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What we've seen and read this month

  • Date: 18 October 2011
  • Area: London

Staff at our London office experience lots of great art every week. This month they bring you some of their literary highlights.

Wasafiri magazine, Issue 67, Autumn 2011

This issue of Wasafiri, the magazine for international contemporary writing, contains an article about Derek Walcott looking at both his poetic and theatrical output, an interview with Zimbabwean writer Brian Chikwava and a tree that grows in Brixton, plus new fiction from emerging author Elizabeth Ingams. Bursting with fantastic voices from all over the world, the publication is well worth dipping into this Autumn.

Gemma Seltzer, Relationship Manager, Literature 

Poems on the Underground - Out There, John McKendrick

I moved to London to start my job with the Arts Council a little over six weeks ago, and during my first journey on the Jubilee Line I read Jamie McKendrick's haunting, contemporary sonnet Out There. The poem, telling of the loneliness of cosmonauts, finishes with the lines 'never so keenly as from out there can / the lost feel earth's the only paradise'. If this is so then, to my mind, it is due in part to the work of Poems on the Underground which, after 25 years, continues to surprise and touch the days of those travelling in the belly of the city.

Bradley Down, Assistant, Literature

Alexis Deacon at the Children's Bookshow 2011, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea

Waiting for events run by the Children's Bookshow to start is almost half the fun, as you get to witness the barely-containable excitement of the audience. Coach-loads of primary school children file into the auditorium at the De La Warr Pavilion and are talking excitedly, and jumping around in their seats in anticipation of the show.

They are not disappointed. Alexis Deacon is remarkably at ease in front of 700 plus schoolchildren. Much of the show is given to subtle aspiration-building as he tells the story of how he became an illustrator - basically, if you want to do it, work at it and pursue your passion. He reads from his new book, not yet out in bookshops, a charming story called Croc and Bird as well as from the hilarious A Place to Call Home, written by him and illustrated by his friend Viviane Schwarz, showing feats of bravery by a family of hamsters.

There is lots of (very willing) audience participation, with hundreds of hands in the air, as children shout out suggestions for some live drawing and they get very excited as the last drawing takes the shape of a familiar character and Alexis Deacon finishes the show with a reading of his much-loved book Beegu about a lost little alien looking for some friends.

David Cross, Relationship Manger, Literature