Amanda Garrie – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

Amanda Garrie

 

The Reunion – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

The Reunion

My story is a blend of fact and fiction, based on incidents that occurred within my own family. After meeting a helpful Conan Doyle, Bertie writes a letter detailing how he’s put newly acquired skills to good use. But what will the recipient make of it? There’s only one way to find out.

About Amanda Garrie

Reality is a foggy island to this author, having grown up in a place where the elderly still whispered of witches and skeletons lay on the road for weeks after a road widening scheme. It all makes for interesting writing, though, that promises something a little unexpected.

Amanda gained an MA, with Distinction, in Creative Writing in 2015 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the same discipline. Her MA novel, ‘Fluvial’, currently awaits placement, and ‘The Eldritch Girls’, being written as part of the Ph.D., is in its first draft and due for completion in 2019.

Get your tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 here

Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth

Price: £7.50

Details of previously published work can be found on her blog page: https://shardsfromalongcrackedmirror.com/about/

Recently placed writing has seen her widen her repertoire:

  • The Rheum, an Elizabethan script written as part of the Much Ado about Shakespeare, festival (2016) was published in pamphlet form for Wymering Manor, where it is set. Extracts from the text also being printed on mirrors, as part of an art installation at the manor.
  • A monologue, Something Fishy and a prose poem, No Reason, nor no Rhyme – in artist Jon Everitt’s fabulous book, Octomorphosis (2016);
  • a poem, Counting Games, in the Edward King folder – Portsmouth City Museum (2016);
  • two poems, Beyond and Looking Back, in the Arts Council funded Ferry Tales anthology (2017) and on their website.
  • A further Ferry Tales’ poem The Wight-Link Whale was performed at the launch of the anthology, at The Square Tower, in May this year. She has also appeared as a guest author on Talk Solent TV, discussing news stories of local interest (2016).
James Waterfield's Poison Bottles

James Waterfield: Poison Bottles for Holmes Fest 2017

James WaterfieldHOLMES FEST 2017 – JAMES WATERFIELD MAKE POISON BOTTLES AVAILABLE

With a macabre and slightly gothic twist, Poison Bottles will be available on the night of Holmes Fest, on 28th June.

The idea of Portsmouth artist James Waterfield, these customised bottles of “poison” have unique labels designed and donated by artists illustrating their favourite poison. Who knows what Poisons the artists might dream up? “The Crocodile Tears of Theresa May”, perhaps?

James is sticking each label to one of his customised bottles, filling them with a brightly coloured bubble bath and selling them to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer trust. They look great, have a lovely Gothic feel and add a definite Victorian ambience to the room. They’ll make a great keepsake and, since they’re filled with bubble bath, are useful. And once the bubble bath is gone, if you want to use them to keep your own “poison” – a good whisky, perhaps – then they look great in the drinks cabinet.

Tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 available here

Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth

Price: £7.50

Who knows, perhaps you will need to keep them as evidence if Sherlock Holmes comes knocking to investigate a nefarious crime or two!

Meet the Musicians at Holmes Fest 2017 – Hudson and Lestrade

Janet Ayers and Matt Parsons
Janet Ayers and Matt Parsons

About Hudson and Lestrade

Hudson and Lestrade AKA Janet Ayers & Matthew Parsons perform under many subtly crafted disguises. As Les Kazoos D’amour they have performed over the years at Tongues & Grooves, Lymington Library, Teapoet Collective, Open Word and the Front Room, plus guesting for book launches and community events in Portsmouth.

Matthew Parsons is an Artist http://mattparsons.org/ , Musician and Writer (Dark Cities 2016)
Janet Ayers is a community artist https://www.facebook.com/Southsea-Community-Choir-204761259929574/ Illustrator, Celebrant and Performer.

Get your tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 here
Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth
Price: £7.50

 

Q: “What do you love about Victorian music hall songs?”

The songs are a window into a world that we no longer inhabit. Finding the true meaning of the slang words puts the songs in context and you find they do mock the upper classes, with all the various performers taking on different identities: women dressing as young men, posh ladies affecting a common accent, men dressing as tramps… Above all, we’ve picked the best tunes and melodies and catchy choruses for the audience to join in with.

“What’s the worst thing about them?”

Some of them go on for ever and ever and ever… and lots of stereotyping and sentimentality. Also, not all of them would have been recorded or notated so some are lost forever! Perhaps they were the better songs?!

“If you could be any Victorian, who would you be?”

Matt: Queen Victoria
Janet: Prince Albert

Community choir singing for all over the summer:

If anyone would like to sing over the summer, then please join Sing for Water Portsmouth from Tuesday 18th July for 8 weeks! More info from Janet on contact@janetayers.org or this link only £45 for 8 weeks includes song sheet and audio cd. Raise money and awareness for Water Aid. Performance on Sunday 10th September 2pm outdoors in Old Portsmouth!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1632043353687486/

Les Kazoos

A J Noon – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

A J Noon

The Case of the Shyster Watson – My Story For Holmesfest 2017

 

‘My story for Holmes Fest 2017 is set later in their careers and was inspired when reading through Arthur Conan Doyle’s original ideas for the stories. There is a name in there I hope the Sherlock fans will recognise, a name that ties the piece together. Trying to write a very short detective piece has proved interesting and hopefully I have managed to pull together enough for the audience to both recognise the characters and to tell an interesting story.’

About A J Noon

AJ Noon was and born bred in Portsmouth, and, after an extended absence, returned home three years ago. The history of the area has a firm grip on his interests and when not writing and performing in the area he can be found skulking on the decks of HMS Victory. He writes short stories and is putting the finishing touches to his first novel in conjunction with studying his MA at Portsmouth University.

Tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 available here
Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth
Price: £7.50

Charlotte Comley – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

Charlotte Comley

Any Housekeeper Worth Her Salt – My Story For Holmesfest 2017

Any housekeeper worth her salt knows it is not the number of staff in the household you are in charge of but the quality of the gentleman you serve. My story is a downstairs view of why we should sit back and trust our betters to look after us. Even if we don’t understand there decisions, surely the fact that they have been educated in the right school means that they are always right! Doesn’t it?

About Charlotte

Charlotte Comley is a creative writing group organiser and self employed writer of educational resources. To the outside world she devotes her time to helping with homework, and trying to earn a crust. But in those brief moments of alone time she writes and dreams of seeing her work on a book shop fiction shelf.  Her fiction has been published by Ether Books, Darwin Evolutions, Flash Flood, Chuffed Books, and 1000 words.  Nonfiction work has appeared in  magazines such as The Green Parent, Take a Break, Woman’s Weekly, The Motion Online and Grow It.

Charlotte Comley was one of the writers and script editors of Express FM’s Conway Street, a radio soap airing three times a week for eighteen months. She has also managed to win the odd writing award and came highly commended at The Winchester’s Writing Conference competition for children’s fiction. She regularly blogs at  http://www.charlottecomley.com/ . In 2012 she read at The Umbrella Festival at The Groundlings Theatre, came third place at Alton’s Book Festival The Pint Pot of Fire, at Wordsouth Havant and in the Portsmouth Book Fest 20 x 12. She was short listed for the You, Me and Everyone project in Portsmouth. She has won various poetry prizes at poetry Cafes.

Tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 available here
Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth
Price: £7.50

 

Charlotte’s Latest Book

Zella Compton – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

Arthur – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

Arthur is a light piece about being married to a writer. In it we meet the long suffering wife of ACD, and hear her thoughts on his passion for words. As we hear, the life of being married to the man who would become one of the most famous writers in the world is not all fun. There are, as in many houses, pants on the floor that men ignore!

Tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 available here
Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth
Price: £7.50

 

About Zella Compton

Zella Compton is a playwright, columnist, novelist and occasional poet. She is widely published and a Creative Lab Associate Artist with the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth. Having recently completed a musical commission for Hampshire Music Service – Ambition – Zella is currently funded by the Arts Council as Mary Rose Museum’s Playwright in Residence. She teaches creative writing at the NTR and for Authors Abroad (agency).

In 2017, Zella will be writing a piece about the Mary Rose, and has several other writing projects in the pipeline.

Plays: Five Beaches, How to be a Girl, Genghis, The Girl in the Hood, Brotherly Love, The Devil’s Rope (all published by Resources4drama)

Books: The Ten Rules of Skimming (published by Mogzilla)

Portsmouth Fairy Tales (published by Life Is Amazing)

Print: The News, The Times, The Sun, The Herald, Build It, Golfers Guide to Scotland, Your Wedding, Hiya!, Professional Builders Merchant, Professional Builder plus many more titles.

 

Christine Lawrence – my story for Holmes Fest 2017

Christine Lawrence

Dear John – My Story For Holmesfest 2017

The fact that Conan Doyle spent time in Southsea and he created Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson whilst he was living here inspired me to write my story of sinister retribution, called Dear John. I used the twisted mind of a so-called madwoman to weave this dark story – and I have to add, it’s purely from my imagination. Relatives of Doyle should therefore not be disturbed or offended by its dark tone!

About Christine

After completing an MA in Creative Writing, Christine published her first novel, Caught in the Web. She is now about to finish her second novel, Payback which she plans to publish this year. She is passionate about writing, playwriting, acting and directing, runs the wardrobe at Titchfield Festival Theatre. She particularly enjoys performing her own writings and meeting people. She writes at www.southwickwriterwoman.blogspot.co.uk

Christine was one of the authors involved in the Portsmouth Bookfest 20 x 12, has short stories published in Portsmouth Fairy Tales for Grown-ups, and Day of the Dead. She has performed at events including the Victorious Festival, Portsmouth Plugged-in, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Day of the Dead, I,II and III at the Square Tower and several other locations in Portsmouth, including the Guildhall, The Kings Theatre and the New Theatre Royal. Recently Christine was one of the fourteen writers who took part in the Writing Edward King project at Portsmouth City Museum which received Arts Council Funding. She performed her writing for this project in several venues across the City.

Tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 available here
Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth
Price: £7.50

Caught in the Web is available on Amazon as a paperback as well as an Ebook on Kindle. It is also stocked in Blackwells, Portsmouth, Waterstones in Portsmouth and Fareham, as well as at The Book Shop Lee-on-the-Solent.

St James’s Lunatic Asylum, where Christine’s story is set.

Christine’s Books

 



 

The Hard Interchange railway, 1870s

William Sutton – What I’ve Written For Holmes Fest 2017

William Sutton
William Sutton, internationally published author and storyteller at Holmes Fest 2017.

What I’ve written for Holmes Fest 2017

The story is called “Lawless and the  Pompey Piglets.” I wrote this brief mystery for Portsmouth Fairy Tales [for Grown-Ups]. It features the hero of my novels, Victorian detective, Sergeant Campbell Lawless (known as Watchman because he was formerly a watchmaker’s apprentice).

In Holmesian vein, he is reluctantly drawn out of London by a plaintive letter from Rana Cawnpoor, a young lady sadly entrapped in the fleshpits of Spice Island, her innocence exploited and her honour besmirched. Can he rescue her and her friends, the Flea and the Ladybird?

Tickets for Holmes Fest 2017 available here
Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm, The Square Tower, Portsmouth
Price: £7.50

About William

William Sutton is a novelist, musician and Latin teacher. He has written for The Times, for radio and stage, appeared at festivals from Edinburgh to Eton College, acted in the longest play in the world, and played cricket for Brazil. He writes about language, music and futurology, plays bass for chansonnier Philip Jeays and cricket for Authors CC XI.

He is involved in Portsmouth’s DarkFest, in which he compères Day of the Dead at the Square Tower, and Portsmouth Bookfest, including Valentine’s Day Massacre.

He teaches classics. He has written for radio, stage, The Times, The Author, and magazines around the world. He plays bass in the bands of songwriter Jamie West and chansonnier Philip Jeays. He played cricket for Brazil, and occasionally opens for The Authors Cricket Club.

Historical mystery Lawless and the Flowers of Sin was one of the Mail on Sunday’s Books of 2016. Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square (Titan Books) unearths the stink beneath the cobblestones, while Lawless and the House of Electricity comes out later this year.

“Extravagant and thoroughly enjoyable” Allan Massie, The Scotsman
“An extraordinary novel.” Morning Star

The Hard Interchange railway, 1870s
The Common Hard Dockyard Railway – 1870s

William’s books

More about William

william-sutton.co.uk
twitter.com/WilliamGeorgeQ
facebook.com/WilliamGeorgeQ
pinterest.com/wgq42/lawless-and-the-house-of-electricity
soundcloud.com/william-george-sutton/sets/watchman

Line-up for Portsmouth’s Holmes Fest Announced

Conan Doyle revisiting the site of his surgery, No 1 Bush Villas, Elm Grove, in 1911 – by then a corset shop! (courtesy of the Conan Doyle Encyclopedia https://www.arthur-conan-doyle.com/)

 

10 brilliantly talented storytellers will be joined by musicians, a projectionist and a duellist on Wednesday 28th June at the Square Tower to celebrate Arthur Conan Doyle’s life in Portsmouth.

The writers who will be regaling us with their stories include internationally published authors of Victorian crime fiction, local authors with a knack for spinning the perfect yarn and song writers, too.

The story tellers are:

  • William George Sutton – creator of the Campbell Lawless series of crime novels
  • Diana Bretherick – doctor of criminology and author of City of Devils and The Devil’s Daughters
  • Tony Noon – experienced storyteller well-known for his appearances at the Square Tower’s Day of the Dead event
  • Justin MacCormack – prolific author across genres, with a wicked sense of humour and a sense of the creepy
  • Christine Lawrence – author of Caught In The Web, with a unique brand of story-telling
  • Alan Morris – joyous performer who loves to dress up in Victorian gear and regale us with something unexpected
  • Zella Compton – playwright, short story writer, News columnist and children’s novelist
  • Charlotte Comley – organiser of Lovedean Writers’ Group and one of the funniest, wryest and most brilliant tale tellers in the south.
  • Amanda Garrie – smooth deliverer of intriguing tales.

Find out more about the musicians and the duellists, soon.

Tickets are selling – snaffle your seats at Holmes Fest now!

 

Conan Doyle and the Mysterious World of Light – Introduction

Below is the opening chapter of my latest book, Conan Doyle and the Mysterious World of Light.

Introduction

“How could Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who invented the ultra-rationalist Sherlock Holmes, also believe in séances, mediums – and even fairies?”

That question had for some time been on my mind. Friends I spoke to about it expressed opinions such as “it’s totally schizophrenic” or “he must have lost his marbles when he got older.” With that second statement there often came a supplementary question: “Was he still writing Holmes stories when he believed in this stuff?”

They always looked surprised when I told them he was.

That was the starting point for my journey into the world of Light, a magazine I found in the Arthur Conan Doyle Archives Lancelyn Green Bequest held in Portsmouth Central Library.

Surveying the vast array of Conan Doyle documents they hold there, I wondered how to limit my investigations. Spiritualism is a massive subject, and I don’t pretend to be an expert. I wanted to understand Conan Doyle. I wanted to trace his thinking so that I could track his steps through the Spiritualist world he moved in. Who was he talking with? What was the mood of the time? It was this opportunity the magazine Light provided.

I also decided to read around the subject. As part of my research into the fascinating case of Conan Doyle’s beliefs, I read Daniel Stashower’s detailed Conan Doyle, Teller of Tales and Kevin I Jones’s excellent Conan Doyle And The Spirits. Considering them, I realised they represented the two classes of thinker who stand at either end of the Spiritualist argument: the rationalist and the mystic.

I’d previously read all the Sherlock Holmes stories, a large proportion of his horror tales and historical romances. I was deeply impressed by the sheer energy in Conan Doyle, his wide-ranging imagination and his mastery of language. I got that he had done much psychical research and I understood from Jones and Stashower some of the narrative of his deepening belief in ghosts and spirits.

But something was missing.

I decided to add to my reading by surveying Conan Doyle’s original Spiritualist works on the subject, The New Revelation, The Vital Message and The Case for Spirit Photography, among others.

They are fascinating as works that stand alone, but again they didn’t really answer how Conan Doyle came to be the leading Spiritualist of his age.

So, was Conan Doyle “schizophrenic”, as my friends had put it? I felt it was the wrong question. It revealed little about Conan Doyle and betrayed plenty about the materialist attitudes of my friends.

I wanted to understand the process and logic of Doyle’s beliefs. And I wanted to capture some of the voices of the time and explore the preoccupations of those involved in the vast field of spirit phenomena at the start of the 20th Century. I wanted those voices to speak to me, to tell me with a direct voice how their world and their beliefs had been built. And I wanted to hear from Conan Doyle, from his correspondents and critics directly how he fitted into that world.

As I read the magazine, I realised that is exactly what Light afforded.

I have attempted in this book to be guided by Conan Doyle’s voice and preoccupations as revealed in Light, and use the magazine to introduce me to the spirit of the times. The writings of Conan Doyle published in Light uncover some of the many currents of thinking about Spiritualism during and after The Great War. They trace how Conan Doyle came to be the de facto leader of a world movement into which he threw his extraordinary energies with the ardent fervour of the evangelist.

But Conan Doyle did not exist in isolation. I quote other voices from the world in which he moved. I’ve selected letters and articles in such a way as to paint a picture of the era and its people. The devout and passionate Rev. F. Fielding-Ould; the measured voice of the editor of Light, David Gow; the obdurate and piously narrow-minded voice of Father Bernard Vaughan; the fantastically intolerant Joseph McCabe – all combine to paint a picture of the period.

I am not entirely uncritical. At times, I criticise or analyse Conan Doyle’s thinking and I do comment on it as I try to piece together his thoughts. That said, I am not in any way making a case for or against Spiritualism, but tracing the development of Doyle’s attitudes to show that they made perfect sense to him as a human being at that time, even if there are times when I think he was mistaken.

What I’m saying is I hope I don’t get in the way.

I have learned so much from writing this book, and have come to a much clearer – and I have to say – more sympathetic view of the men and women who drove the massive movement of Spiritualism in the early years of the 20th Century.

I think I’ve done it while being entertaining.

I hope you agree and that you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Thanks!

Matt Wingett, Southsea, March 2015

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