Kakania is a series of events, commissions and publications curated to address the world of Habsburg Vienna. Supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum , Pushkin Press and design agency Polimekanos, a number of artists and writers responded to certain figures who came to prominence or emerged during this time: on the 22nd January as part of this series, the Freud Museum will host an evening of poetry and performance featuring Emily Berry responding to Sigmund Freud, Esther Strauss on Anna Freud, Tom Jenks on Otto Gross, Jeff Hilson on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Phil Minton on Carl Jung.
Tickets for the reading can be bought here, £7 for 7pm. The evening also marks the launch for Kakania: an anthology of new works that sees over 40 writers and artists work brought together. I have a small piece there concerning Broncia Koller-Pinell; often overlooked, this article nods to her work amongst the salons of Vienna. My thanks to SJ Fowler for the commission and for the opportunity.
The other stories presented during the week included wonderful pieces by Matthew De Abaitua and Martin MacInnes, also illustrated by Carrie Crow. All the images are from a larger body of work by Crow, Observatorio, that uses views from pay-per-use telescopes throughout the world.
Many thanks to the editors at 3:AM for finding a place for the piece in such great company.
I am delighted to have been long-listed for KCL’s Creative Responses to Modernism with a wee glib closet drama ‘Embark’, all about the different dogs that crop up in salon literature.
Entries were invited from postgraduate students based at the Universities of London and Sussex, with submissions encouraged to ‘continue or challenge the modernist project’ through writing, images, short films, digital artefacts, performances or musical compositions.
The list also features Sarah Chadfield, Mary Horgan, Ivan Juritz [edit: WINNER!! – text of his brilliant ‘A Textual Source for Mallarmé’s Coup de Dés’ available with shortlisted entries here], Kate McEnery, Grace Yeong and a team submission from Simon Vickery, Tom Peters and Edward Szekely.
Final judges for the prize include Lisa Appignanesi, Michael Berkeley, AS Byatt, Alison Duthie, Juliet Gardiner, Jeremy Harding, Michael Holroyd, Stephen Romer and Fiona Shaw. My thanks to the Centre for Modern Literature and Culture for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading and hearing the other submissions.
Now in its second year, The White Review Prize was ‘founded to reward ambitious, imaginative and innovative approaches to creative writing’. I am delighted to have made the shortlist with my piece ‘Spins’ alongside writers whose work I have long admired: please follow the links to read the brilliant ‘MUEUM’ by SJ Fowler, ‘Lives of the Saints’ by Luke Neima, ‘Submission for the Journal of Improbable Interventions’ by Brenda Parker, ‘by Accident’ by David Isaacs, ‘Biophile’ by Ruby Cowling [edit: WINNER!], ‘Obsolescence’ by Joseph Mackertich and ‘Chiral’ by Paul Currion.
My piece can be read here.
On the 22nd March, acclaimed collaborative performance company Forced Entertainment staged their work And on the Thousandth Night as part of Artist of the City 2014 in Lisbon. This is a six hour durational piece:
A story is told, made up live, dragged from memory by a line of eight performers dressed as Kings and Queens, wearing cheap red cloaks and cardboard crowns. It is a long, mutating and endlessly self-cancelling story. It is a story which somehow, in its many dips and turns, seems to include many — if not all — of the stories in the world. Moving from the extraordinary to the banal, it mixes everything from film plots, religious stories, children’s stories, traditional tales, jokes and modern myths, to scary stories, love stories and sex stories.
The Kings and Queens compete, interrupting, exaggerating, taking over each other’s narratives and incorporating stolen bits into their own tales. Their storytelling moves between tiredness and hysteria, between absurd vulgarity and surprising tenderness. At times, some of the Kings and Queens take a break to sleep on the floor at the back of the space whilst their colleagues continue. At ten at night, perhaps, there are only two Kings left speaking, pushing on the tale, as one by one, the others come forward to rejoin the line.
To document the performance, I was invited to participate in a corresponding multi-authored, durational critical writing project hosted by Exeunt Magazine. The writers were stationed in London, Melbourne and Berlin with a brief to respond to the performance’s live-stream provided by the British Council; our texts were contributed in real-time as the piece played. The critical co/(r)/respondents featured the brilliant Jana Perkovic, Deborah Pearson, Anette Therese Pettersen, Bojana Jankovic, Daniel B. Yates and curator Diana Damian Martin, all of whom took ‘questions of duration, text, narrative, performance, error, invention, failure and time itself, alongside those of distance, attention, fragmentation and being together, digitally’ into consideration.
The project can be found here, in reverse order, and an artist’s live sketches of the event were produced by Århus’ Catherine Williams for Generative Constraints journal; please click the drawn images for more information.
Listed as one of Foyles’ Magazines of the Week, I have a short story in Belleville Park Pages No. 10. Pocketsized and Paris-wrought, you can scoop yours up with a bumper wee fold-out work ‘Halves’ by Sophie Haigney for a mere £2. Here are both, modelled first by a good-looking man:
and second by my sister who picked up a copy in situ at Shakespeare & Company bookshop LIKE A CHAMPION.
My short story ‘Scutiform’ is up on the great Visual Verse site, a journal recently launched at the Writing Platform fair and conference 2013. Edited by Preti Taneja and with patrons including Ali Smith, Andrew Motion and Bernadine Evaristo, writers were asked to respond in one hour to a set image: in our case, this photograph of a Galapagos shell by Marc Schlossman.
What I found particularly interesting when reading the submissions were the shared associations that had been clearly ploinked out by the exercise and the image: the word ‘coracle’ and recourse to dictionary definitions are two cases in point. With a roster of different images to come, the journal wants your work too – submit to them here, and read contributions from Nisha Ramayya, Sophie Mayer and others.
Ambit recently relaunched under the directorship of Briony Bax and celebrated its new issue at the University of Notre Dame building in London.
With work by Alan Brownjohn, Jehane Markham and winners of the Joseph Brodsky/Stephen Spender Prize and a front cover by Doug Argue as hot as a thumbed retina on a summer’s day, my short story ‘Spines’ is bundled-up in the prose section. Many thanks to Mike, Gary and Declan and Kate on the editorial team, and to all of Ambit for the sausage rolls.
The piece requires a mirror in order to get a good hold on the text, hence the ladylike poise, props and crossing-of-eyes. ‘Marks the Spot’ was first published in Chemical Imbalances journal, ed. Matt Lomas.
My story ‘Sketch’ crops up in the new, second collection of Annexe’s Introducing series alongside work by poets Dorothy Lehane and Milou Stella. Please do come along and support this great press, with a chance to snaffle both this and the series’ previous pamphlets on October 7th with an event at The Betsey Trotwood for the official launch – free entry, with 7pm start for performances.
‘Sketch’ is reviewed here, by Sabotage.