Worktown Words Anthology 1

A few months ago you may have read here that I guest edited an online issue of Worktown Words for my old friends over at Live from Worktown. It was a new experience for me, curating a month of poetry submissions, all on my chosen theme of Celebration. The standard of entries was genuinely high. My thanks to editor Paul Blackburn for inviting me and his help.

Woman reading a book
Tina enjoying the new anthology

Now a selection of the best of the first ten issues has been released in paperback form and I received my contributors copy a couple of days ago. Two poems come from my issue and they are both stormers – Magician on the Podium by Rosie Adamson-Clark, and My Human Brain by David Bateman.
Dipping into it I’m impressed once again by the quality of the pieces. It’s full of emotion and ingenuity. Other highlights I have discovered include No Shock by Shaun Fellows about a notorious political figure and Freedom by Donna Hughes, a tale of meeting a Scottish salmon. The other themes during this first ‘season’ of books have been: Spring, Joker, Horizon, Escape, Shock, Silence, Stranger, Heritage and Tear.

Worktown Words Anthology 1 is available to order online from and costs £6 including postage and packing.

Worktown Words

My association with Live from Worktown goes back to 2014 and the first Live from Worktown festival in Bolton. Since then the group has diversified into several artistic ventures and one of their recent successes has been the online magazine Worktown Words. It’s a celebration of new writing from the region, both poetry and short prose pieces. Each issue has a guest editor and I was honoured to be asked to curate Issue 9.

After some thought I chose the word celebration as the theme and over the last few weeks I have been reading a fascinating collection of submissions inspired by my word. From joyful nonsense, through fond nostalgia to bitter irony. Choosing my final ten was a challenge.

You can read the anthology for free at Worktown Words.

Thanks to Paul Blackburn for the opportunity.

Watch the best of our Bolton poetry festival – Live from Worktown 2015

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So after all the stressful planning, the filming and the late nights, the second Live from Worktown festival of the spoken word is over. Well I say over, you can still buy copies of our accompanying poetry anthology with contributions from all over the UK and beyond, not to mention a long overdue reissue of Hovis Presley’s bestselling collection “Poetic Off-License”. Sometime soon the committee will have a review meeting to consider what succeeded and what could have been done better.

Plus you can watch my videos of many of the events, which I’ve been busy editing during the course of the festival. I’ve put them together into a Youtube playlist below. You’ll find local poets like Jefferama and Louise Fazackerly rubbing shoulders with major names like John Hegley and Brian Patten. I think the part of the festival I’m most proud of is the connections it makes between people, connections which might flower into new creative projects, or just make people’s lives a bit brighter.

Highlights for me have been the energy, enthusiasm and sheer quality of the performers on the INSYT Media vs Young Identity evening. John Hegley’s hilarious clever set, and the good feedback I’ve had from the Hovis Presley night. The latter was the evening I was overseeing and it pushed me into new responsibilities and has given me more confidence for future happenings.

Low-lights have been the problems of finding good venues for our festival programme, money worries when it looked like our Arts Council grant application had failed and trying to think of new ways to promote the festival at the eleventh hour.

However I think Live from Worktown as a brand has definitely raised its profile and reputation significantly this year. Most of the credit goes to Dave Morgan, Scott Devon, Paul Blackburn and Louise Coulson for all their hard work. Now its time to put some of my other projects back on the table and get them completed. Hopefully I’ll have more to tell you about soon. Thanks for reading.

For more information about the festival, or if you want to buy a copy of the anthology, please visit

Brian Patten and John Hegley are coming to Live from Worktown

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Live from Worktown 2015 has begun, with three well received social events, including the launch of the Anthology, an evening with Flapjack Press and a debate on which famous poet to throw out of a balloon. I’m gearing up to film several of the coming events and put edited versions online. Expect a compilation post once they are up. But I just wanted to take the time to recommend two of our flagship events.

John Hegley


As well as running an afternoon workshop which is nearly sold out. John Hegley is presenting his marvellous combination of poetry, comedy and music on 18th May at the impressive theater space of Bolton College.
A favourite on the radio and music festival scene he first came to prominence on John Peel’s radio show. Hegley’s poem ‘Malcolm’ is one of the nation’s most popular comic poems. Mandolin-playing Hegley delights in audience participation.

