New Writing & Spoken Word

Open Mic – Poetry & Short Fiction – 2018   

Spoken Trend @ Bull’s Head, Kings Norton

Wed 28 Nov – good to be back here at Spoken Trend, compered by the wonderful Tom McCann, with the chance to ‘strut my stuff’ in the open mics.

Headliners Black Country star R M Francis and former Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black both launched their new poetry chapbooks.

It was a quality crowd and good fun, as usual, and…

oh yes, I won a stonking prize in the raffle!


Sat 6 Oct – excited to have the chance to showcase an extract from one of my latest stories at this event on the first day of the Birmingham Literature Festival 2018 alongside some very talented authors and my fellow regional writers from the Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 programme.

This festival event was supported by The Society of Authors and various members from the writing industry in the region were in attendance.

As it was early – 10 – 12.00am – we made sure our wonderful audience all had a hot drink (or two) and breakfast pastries galore!

Jane, really enjoyed your reading. Beautifully crafted and affecting. Tim Stimpson, BBC TV & Radio scriptwriter

Room 204 @ Edmunds Brewhouse

Sat 12 May – back to our usual haunt to share new work in progress with fellow writers, poets and novelists  – some great poetry and short fiction either newly published or in the making, hosted by the profilic writer and journalist William Gallagher with contributions from Mary Williams, Garrie Fletcher, Jasmine Gardosi, and Rob Ganley and yours truly.

Some very encouraging feedback about my new memoir set in Malaysia – people were especially struck by the plight of the giant leatherback turtle.

It was a fab piece, Jane. You’ve educated us about the turtles, so you’ve done your bit for conservation, too. Audience member


Stirchley Speaks @ Artefact, Stirchley

Tues April 3 – always love the open-mic slots at this event. Warm audience and welcoming atmosphere – this time with talented headliners Hannah Ledlie and Tehilah Henry...

It was the perfect environment to  give an outing to my new poems The Prick and Fusion.


Room 204 poets, fiction & script writers @ Edmunds Brewhouse

Spoken Trend @ Bull’s Head, Kings Norton Wed 31 Jan …great to share the same stage as amazing local legend, performance poet Spoz and rising talent Hannah Swings who (with the Birminghan Uni Slammers ) was fresh from winning the top awards at the national UniSlam 2018.


I started the New Year experimenting with some new material and polishing up some spoken word pieces at a reunion with fellow writers in the  Room 204 cohort. We performed our work in our usual haunt to an invited audience @ Edmunds Brewhouse, Central Birmingham – Sat 20 Jan

Slum Songs in the Sun – BBC Radio 4 Extra – Jan 2018

BBC Writing Lives

Brilliant to discover this is back on the BBC – this time on BBC 4 Extra. I first wrote this in 2014 and it has been repeated several times already.

You can listen to it here

feedback from some fellow writers about the story:

Poignant story – elegantly told. Tim Franks – thriller & historical fiction writer

I have just listened to your beautiful story: what a perfect, poignant ending. Olga Dermott – poet (former Warwick Poet Laureate) and flash fiction writer

So beautifully written. Poised, perfectly paced and very well performed, I thought. Louise Palfreyman – short fiction writer

It’s a stunning and moving story. Liz Kershaw – short story writer and crime fiction writer


Open Mic – Poetry & Spoken Word – Winter 2017

What a great winter season for open-mic events. I had the opportunity to strut my stuff on the open-mic floor with some excellent spoken word artists in some of the best Spoken Word gigs in South Birmingham.

Spoken Trend @ Bull’s Head, Kings Norton, November was “a blinder of an evening”...with superb headline sets from Casey Bailey and Theo Theobald. Feedback was very positive.As always, the Open Mic sections were brilliant” – Tom McCann – Host

In December I had a great time sharing new work in Spoken Word, Music, Comedy & More @ The Ort in Moseley – following a live band with some performance poems and sharing the same stage as wonderful poet Matt Black, and storyteller Sharon Carr

Concentrating hard at Grizzly Pear

and here I am… no, not squinting – deep in reflective musings at December’s Grizzley Pear’s – Reflections – presented by Writer’s Bloc @ Bristol Pear in Selly Oak.

I was knocked out by the amazingly high standard of this event, hosted by emerging and established poets at the University of Birmingham.

Headliner Liz Berry was awesome. She is fast making waves in the Midlands for her award-winning use of Black Country language in poetry – “the TS Elliot of our generation”Sean Colletti  


Literary Allsorts – Library Theatre – Oct 2017

At Birmingham Lit Fest October 2017 I was delighted to read my work on stage with a bunch of fabulous emerging writers from the Room 204 development programme at Writing West Midlands.

This early evening show in The Studio Theatre at Library of Birmingham was  one of the literary events that started the festival on 7 October. We shared a medley of fiction, poetry and song to an enthusiastic audience, one of whom said ‘literary stuff isn’t usually my thing!‘ Apparently, after this, she was hooked.

Some of my fellow writers had a preview of our work when we met together at a pre-festival Room 204 event at Edmunds Brewhouse in Birmingham the month before….


Woman on A Sofa – Reflex Flash Fiction

August 2017 It was great to be selected as a ‘favourite’ for Reflex Flash Fiction competition this summer and see it published, especially as I am still a newbie to flash fiction as a form.

Click here to read the story online.

People have asked me if there is a longer story here, and actually there is!!

Yet to be written…


The Last Word – Popshot Magazine

April 2017 – Thrilled to announce that my short story The Last Word is now published in Popshot Magazine – a beautiful illustrated literary magazine that promotes stories, flash fiction and poetry from ‘the literary new blood’. They publish bi-annually and my story is  included in this new 2017 edition.

