All the performances from 2017 English Pen Modern Lit Fest

Last Saturday, 1st April 2017, I had the privilege of attending and performing at the second English Pen Modern Literature Festival, curated by Steven J Fowler. I have already written about this festival and my preparation for it: I had the honour of creating a new piece of work to celebrate Tsering Woeser and will write a separate note about my own experience of performing. But I wanted first to write about the day as a whole and to add my thanks to English Pen, Steven J Fowler and all the remarkable poets and performers who created new work for writers at risk around the world. Sadly, due to family illness, I was unable to stay for the whole day but I am now slowly watching each of the filmed performances. Slowly, because each one of them needs to be processed, digested, made sense of – and they deal with material and experiences that are hard to engage with. Vahni Capildeo includes, in her reading, her thoughts about what she feels it is appropriate to make poetry out of – and what it is not. Hard, challenging issues when it comes to writing about other people’s oppression and suffering. Here are all of the performances from this year’s, each one dedicated to a writer (or writers) at risk. I was keen to join English Pen to support their work after last year’s festival. You may feel inspired by these performances to do the same.

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