I am pleased to be one of the writers at the very first Between the Lines Festival in Sheffield on Saturday 24th February. It is Sheffield’s Literature and Arts Festival for Children.
I will be performing and running workshops for children with adults during the day at The HUBS, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2QQ. My sessions are at 11am and at 1pm.
I will also be launching my new book, “What Are You Like?”, with signed copies available to buy.
For details of all the activities see: http://www.betweenthelinesfestival.com
Free tickets can be booked using the links below.
Book 11am session here:
Book 1pm session here:
We have made a new video over the last few days. I composed a short piece of music to accompany my poem Anything. The poem is about friendship and is suitable for younger children (KS1), but it is likely to appeal to older students (KS2) as well. This poem is in my new book, What Are You Like, which is due for release 23 February 2018.
Karen, my wife, is the guest performer reading the poem and also she made the video. The images are all shared by Creative Commons License. They are credited in the description on YouTube and below the video here.
Images in their order of appearance:
- kittens CC-BY-SA Susan https://flic.kr/p/52JU7z
- Chicks CC-BY-NC Andy Purvlance https://flic.kr/p/665D8X
- Labrador-Puppy CC-BY Tyler Allen https://flic.kr/p/a1gG6S
- Baby’s Best Friend CC-BY Brandon Atkinson https://flic.kr/p/96KrY6
- Buds CC-BY Juhan Sonin https://flic.kr/p/6DSpcV
- kids CC0 klimkin https://pixabay.com/en/kids-girl-pencil-drawing-notebook-1093758/
- children CC0 Bess Hamiti https://pixabay.com/en/child-children-girl-happy-people-817369/
- Best Friends CC-BY-SA Rod Waddington https://flic.kr/p/Wq9E51
- girls whispering CC0 Olichel https://pixabay.com/en/girls-whispering-best-friends-young-914823/
- Handsome Indian boys CC-BY Nithi Anand https://flic.kr/p/qpzJmX
- Cups Full of Chats CC-BY-NC Mo Riza https://flic.kr/p/3JM8pt
- Best friends CC-BY Robert de Bock https://flic.kr/p/UsGxgR
- The Cat-Circle of Love CC-BY-NC Gloson Teh https://flic.kr/p/8119Px
- Maternal instinct CC-BY-ND Tambako The Jaguar https://flic.kr/p/Muizu
A warm welcome from Moorside Primary School, Swinton
I know World Book Day is just one day, but it turns into a whole week of celebrations in many schools, and for me. That’s a great thing. I was in a different school each day of the week and met so many wonderful students and staff, and many dressed as characters from books.
One thing I am finding more frequently now when I visit a school is that the day’s events are captured in images and video and tweeted before I even get home. Here are some examples.
Many thanks for such great week to all of the staff and students at Hunslet Carr Primary School (Leeds), St Joseph’s RC Primary (Bolton), Christ Church CofE Primary School (Oldham), St Wildrid’s Primary School (Sheffield) and Moorside Primary School (Swinton).
“Thank you so much for such a wonderful day. The children, staff and parents really enjoyed it and I was impressed with the poetry the children created in such a short amount of time.” Vicky Sherrington, St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Bolton
“We loved every minute, thanks so much – we’re all officially inspired.” Rachel Robinson, Moorside Primary School, Swinton.
It’s a busy time for a poet this time of year, and for schools, what with dressing up and doing lots of reading and great creative writing.
The poem in the photo (inspired by my I Like What I Like – see video below) was written with Nursery Children at Audenshaw Primary School, Manchester as a class effort. We performed it at the end of the day to the rest of the school. I was there to celebrate World Book Day 2016 and worked with every age group. A wide variety of excellent poems were written and performed. I had a great time, so thanks to all the staff and pupils for working so hard and for making me very welcome.
In all I visited seven schools just before and during World Book Day Week. Thank you to Abingdon Primary School (Stockport), Gorton Mount Primary Academy (Manchester) who have a fantastic steel band who played for me, Old Hall Drive Primary Academy (Manchester), Alexandra Park Primary (Stockport), Broadfield Primary (Oldham), and (last but not least) Silverdale Primary Academy (Newcastle-under-Lyme).
Thanks also to Authors Aloud who organised a couple of the bookings.
I like playing in the park
I like tig and hide and seek
I like swimming and paddling
I like what I like I do
I like ice cream and Mexico
I like Sealife and Lego
Let’s say hello to our Leo
We like what we like we do
I like flowers and rainbows
I like hopscotch and videos
I like porridge it fills me up
I like what I like I do
I spent a great morning with a fantastic Year 6 class and their poetry loving teacher. I performed some of my poems and then got them writing. We kept to the National Poetry Day theme of ‘Light’ (which complemented the work they’d been doing in science).
