Edinburgh Book Festival 2012 – The Marlowe Papers


John O'Connell at Edinburgh Book Festival 2012Edinburgh Book Festival 2012 highlights.


Sometimes, taking a risk on the less well known authors pays off.  In what promises to be one of the Edinburgh Book Festival 2012 highlights, Ros Barber (The Marlowe Papers) and John O’ Connell (The Baskerville Legacy) talk about recreating the inner lives of famous authors.

Ros Barber’s novel in verse gives voice to Christopher Marlowe, allowing him to tell his version of the events that led to his ‘death’. John O’Connell’s The Baskerville Legacy tells of the encounter between Arthur Conan Doyle and Bertram Fletcher Robinson, which led to a writing collaboration that would become The Hound of the Baskervilles. Join the authors to learn how it felt to occupy another author’s mind.

Chaired by Kirsty Lang, presenter of Front Row on BBC Radio 4

Venue: Writers’ Retreat

Price: £7.00/ £5.00

Details and Booking:  http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/ros-barber-john-o-connell

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Bodies In The Bookshop, Cambridge


Bodies in the Bookshop 2012
Saturday 14th July from 10am
The Cambridge Union Society, 9A Bridge Street Cambridge CB2 1UB (link to: http://www.cus.org/about/where-find-us)

Ros is on at 1.30, see below:

Join us in the Cambridge Union for our biggest crime fiction event of the year!  This year Bodies in the Bookshop is relocating to the Cambridge Union (link to: http://www.cus.org/) where we have a fantastic line-up of crime authors who will be taking part in a series of themed talks and panel discussions.

The Union Bar and Cafe will also be open all day for food, drink and socialising.

10am  Crime Through Time I 
Jane Finnis, Ruth Downie and Patrick Easter take us on a journey through time and space as they talk on historical crime fiction from Ancient Rome to Nineteenth Century England.

11am  Experts in Murder 
Nicola Upson, Catriona McPherson and Laura Wilson give us a glimpse of a pre-war world of murder and mystery which their canny heroes and sharp heroines set about solving, while Sally Spedding adds a more sinister edge to the historical theme.

12 noon  Poison in the Parish 
Settle in with Ann Purser, Veronica Heley, Rebecca Tope and Jayne Marie Barker who will be discussing mysteries with a distinctly English and traditional character.

1pm  Break for Lunch 
Lunch will be available at the Union Cafe
1.30pm Crime Through Time II 
Follow Ros Barber and Rory Clements to the criminal depths of Tudor England while Chris Nickson and Robin Blake transport us the 18th century and Peter Moore sheds light on the true crimes which took place in a rural Georgian village.

2.30pm Scene of the Crime 
Jim Kelly, Alison Bruce and Elly Griffiths discuss their novels set in Cambridge and the surrounding area, bringing crime a little too close for comfort.

3.30pm  International Intrigue 
Roger Morris, Edward Wilson and Adrian Magson take us from prerevolutionary Russia to 1960s France via the Cold War.  Detectives, spies and mysteries abound.

4.30pm Comic Cuts 
Len Tyler and Suzette Hill in discussion on the funny side of crime.
5.30pm Death in a Cold Climate 
Leading crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw and Quentin Bates, author of a crime fiction series set in Iceland, explore the growing popularity of Nordic Noir and Scandinavian settings.  Listen out for ideas on what to read after Stieg Larsson

Tickets: Adults £10, Concessions £7

Call  01223 463200 or come to Heffers to buy your ticket.
For more information email events.tst@heffers.co.uk or visit the Bodies in the Bookshop facebook page or our blog at bodiesinthebookshop.wordpress.com

Isn’t Poetry Difficult and Dull?


Isn’t poetry difficult and dull?  Though the population contains a small percentage of poetry lovers, the idea that poetry isn’t pleasurable is all-pervasive.  It’s easy to blame our education system (and it certainly has a lot to answer for with regards to the seed of this idea being planted) but the truth is, there’s a lot of difficult, dull poetry out there.  I’ve spent years going to poetry readings and struggling to hang on to the will to live while yet another poet drones their way through yet another (dull, or difficult) poem and just praying last orders won’t be called before they finish.  (You wonder why poets have a reputation for being drinkers?  Can you imagine how much bad poetry they have to listen to in the line of duty, and how polite they have try to be about it?)    How hard is it, do you think, to convince the people (who on the whole consider poetry difficult and/or dull) that The Marlowe Papers is neither?  Here’s my attempt:

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Be The Writer You Dream of Being at Ledbury Poetry Festival



Writers block, fear of failure, a general lack of inspiration – these are the states of mind that make it impossible to write well.  Successful writing depends entirely upon mental processes. Come and learn a simple technique that will allow you to break through the blocks and drop some of your writing ‘baggage’ in this workshop. For more information call the box office on            0845 458 1743 or see the Be The Writer You Dream of Being website.

Date: Sunday 8 July

Time: 10.30am – 12.30pm

Venue: Old Cottage Hospital, Ledbury

Price:  £8/£6


The Marlowe Papers at Ledbury Poetry Festival



Ledbury Poetry Festival Event 67

Marlowe expert and poet, Ros Barber,  introduces The Marlowe Papers – hotly tipped to be the read of the summer.

‘Immensely clever, capacious, ingenious and imaginative.’ (Hilary Mantel)

‘Not only a homage to Marlowe but a celebration of poetry – and of its power to allow the dead to speak.’ (Blake Morrison)

Date: Saturday 7 July

Time: 2.30pm – 3.30pm

Venue: Burgage Hall, Ledbury

Tickets: £8/£6

Book here: http://www.poetry-festival.com/bookings.html

Poets In Person, London 27 May 2012

Following on from the encounter started in Munich at the W-ORTE literary festival in 2010, Aprilia Zank and Anne Stewart, poet and ‘poetry p f’ tutor, are very pleased to announce a significant literary event on 27 May in London. TIME: from 3 p.m. onwards.

The event will bring together ‘poetry p f’ members and other prominent poetic voices such as George Szirtes, Ian Parks, Ros Barber, David Cooke and many more.

Further poets and friends of poetry who are interested in participating are welcome – the event is free, but ‘it is hoped that participants may spend about £10 on food and drinks.’

Date: Sunday 27 May 2012
Time: 3pm – 8pm
Venue:  The Glassblower, 40-42 Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly, London, W1B 5DL
Tel:   020 7734 8547
More details below:

Hotting Up


Many exciting things are happening around The Marlowe Papers.  If you’re already on The Marlowe Papers mailing list you’ll know about most of them already, but if not, here’s a round up.

The London launch event is on Tuesday 29 May at the British Library.  The fabulous Will Self and Dr Bill Leahy will be joining me to discuss the book and the wider issues of Shakespeare, authorship and identity.  This is a public event, anyone can book a ticket, so do grab yours now if you’d like to coming along.  More here.

I’m typing this from a farmhouse in Norfolk waiting with bated breath for The Marlowe Papers to be reviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review.  I’m a little nervous, especially given that I’m here with 15 members of my family who are insisting I listen to it with then, gathered round the wireless, rather than driving off on my own to listen to it in the car at the end of a country lane.   Added later:  very favourable, and a lively discussion. If you missed it live, you can listen to a recording of this programme via this link (13 mins in).

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WordJam at Brighton Fringe


Ros will be participating in WordJam on 18 May 2012 as part of the Brighton Fringe, alongside Pete Hunter, Sally Jenkinson and Rosy Carrick, who curated and will MC the event.

Facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/448651305150515/

Ros Barber

Ros is the author of forthcoming verse novel The Marlowe Papers (Sceptre, 2012) and three collections of poetry, the most recent, Material (Anvil 2008), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. An engaging performer, her work on the page has been compared to that of Philip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy.

This year she will be appearing in the main Brighton Festival Books & Debate programme, at Ledbury and Hebden Bridge Poetry Festivals, and at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Her media appearances include Radio 4’s Poetry Please, Radio 3’s The Verb, and Meridian TV’s arts programme The Frame.
“Ros Barber’s work is exquisitely honed in meter and metaphor — she makes the iambic pentameter sound as if she just invented it. Her voice is an instrument of creativity, intellect and emotion. Her performance at Pure Poetry was one of the most memorable I have seen in fifteen years.”
– Patience Agbabi


Pete Hunter

Peter has been writing poetry every since he can remember, and performing poetry ever since he stumbled across an open-mic night in the back of a pub. Since then poetry has taken him on a journey all around the UK, into Europe and on a tour of America. He has won many poetry slams and performed at many festivals. He has also co-written poetry-themed plays and soundscapes for BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio 4 and was a consultant for the Radio 4 National poetry slams and BBC Radio 7’s Stand Up poetry series.

People who have heard him at festivals have said:

“Awesome poems and delivery”

“You restored my faith in poetry and my dad really liked it”

“As the audience’s roars subsided and the clapping slowed, one voice could be heard loud and clear at the front: ‘Best thing I’ve seen all Glastonbury!'”

“That poem you did last night was amazing, I could see it all unfolding in front of my eyes – but I was on acid…”

“I liked the one with all the rhyming”


Sally Jenkinson:

Yes – she is a northern lass, with iron lungs and a heart made from bees’ honey, whose lyrical, surreal, tender poetry makes toes curl and mouths crease into unshakable grins. A poetry coach, front women for an array of the best spoken word nights in the U.K, published writer and all round wonder woman, Sally’s poetry not only separates her out as being a unique voice in the spoken word scene, but as a voice for anyone who has ever looked at the world and wondered how all its magic can be squeezed onto paper and shared out amongst strangers. Come see the woman who has done just that.



Venue: The Writer’s Place, 9-10 Jew Street, Brighton, BN1 1UT

Time: 7.30pm

Tickets: £8/£6

Book tickets here: http://boxoffice.brightonfringe.org/event.aspx?evId=3530&pfId=3633#EventTitle