Writers in Thanet strut their stuff and a poet gets brazen

What a talented bunch we all are! Inscribing the Island Literature had its first net-working event last Friday - the Thanet Writers Launch Party. Funded by East kent Live Lit and KCC, Hilderstone Adult Education Centre opened its doors to more than forty literature lovers. Poets and publishers, lyricists, novelists, short story writers and family history researchers were amongst the line-up, sharing their practice through dialogue, readings and performance. As a Literature Events Organiser in Thanet for many years I know how much talent lies hidden on this almost-island. Time and again previously unheard voices pop up at workshops and open mics. So the surprise isn't that so many talented individuals exist, rather that we don't know about them. Inscribing the Island Literature intends to redress this imbalance. We will shout the presence of our stars in Thanet. We will shout that we have publishers. Yes we have publishers! We have poets! To hear one, see one, touch one, go to the Old Lifeboat Ale and Cider House in Margate, every first Tuesday. We will shout that we have novelists, storytellers, and non-fiction writers. Over the next blogs I will be highlighting some of these literary individuals on this coastal universe of stars. It's not called the Planet Thanet for no reason.

Other news: I've been reading Jane Wenham Jones' latest book wannabe a writer we've heard of? The first line is truly addressed to me Some writers are shy retiring creatures who like nothing better than to remain in their dusty attics hunched over their latest masterpiece ...Jane is a woman who is out there brazenly selling her wares and I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying that. I fit in to so many of her what-not-to-be's if you want your work to be noticed that it's quite disconcerting. After all the years of being a writer, 5 books  and some lovely awards later, I am still relatively unknown. My books cerainly do not fly off shelves. Only when I'm dusting them. We are talking Poetry here. Apparently we need to shout from the rooftops I'm here! I'm a writer! I have books to sell! This is my living! Even on Friday night in a room full of writers I didn't sell one book. The fact that I am not brazen enough I put down to my childhood. Yes truly. If anyone Caribbean is reading this you will know what I mean. The first reason is that we spent half our life in church. The second is that my old Tita taught me to keep knees together and palms on laps and that Quiet Speech is a Mark of Refinement. In other words - Bigging up yourself is a sin. So that's why Literary festivals are not booking me even though I know my poetry is as good if not better that half the people strutting their stuff and getting paid for it. So, in this Season of Lent,  for the first time since the age of 15 I have given up something: Bread. The idea of sacrifice appealed. The sacrifice of thick wedges of fresh bread covered with real butter and peanut butter is not easy.  And Toast! But this is good for the soul, plus you need to be creative about what else to eat. This kind of links in with my current new brazenness: woman does not live by bread alone. Not when you have a bog gob. So welcome to the new me. I am shouting my wares from the rooftops. I have four poetry books to sell, one of them for Haiti. They're all on the website www.maggieharris.co.uk Buy them. Please. I also have a memoir coming out in the summer, Kiskadee Girl, Kingston University Press. I will be be available for TV work, festivals, readings, performances and workshops, book signings and anything that links the Caribbean to the UK and the universe. I am also working on a short story collection Canterbury Tales on a Cockcrow Morning.  It is hugely relevant to absolutely everyone in the world particularly those in the Canterbury/Thanet area.I am looking for a major publisher who will make it into a film.

I will also have the honour of having a Selected Poems published later this year: Guyana Classics. I am a classic. Wo! Brazen? Watch me mouth me na gon shut up now.