As their teacher regularly gets them writing poetry I found they needed very little stimulus. I began with a short exercise based on the senses (e.g. If you could taste light what would it taste of? If you could hear it and it spoke to you what would it say? One answer was I’m faster than you!).
I then gave them a few writing options and suggestions to trigger their poems.
Light Bulb Moment – If you had a bright idea what would it be? What might you invent?
Trick Of The Light – I thought it was a…..(table?, tree? )
But it was a….(dog?, ghost?)
Lights Out – When the light goes
What lurks in the shadows?
Before lunch we managed to hear their new poems and fitted in a Q/A session where they asked me about writing and my life as a poet. A very satisfying morning. Thank you Tithe Barn for such a warm welcome. I left feeling quite light-hearted.
Bernard on the timetable
On Monday I was happy to be visiting St Wilfred’s CE Primary School only 3 miles from where I live in Manchester. The day began in the hall where I gave a performance of poetry and music (great joining in from everyone) to the whole school. After that I joined Year 1 in their classroom where I played them ‘I Like What I Like.’ We then composed a version based on their likes and performed it together.
By the end of the day I’d spent time with every class in the school (EYFS through to Year 6). Loads of new poems got written – class poems, individual poems, poems written with a partner or in small groups (there was a class poem by Year 3 about a big golden bird – not sure where that came from! – which was performed to my guitar accompaniment).
Thanks to all at St Wilfrid’s for the fun and enthusiasm and for a well organised day that whizzed by. Hope to see you all again sometime.
You know it’s going to be a good day when a member of staff arrives just after you with a homemade cake. And it was good. The day and the cake.
Thanks to everyone at Airy Hill CP School, Whitby, for giving me such a warm welcome on Thursday and for contributing to a very rewarding and creative day. I started off by performing to the whole school and then worked with Yr1 and Yr2 where we did class poems. Each class did their own version of my poem “I Like What I Like“. I visited all classes during the day and we gathered in the hall to hear a selection of new poems before school ended.
The poem photographed below, based on “Stig of the Dump“, was written by Year 4/5W, their teacher and myself. I played some music on guitar and said I needed some words to go with it, and this is what they came up with:
My performance as part of St Johns Hall Gallery Open Day on 20th August
Well I know I have been featuring things that have been planned in Barmouth quite heavily, but I have to report that we’ve had a very stimulating and enjoyable 3 days now that they have all happened. Thanks must be made to Bernard Barnes, whose creative vision made it all happen.
On Monday 18th August the two poetry workshops at St Johns Hall Gallery, kindly funded by National Theatre Wales TEAM, went well and produced good work from some experienced writers and others that had never had a go at poetry before. That was followed by a very warm cosy ‘cakey’ evening in the Aber House cafe, which has relatively recently opened and is a very civilised place to have a refreshment break. Mary Howell read so well and put life into the dialogue with her different accents, from her novel Murielle’s Angel. My selection of poems seemed to go down well and even though an adult audience, I was pleased to get the audience participation to Ref Rap.
The procession made it’s way along the harbour, Barmouth
Tuesday was going to be a day of rest, but we ended up going up to the Gallery again to offer assistance with last minute preparations for the Open Day on the Wednesday and I found myself ironing on stage (fabric to make the clothes for giant puppets) and helping out with the tidy up. Followed in the evening by Music Night at the Last Inn, hosted so effectively by the talented Barry Lim (who also danced the Chinese Lion the following day).
Then Wednesday saw us tour through the town, in a magical procession and I got to take lots of photos of it.
One of the giant puppets passing the Last Inn, Barmouth
That was followed by a very varied programme of entertainment, of which I was a part, at the Gallery from 1-6pm (first image) and then a musical evening. All in all a very enjoyable and stimulating few days.
Barmouth is turning into quite the cultural hotspot, that I’m happy to be a part of. Not only am I on the bill at the Open Day of St Johns Hall Gallery on 20th August, and running two poetry workshops there on 18th August, but now I’m also performing in the evening of 18th August at the Aber House Café.
The event at Aber House Café will start at 7pm on Monday 18th August and is free, with the option of buying the usual café fare of drinks and cakes. I’ll be joining another Barmouth-based writer, Mary Howell, who will read extracts from her book Murielle’s Angel – a novel set on the Way of St James, the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
I’m compiling a ‘set list’ mix of old and new poems to perform, some humorous, others thought provoking, and I’m looking forward to meeting a new audience.
I’m reliably informed that there will be Viennese Delights and the very special Tarta Santiago to tempt you (if the literary delights alone are not enough!). So if you’re in the vicinity of Barmouth on 18th August, I do hope you’ll join us.
Address: Aber House, Barmouth, Gwynedd LL42 1DS Map
A cake from the Aber House website
For anyone who may be in the vicinity of Barmouth on Monday 18th August and wants to come along to either the Family Fun poetry workshop at 11am or the one just for adults at 2pm (for more info see earlier post), here is a video of me talking about what we will be doing.