

Take Me Up The Lighthouse follows previous Wrecking Ball publications of Wilson’s work Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe on the Streets and the limited edition WITH. Wilson, whose humble brag is that he is the fourth best poet in Hull and the second best poet in Withernsea, is back with more of his trademark revelatory and brutally honest poems set against the backdrop of the Holderness towns and villages he frequents.

Take Me Up The LighthouseThis new collection takes the reader on emotional journeys via bus, covers encounters on benches and trains and entertaining postmen, while celibacy, sex and the search for romance are juxtaposed with orange curtains, omelettes and Cheerios.  Throughout, Wilson combines humour with heart-tugging pathos.

Having stepped out of the shadows during 2017 City of Culture year by making a host of live appearances and becoming a regular radio contributor, Wilson’s growing audience have been clamouring for more published work that builds on his existing output. 

Dean said: “I’m happy and anxious about the publication of Take Me Up The Lighthouse. I’m hoping that readers will enjoy the fun and the rhymes about my East Riding adventures.

“My life is all there in my work, warts and all. I don’t decide what to write about and what to leave out. I’m writing in my head all the time whether I’m walking on the beach, dusting, shopping, swimming or watching Corrie. Rhymes never leave me alone.”

Dean’s pain will bring readers pleasure. This new collection will also allow Dean to return to the stage with new work to perform, something he is surprisingly nervous about.

He said: “I love performing and making people laugh. It’s the best feeling I know. I don’t like the build up – the rehearsing and the doubts and the nerves, but it’s all worth it.”

Dean might be viewed as a Hull and East Riding treasure but his live performances beyond the region have proved beyond doubt that his work goes down well anywhere he reads and performs. His many local references and the concrete details that litter his poems about his east coast existence ground his work in a specific place but also allow his work to travel. His local take on life brings into sharp focus feelings and emotions of universal appeal. As he navigates his life, and what it means, readers realise they share common ground with the poet, even in his wildest, untamed and passionate moments.

As for Withernsea, where Dean is based, it seems the perfect place for this former postman to be located.

“I moved here a year ago. It’s a magical and wondrous place. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Wrecking Ball Press editor Shane Rhodes said: “Dean’s a one-off, a totally unique man and it’s good to see his reputation continuing to grow. I originally published his work in The Reater, at the beginning of the Wrecking Ball story, and we’re proud to continue to publish his work.”

Dean will be announcing a series of gigs in 2020. Follow him on twitter at @PoetDeanwilson6 for updates.

For more information and to purchase Take Me Up The Lighthouse visit www.wreckingballpress.com