Brian Patten


Brian Patten came to prominence, along with Roger McGough and Adrian Henri, in the 1967 best- selling Mersey Sound poetry anthology. Since then he has performed at the world’s leading literary festivals and has published several very award winning collections. He also writes for children and is a highly engaging performer. On 21st May he will be sharing the performance space of Bolton Central Library with another award winning poet – Mandy Coe.

For tickets and more information, please visit

You can also follow the event on Twitter – @fromworktown

Thanks for reading.

Live from Worktown 2015 Festival is nearly here

Bolton’s festival of art and the spoken word is coming in May. I’ve edited a brand new trailer to promote it, which you can watch above.

Amongst the festival highlights:
18th May John Hegley Workshop and Show
19th May Hovis in Wonderland – A play for voices, celebrating the life of Hovis Presley
20th May Jackie Hagan and Open Mic
21st May Brian Patter and Mandy Coe
30th May John and the Baptists free concert

For more information visit and you can order tickets online from

Live from Worktown poetry/comedy/music festival in Bolton

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Whilst I’m not intending to spam the timeline with Live from Worktown notices, I’d be remiss if I didn’t put up links to both main webpage and the online box office
Especially since I’ve just been putting a lot of work into the latter, listing all the events the organisers have planned for April and May. We’ve really got some big names coming to my home town of Bolton, UK, including one of the original Merseybeat poets – Brian Patten, and poet, comedian and singer John Hegley. Plus workshops, debates and a one-night revival of Dave Morgan’s play for voices “Hovis in Wonderland”, celebrating the work of poet Hovis Presley.

I’m currently editing a big launch trailer, so expect that to be posted here soon.

The weird thing about all this is, I couldn’t write a poem myself to save my life!

Submissions wanted for the next Worktown poetry anthology

This year I am once again involved behind the scenes with our local poetry and related live performances festival. As part of it we are publishing an anthology with an open submissions opportunity for poets from the north of England:

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As part of the Live from Worktown Festival 2015, we would like to invite poetry submissions from poets living in the north of England to appear in our festival anthology. The festival this year aims to showcase international performers and writers such as Brian Patten, John Hegley and Mandy Coe, alongside talented local artists.
But we also want to include you, so if you’re a poet living or working in the north of England then we want to see your work. Send us a maximum of two poems by the 13/04/15 to be considered by this year’s guest editor Anne Caldwell, head of poetry at Bolton University.
If accepted your words will be published in the festival anthology in April 2015 and may also appear on the festival website. All published poets will be invited to the anthology launch which will be held in Bolton during the Live from Worktown festival.
Please see below for submissions guidelines, and we look forward to reading your work.
The submission window is 23/03/15 to 13/04/15. Poems submitted outside this period will not be considered.
All submissions must be by e-mail.
Submissions must be sent as an attachment (doc, docx, pdf). Submissions sent in the body of an e-mail will not be read.
Submissions must be the original work of the entrant.
Any poems submitted that are not in English must be accompanied by an English translation.
Poems must be no longer than 30 lines.
Maximum submission of two poems per person.
Submissions should be made to:
Please include your name and postcode in your submission e-mail.
This opportunity is open to anyone aged 16 years or older who lives in the north of England.

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Exciting times ahead – Music, Poetry and Bolton

Live from Worktown was a 2014 festival of poetry and music based around the UK town of Bolton, my home. As well as the best local talents, it also featured sets from international names George Wallace and Anjum Malik. I was involved on the filming side and general gophering.

Tonight I’ve been at a meeting to discuss the forthcoming arts festival Live from Worktown and I’ve come away feeling very excited. There’s much to be done between now and May but already it looks as if our follow up to last year’s inaugeral event will be bigger and bolder. I’ll be posting up specifics about what I will be doing once they are confirmed but in the meantime, if you’ve not taken a look at the official website then please do. There is also a brand new archive site containing a permanent record of 2014’s events.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned.