Monthly Archives: January 2014



Choose me,
You English words’
Edward Thomas

Celebrating Writing, Performance, Publishing, Communication & Literacy in the Cotswolds

A new Hawkwood College initiative led by Kevan Manwaring

‘There is an abundance of literary activity in the Cotswolds, which seems to converge in the Stroud area, perhaps inspired by Laurie Lee and other fine writers. I was called to live in Gloucestershire three years’ ago because of deep fascination with the Dymock Poets (Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke, and others) who lived and wrote in and around the small village in a corner of the county. I was also drawn here because of dear writer and storyteller friends who live in Stroud. Having been a frequent visitor from my previous home in Bath, I decided to up sticks and head for the ‘Wolds. I was impressed by the ‘buzz’ in the town. There seems to be something in the water – with so many writers, artists, musicians, therapists, actors, ecologists, publishers, and visionaries. There is a long tradition of creative activity in the town and area – a healthy ecosystem which, with the Cotswold Word Centre, I wish to celebrate. My wish is to create a platform for all word-based culture in the region – ultimately creating a self-editing listings service for co-promotion, as well as a focus for resources and research. It is essential to not only preserve and promote the Cotswold’s incredible literary heritage, but also sing the praises of the contemporary scene. New voices, new narratives, deserve to be heard. The Cotswold Word Centre is very much about helping people to express themselves through word-based creativity of all kinds (storytelling, poetry, singing, drama, life-writing, novels & short stories, small presses, text-based art, word-inspired movement, literary rambles, meditation techniques, non-violent communication & counselling skills, literacy, and new lexicons that represent the wonderful melting pot of 21st Century Gloucestershire and beyond). There could be no better base for this than the stunning holistic education centre of Hawkwood College – which began as a language school, and which continues to offer a wide range of events, courses, celebrations and talks – many with a word-based focus. Yet the Cotswold Word Centre will be reaching out, to bring some of the spirit of Hawkwood into the towns and villages, as well as having the voices of those communities enrich Hawkwood. It is a conversation of many voices and I am here to listen. Let me hear your words.’

Kevan Manwaring, Stroud



Breaking Bard

Going for a drive in the country

‘The chemistry of poetry…’

Yo, listen up! This is how it goes. A world-weary creative writing teacher called Graham Gray discovering he has a case of terminal boredom decides to venture into the sleazy world of rhyme. He enlists the help of a unpromising student, Gwion Pinkman. Together they compose batches of illicit verse, which they disseminate among the poetically-starved. Haiku is the gateway drug to this dark underbelly. One ode and you’re addicted. Graham Gray is forced to maintain a respectable front – a muse and home to support – while all the time transgressing in realms of the imagination. Writing to the edge, he becomes hooked on breaking literary taboos. Gray and his accomplice at hounded by the threshold guardians of the establishment – the Dull Enforcement Agencies of the status quo – keeping one step ahead. Each week we thrill at their escapades. Gray’s condition worsens – he’s de-composing. Undergoing rhymotherapy, the Chef of words loses his ‘flashing eyes and floating hair, which identify him as a Romantic. He is forced to become a Realist and write painfully self-aware novels about his so-traumatic childhood and the Way The World Is. The laudanum had unfortunate side-effects anyway.