Shortlisted: Zombies Ate My Library

I am delighted to discover that Zombies Ate My Library, my novella for the brilliant Blast Theory that comes out of our recent libraries collaboration A Place Free Of Judgement, has been shortlisted in the ‘Best Novella’ category of the Sabotage Reviews Saboteur Awards 2017.

Vote for Zombies Ate My Library here!

Some readers may have been along to the live readings from Zombies Ate My Library at Telford Southwater Library, Worcester St John’s Library, and Cannock Library, that took place as part of the A Place Free Of Judgement event and livestream on 29 October. In the past few weeks I have also given readings from the novella at Brixton Book Jam and the final Sylvia Plath Fan Club. Coming up in May, I’ll be reading from Zombies Ate My Library at In Yer Ear, London.

If you’d like to support Zombies Ate My Library and what has been a really exciting, long-term collaboration with Blast Theory, with 30 young people in Cannock, Telford and Worcester, and with libraries and librarians across the West Midlands, do please consider voting for it in the ‘best novella category’ here. (Voting is open until midnight, 30 April.)

There are many other great shortlisted projects to vote for also, so do support Sabotage Reviews in the important work that they do, covering emerging practice, small presses and spoken word.

ICYMI, here is our short film about A Place Free Of Judgement and Zombies Ate My Library.

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Vote for Zombies Ate My Library in the Saboteur Awards 2017

All you need to know about Zombies Ate My Library

Buy Zombies Ate My Library direct from Blast Theory’s shop

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English PEN Modern Literature Festival

It was a great honour to have been invited to write and to perform in solidarity with the persecuted Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji, for the English PEN Modern Literature Festival, at Rich Mix, London, on 1 April.

On 21 February 2016, Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for ‘violating public modesty’, following the publication of an excerpt from his novel Using Life in Cairo’s weekly literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab. On 22 December 2016, Egypt’s highest appeals court temporarily suspended Naji’s sentence, and he was released. A further hearing due to be held in Cairo on 2 April 2017 has now been adjourned until 7 May. This hearing will determine whether Naji will face another trial or be sent back to prison.

I conducted an interview with Ahmed Naji over Skype and email during the past couple of weeks, and presented an edited transcript of the interview at the Festival.

So here we are. First I’d like to thank Cat [Lucas of English PEN] and Steven [the poet SJ Fowler] and everyone, for organising this event. I know that such an activity can feel disappointing, especially for the organisers. It is not an easy world that we live in, and these are not easy times, so you’re doing all this work and supporting writers, for the love of literature and writing, and freedom of expression, but sometimes this offer, this support, goes unheard. Or that may be how it seems. But actually it does reach the ears of those writers around the world who are facing a critical time, and even if this offer doesn’t affect their legal situation, it can have a huge effect on their mood.

I mean in my case for example, when I was in prison, when my family came to visit with messages like this from outside, and they told me well this person has written about you, or we have received a letter from that person, this news affects your mood very well. Because in prison you are not allowed to be in touch with anything, and sometimes you feel that you have been forgotten. So to receive the news that someone has remembered you, this helps very much. And then, after you get out, to find such love and solidarity? It really helps you to recover from the traumas that you have experienced.

To coincide with the Festival and the court date, an extract of my interview was run on the Guardian newspaper’s books blog, Sunday 2 April.

A longer version of the interview, ‘Ahmed Naji’s Championship Breakfast’, is published on English PEN’s website.

Here — with thanks to English PEN Modern Literature Festival curator Steven J. Fowler — is a video of my reading at Rich Mix on 1 April 2017.

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Please join English PEN and become a part of the future of this extraordinary organisation

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English PEN Modern Literature Festival 2017

The English PEN Modern Literature Festival sees 30 contemporary UK-based writers present new works in tribute to writers at risk around the world at Rich Mix, London, on April 1st 2017. #penfestuk Visit www.englishpen.org. (See below for reading order).

Writers poets, novelists, playwrights and artists come together to continue English PEN’s relationship with innovative contemporary literature over an extraordinary day where each of the writers presented brand new poetry, text, reportage & performance on a day that celebrated and evidenced the struggle of fellow writers around the world, in solidarity.

Please join English PEN

You can join English PEN here http://www.englishpen.org/membership/join/ and if you are a writer, poet, artist, scholar, academic, reader or someone who is passionate about defending our fundamental freedom of expression in the UK and around the world, please take the time to do so and become a part of the future of this extraordinary organisation.

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Reading Order:

2pm to 3.30pm

Luke Kennard – Raif Badawi
Nisha Ramayya – Aseem Trivedi
Susie Campbell – Tsering Woeser
Lavinia Singer – Zhu Yufu
SJ Fowler – Waleed Abu Al Khair
Mischa Foster Poole – Alaa Abd El Fattah
Chloe Spicer – Dina Meza
Kate Wakeling – Nurmuhemmet Yasin
Denise Riley – Necmiye Alpay

4pm to 5.30pm

Hannah Silva – Narges Mohammadi
Rebecca Tamas – Ashraf Fayadh
matt martin – Amanuel Asrat
John Hall – Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace
Carol Watts – Aslı Erdoğan
Tom Jenks – Nabeel Rajab
Peter Philpott – Dawit Isaak
Camilla Nelson – Dareen Tatour
Rod Mengham – Mahvash Sabet
Zoë Skoulding – Sanjuana Martinez Montemayor

7.30pm to 9.30pm

Sasha Dugdale – Ahmet and Mehmet Altan
Simon Pomery – Nguyen Van Dai
Sandeep Parmar – Lydia Cacho
Nathan Jones – Zunar
Jeremy Noel-Tod – Nelson Aguilera
Chrissy Williams – The Al-Khawaja family
Tony White – Ahmed Naji
Larry Lynch – Oleg Sentsov
Matthew Welton – Tutul
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett – Liu Xia
Vahni Capildeo – The Douma 4

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Saturday 1 April 2017, Venue One, Rich Mix, London: 2pm / 4pm / 7.30pm – Entrance Free but English PEN membership appreciated.

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A Place Free Of Judgement—video

Following a fantastic book launch and knowledge sharing event at Telford’s Southwater Library on 21 February, Blast Theory have released this short video of our libraries project A Place Free Of Judgement.

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Buy the A Place Free Of Judgement book—featuring an exclusive YA novella ‘Zombies Ate My Library’—direct from Blast Theory’s shop.

Coming soon: Zombies Ate My Library!

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A Place Free Of Judgement book launch and knowledge sharing event: Tue 21 February 2017, 11:00 – 16:00. Southwater Library, Southwater Square, Southwater Way, Telford, TF3 4JG. Bookings and more info here.

Sign up to receive news and invites to book launches and events from me and my publishers and producers

Pre-order the A Place Free Of Judgement book, featuring my exclusive YA novella ‘Zombies Ate My Library’ (orders ship 22 February 2017)

A Place Free Of Judgement — launch eflyer

More on this shortly, but here is the eflyer for a launch and sharing event about Blast Theory’s and my libraries project A Place Free Of Judgement, which will be held in Telford’s Southwater Library on 21 February.

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Blast Theory and I will be there, and we’re launching the A Place Free Of Judgement book. Here’s the blurb:

During 2016 Blast Theory and acclaimed author Tony White worked with a group of 30 young people in libraries in Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire, and Staffordshire, to re-imagine libraries, story telling and their place in the world. On 29 October 2016, over the course of 9 hours from 3pm to midnight, the young people then took control of their local libraries, and performed live to a worldwide audience, via an interactive live stream, broadcasting from each library in turn.

This book is a result of that process.

A Place Free of Judgement includes Tony White’s specially commissioned novella for Young Adult (YA) and general readers, ‘Zombies Ate My Library’, which was performed as a series of readings by White during the live stream on 29 October, and which draws on ideas, conversations and off-cuts that emerged in the workshops and during the development of A Place Free of Judgement.

Zombies Ate My Library’ follows the lives of four young people in the West Midlands—Alice, Gareth, Tommy and Rukhsana—as they plot a sleepover in a haunted library. What could possibly go wrong?

The book is available to pre-order direct from Blast Theory now, and will ship on the 22nd February 2017.

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Tue 21 February 2017, 11:00 – 16:00. Southwater Library, Southwater Square, Southwater Way, Telford, TF3 4JG. Bookings and more info here.

Sign up to receive news and invites to book launches and events from me and my publishers and producers

Pre-order the A Place Free Of Judgement book, featuring my exclusive YA novella ‘Zombies Ate My Library’ (orders ship 22 February 2017)

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Resonance fundraisers – live in February 2017

resonancelogolargeSome readers may be aware that I chair the board of directors of London’s brilliant and award-winning arts radio station Resonance FM. I am proud to support this incredible project.

If you don’t know it, Resonance is a groundbreaking 24/7 radio station which broadcasts on 104.4 FM to central London, DAB to Greater London, nationally on Radioplayer and live streamed to the rest of the world. Realised by a dedicated community of volunteer engineers and programme-makers, Resonance offers over 100 creative broadcast series every week featuring local and international artists, makers and experts. Resonance seeks to discover, encourage and support a diverse range of artistic voices through radio – from first-timers to seasoned broadcasters. Kindly supported by the generous donations of its listeners and by key partners including Arts Council England and The Wire, Resonance collaborates widely with visionary individuals and organisations including V&A Museum, Mixcloud, The Science Museum, The Arts & Culture Unit, Merge Festival, and Radia.

Resonance’s annual fundraiser runs from 11–19 February 2017. Here is their newsletter listing just some of the events taking place. Hope to see you there ;)

Dear Resonance listener,

We’re sharing news of an exciting programme of live events all taking place as part of our Annual Fundraiser: a range of great concerts and our Resofit stand up comedy special, all happening across London between 11 and 19 February, with something (we hope) for everybody. Full details of these and much more is on our Fundraiser website, updated regularly throughout the next fortnight. Below are the Fundraiser live event essentials.

rienakjimaGwaith Sŵn’s Sonic Art Gala   |  Aces & Eights Tufnell Park NW5 2HP  |  Sat 11 February at 8pm
An all-star evening of radical sound art, improv & radiophonia. Featuring Rie Nakajima & Ken Ikeda + Phil Minton + Viewfound & Daniel R Wilson + Dan Linn-Pearl & Paul TQ Freeman. Tickets here.

Wavelength Roadshow  |  Kansas Smitty’s Hackney E8 4PH  |  Mon 13 February at 7pm
Join William English for a live extended edition of Wavelength with legendary performance artist Bob Parks (conceptual R&B, voodoo), Adham Fisher & other guests from the cult underground. Tickets here.

Club Integral Valentine’s Day Special  |  Iklectik Lambeth SE1 7LG  |  Tues 14 February at 7.30pm
Fourteen acts, each playing for fourteen minutes, courtesy of the Home of the Uncategorisable that is Club Integral – in a presentation with Resonance FM’s Is Black Music. Tickets on the door.

fwe1Scratch Orchestra All Stars  |  Cafe OTO Dalston E8 3DL  |  Weds 15 February at 7.30pm
Members of the legendary Scratch Orchestra come together for a rare night of mind-boggling musical anarchy – including John Tilbury, Stefan Szczelkun, Dave Smith, Hugh Shrapnel, Michael Parsons, Bryn Harris & Resonance FM’s Sound Out anchor Carole Finer. Tickets here.

Tin Can Review Live!  |  Aces & Eights Tufnell Park NW5 2HP  |  Fri 17 February at 7pm
Acoustic/Americana showcase with James Hodder of Resonance FM’s Tin Can Review introducing (and supporting) acclaimed songsmiths Ady Johnson + Hannah Rose Platt. Tickets here.

stewart_lee_2015_colin_huttonforresofitResofit  |  Leicester Square Theatre Soho WC2H 7BX  |  Sun 19 February at 3.30pm
Stand up comedy matinee with Daniel Kitson, Tony Law & Stewart Lee. Tickets here.

Nest Collective Takeover  |  Aces & Eights Tufnell Park NW5 2HP  |  Sun 19 February at 7pm
The city’s finest contemporary folk club and radio series – with  presents a very special night of radical/traditional song and performance. Tickets here.

Ulrich Schnauss + support  |  Silver Road Lewisham SE13 7BQ  |  Sun 19 February at 7pm
An intimate performance by the contemporary master of mesmerising electronica Ulrich Schnauss, (Tangerine Dream, Longview, Engineers) with SM-LL label acts en creux + Typeface. Tickets here.

resonancelogolarge