Award winning actress Annette Badland was nominated for an Olivier for her performance in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and is well known for her TV appearances in Midsomer Murders, EastEnders, Dr Who, Outlander and Cutting it – not to mention ‘horrid Hazel’ in the Archers on Radio 4! Annette played Gertrude Stein, novelist, poet, art collector, friend of Picasso and Hemingway, mentor to Cezanne, Matisse and F. Scott Fitzgerald to great acclaim at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre last year. ‘Gertie’ had shared a life partnership with Alis B Toklas to whom she was devoted, yet experimented well beyond the parameters of a conventional relationship. Annette explores the work, world and loves of Gertrude Stein on her artistic journey towards bringing this extraordinary woman to life.
One of the advantages of digital events is the ability to bring together performers who live thousands of miles apart without paying for the airfare! Two Continents, One Planet pairs award winning Australian poet Ross Donlon (The Blue Dressing Gown, Mark Time Books 2011), our International Poet 2020, with popular and once local poet Jean Atkin (How Time is in Fields, IDP, 2019) now living in Shropshire. It’s an exploration of time, memory, people and places from both sides of the planet.
We are delighted to welcome award winning writer, journalist and environmental activist Karen Lloyd to BIG LIT online. The Gathering Tide; A Journey Around the Edge of Morecambe Bay was an Author’s Book of the Year in the Observer 2015. She has written for various Guardian columns, BBC Wildlife and Countryfile magazines and is currently building conversations on land management in the Lake District. Her next book, focussing on restoration in the natural world across Europe will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021. She is in conversation with poet Annie Wright about The Blackbird Diaries - winner of the Bookends Prize for Art and Literature - her life, her books, her love of birds and the pressing need to protect of our environment.
Former Scots Makar the celebrated poet Liz Lochhead scarcely needs any introduction and we are delighted to celebrate the centenary of her friend, and the Makar before her, poet Edwin Morgan. Liz is in conversation with Robyn Marsack, reading some of her personal favourite Morgan poems, and sharing incidents and insights into that extraordinary long life which spanned so much vital change. BIG LIT online is honoured to host Liz Lochhead in collaboration with The Edwin Morgan Trust in a celebration of the life and work of undoubtedly one of the great poets of the 20th Century.
We are delighted to introduce The Artist’s Tale which focuses on a book of images by much loved artist and print maker Silvana McLean alongside poems by Moniaive poets. Silvana lived and worked in Moniaive, near Thornhill in south-west Scotland until she died in 2018 leaving a remarkable body of work, latterly inspired by visits to the Western Isles and residencies in Shetland and Iceland. She said she ‘aspired to paint the way a poet writes’ so it was a small step for Moniaive poets to respond to her multilayered, fluid and meditative work, tapping into Norse and Icelandic tales alongside elements of Silvana’s artistic process. Annie Wright and Peter Roberts, two poets whose work appears in the book, read a selection of poems from The Artist’s Tale with Silvana’s accompanying images. The book was published by The Lit Room Press in 2019 which extends grateful thanks to Silvana’s husband Alastair for permission to use her pictures.
Chrys Salt, Artistic Director of Big Lit, interviews award winning Scottish novelist Karen Campbell about her most recent novel The Sound of The Hours. Karen won Best New Scottish Writer at the Scottish Variety Awards in 2010 and has continued to consolidate her success. Enough to tell you that The Sound of The Hours is an historical novel set in Barga - Italy's most Scottish town. It tells the story of a Scots-Italian family caught up in World War Two, and the segregated US Buffalo soldiers who helped liberate them.