Writers' Centre Kingston : blog #4 - a performance, Dying


The first few months of running the new literary centre at Kingston University have been really interesting, and our first few events have been as good as I could've hoped for. The second, the official launch, at Rose theatre in Kingston, featured Iain Sinclair, Andrew Teverson and myself speaking on the theme of Dying, to a full house.

Find out more at www.writerscentrekingston.com/dying

I had to give a performance for the event as a speaker dropped out in fact. I did an improvised talk, the kind I've been focusing in on the last year. Lots of speed talking, lying, comedy rhythms. As a condition I write them on the day, a few hours before, as bullet points and then just work them out live, frightening but satisfying. I wrote tonight's on toilet papiere while waiting for the audience to arrive.


A note on: Global Cities at London Literature Festival & Londonist Article

A great pleasure to host and curate an event for the London Literature Festival in partnership with Southbank Centre and Literature Across Frontiers last night. The panel included Iain Sinclair, Livia Franchini, Jana Purtle Srdic and Karlis Verdins and we had a really busy crowd on a friday night. www.theenemiesproject.com/globalcities In reference to the event, Kyra Hanson wrote a small writeup for the Londonist https://londonist.com/2015/10/do-you-feel-like-an-outsider-in-london

"In cities like Paris, Berlin and Mexico City the nature of 'belonging' is well defined. In London you have the whole world crammed into a city. This is the view of writer SJ Fowler, who suggests that in London there are few outsiders, purely because everyone is an outsider.

Despite growing up in Devon and curating over 150 events in 18 countries Fowler feels most at home in London. His latest event Global Cities, created for the London Literature Festival, suggests that London is a city shaped by those who venture here. "Iain Sinclair, the absolute archetype of a Londoner is actually Welsh," says Fowler, "yet he's more rooted in defining contemporary, artistic and literary ideas about London than nearly anyone else."  

In Fowler's experience, the only way you can become an outsider is to make yourself one. "That feeling," he says, "can only relate to how that person defines the insider, so it's always about perception." But what of the crucial aspect of language? What if English is only your second, or third, or fourth language? Doesn't that make you an outsider in London? "It's a paradoxical advantage if you come to London and you speak English," says Fowler, "you're not really speaking 'Englishness', you're speaking the world language.

"You're learning the way to speak to someone from Serbia, Japan, China." Personally, Fowler can't resist the allure of Polish shops and likens walking down a London street to travelling. "Growing up in Devon might be the reason why when I'm walking down a street and see a Polish shop I go in and talk to the person." "It's like being surrounded by growth, different cultures, different backgrounds, different childhoods, different languages, different approaches to thinking." 

On 9 October Steven J Fowler comperes a discussion with writers Iain Sinclair, Jana Putrle Srdic, Livia Franchini and Karlis Verdins about London from from an outsiders/insiders perspective. Global City London Inside Out is part of London Literature Festival at The Southbank Centre. 

Reading at Stoke Newington Literary Festival 2015

Just a few days after the launch of {Enthusiasm}, I had the privilege to read alongside Iain Sinclair and Tom Chivers at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. Influx press, whom I respect immensely, had been given a day to curate and had invited Test Centre to present three of their authors. So I had the pleasure to read alongside two people who have helped me greatly in my work. Iain was the first to really support my work, extremely early on, months into writing, and Tom has been a consistent champion of my stuff. At certain moments, certain perceptions and realities only become real because you hear them being made so. What Iain said in his slot, about my work, will stay with me as a great treasure for a very long time.

The very first reading from {Enthusiasm}

2nd edition of my 1st collection: Red Museum

http://knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/redmuseum.html As is the poet's prerogative, this, my first book, was somewhat declaimed by me over the last few years. Coming into this year, it's gotten a little attention and reconsulting it, it suddenly seems to have its own 'value'. Not sure what that is exactly, that it is so big and dense to be a reading challenge, that it maintains its intensity of language...Anyhow, very happy Knives forks and spoons press have gotten to the point where the first print run has gone, and a new one needed doing, with really beautiful production values. It looks better than ever, a lovely thing to receive in the post.

Iain Sinclair's RED EYE and Test Centre in general

Really such a privilege to flick through this thing, it's enormous and the rendering of the large font text and the colour photographs are amazing. http://testcentre.org.uk/ Some events coming up are unmissable, for example 

Test Centre Four Magazine launch, with Thurston Moore, Lee Harwood, Tom Raworth and Iain Sinclair| Saturday 16 November

Test Centre 4 launch 
Test Centre Four magazine, which will be freshly printed and stapled for this launch event, will contain a unique range of poets from England and the USA, featuring important American influences on Test Centre such as Ed Sanders, Tom Clark, and Ron Padgett, local associates including Chris Petit and Stewart Home, and younger writers such as Sam Riviere. This eagerly-anticipated night's line-up is certain to launch the issue memorably.
Price: £8 online, £10 on the door
Doors: 7.30pm

Iain Sinclair's 4th book of Suicide Bridge on 3am

Without doubt the highlight of my editorial career at 3ammagazine, and an enormous privilege to publish extracts from the 4th book of Iain Sinclair's legendary Suicide Bridge. http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/iainsinclairbookfour/ Without doubt, if anything ensures my opinion that the post war British avant garde has an ethical, human, social streak running through it, it is my personal experiences with the likes of Will Rowe, Tom Raworth, Anselm Hollo, Iain Sinclair and others. 

From the first time I sidled up to him at a lecture in Kings college, having heckled the rest of the panel, from the Balkans, about the turgid lack of experimentation in their works, he has been uniformly kind, supportive and generous. Hard to imagine how practically busy he must be, and having a lifetime of brilliance behind him in poetry, fiction and new genres of writing, it is indicative of the man that always makes time for younger writers, not only in gesture but action. He was one of the only writers who really acknowledged the existence of my debut collection, Red Museum, and his collaboration with Ragnhildur Johanns has spanned my event organising career. Moreover, Suicide Bridge and Lud Heat were direct inspirations to me when I first began reading properly, and when I first came to London. I used the map in the granta book to explore the city in fact, and then found the original publications from the Albion Village press in the Poetry Library. These works are from the books of Suicide Bridge, not published, until now, coming out soon with Skylight press. See below for details and buy a copy.