“it’s an absolute beauty of a piece…can’t wait to immortalise it in print”

Jacob Denno, Editor, Popshot

The story is apocalyptic and set on a remote island off the Indonesian coast. It has been beautifully illustrated, as have the other stories and poems in this stunning anthology. For more information about the magazine see here


Poetry: Open Mic, Theatre and Film

Poems, poems, poems all around...I am currently surrounded by poems I am  reading, writing and performing, whether it be at a variety of open-mic gigs in South Birmingham, performing with talented muscians in Journey of Childhood (a show to raise funds for Save the Children) or playing the feature role in a poetry film written by the very talented Sarah James that was launched at the new art and poetry festival ‘Disappear Here’ in Coventry in March 2017. The project has recently been nominated for a Saboteur Awards – BEST COLLABORATIVE WORK – award.

It was surreal to see my face on the big screen.

Experimenting with the craft of writing poetery, I am indebted to my Room 204 (the artist development wing of Writing West Midlands) for their inspiration and encouragement, especially Matt Black.

At the end of 2016 I had the chance to share the stage with Matt (see above) and debut my latest poems at P Cafe (now Artefact) as part of their regular open mic event Stirchley Speaks.  It was a great evening with some exciting new talent, including Nina Lewis reading from Fragile Houses published by V Press.

New to performing my own poetry, it was a very positive experience and I had some terrific audience feedback for my new poem Spa Head which also attracted some attention at November’s Howl open-mic at The Dark Horse in Moseley. Since that was the chance to share the stage with open-mic headliners Stephen Thomas, Nyandavoh Foday & Raza Hussain it was an exciting evening.

(I loved performing at both events and have already returned to perform a few poems in February 2017.)


Slum Songs in the Sun – BBC radio 4

It was great to hear this story of mine back on the air – two years after the first broadcast.


A Career in Accompaniment – Chez Nous review for V Press 

Here’s a snap of one of my blogs for V Press….in July, 2016

A Career in Accompaniment by Alex Reed draws us into an intimate experience of caring for a lover that leaves your palate aching for tea – strong, comforting tea.

I recommend the high-tannin punch of the mighty Assam leaf, or for the connoisseur, the coppery tones of Sapphire Earl Grey, with just a touch of bergamot and blue malva flowers. Infuse longer for a more robust flavour – you will need it to be strong to help you through this journey of love, loss and challenge in the face of long-term illness.

From a “beery dance” club on a Northern quay to a lonely café table in Padua –the observations of a trip that becomes a fall and then “the trace of a limp” will leave your palate dry. Dry as the “flame licking dry wood” of Reed’s love and stifled rage (in ‘Woken by your Cough’) as he tries to hold on to what he is about to lose…

For more of this blog and V Press publications – see here


Hometown – Chez Nous Review

for V Press – March 9, 2016

Really enjoyed writing a Chez Nous review for V Press‘s launch of ‘Hometown’ by Carrie Etter…

Hometown-001Hometown by Carrie Etter is flash fiction so charged with repressed emotion that you’ll want time to savour all its layers.

Set in the American Midwest, it’s a world of journeys. Not always on the road. Cars get mentioned a lot…as they weave their hidden secrets amongst the ‘neatly trimmed lawn’ and ‘clapboard houses’ of suburbia in the towns of ‘Downs or Towanda Maybe’.

A roadside diner is where you could imagine reading this book – the kind where the waitress lets you linger over the menu.

This is no time for American Pie, though.  You’ll want your coffee strong, espresso style, with dark silky chocolate.  I’m thinking death-by-fudge-cake or pancakes with molasses and a jug of cream on the side…

For more of this blog and V Press publications – see here


SAFE – No 6″ – London (So & So Club)

8 October 2105 this was a great opportunity to help give an outing to my full-length play SAFE in the elegant James Roose-Evans Room at No 6, Frederick Place – an Arts Hub in the city of London, a stone’s throw from Bank tube station. It is the HQ of, and run by The So & So Arts Club and Frontier Theatre Productions. Mouthpiece news with me highlighted

The play was showcased to an industry audience. It gave me the chance to work with Sasha McMurray, an emerging director (from the National and Finborough Theatre) and a talented cast of actors – that included Andrew Wincott (Adam in The Archers) and Jilly Bond (National Theatre, Birmingham Rep, BBC) as well as three exciting newcomers Imogen Wilde, Michael Edwards and Lewis Chandler.

A number of seasoned writers in the audience gave me some very valuable feedback about the play’s development – with the offer from a London based production company to take the story of the leading character into a continuing TV drama.  Watch this space!

Jane, fab to meet you & great to have it in the building. Just the sort of thing we want… I found the play very compelling. The actors were terrific. Sasha did a great job. Very disturbing, challenging material… Well done!

(Jake Murray, freelance director, Frontier Theatre)


Elephant on the Plane @ Birmingham Fest

2nd August… good to have one of my ‘shorts’ in Birmingham Fest 2015 at The Blue Orange Theatre in the Jewellery Quarter. 

The play was one of a programme of shorts selected by local writers as part of Shorts 3 – a regular showcase for new writing.

Inspired by a short story by Ernest Hemingway (Hills Like Elephants) the play explores a conversation between two lovers flying back from a holiday romance in Greece. But can they face the taboo subject staring them in the face?

Birmingham Fest is “a 2 week performing arts festival celebrating the second city’s venues & arts scene. The main feature of the festival is the fringe theatre, where artists and companies from across the UK showcase their work in an exciting two and a half week programme of events.

The festival ran from 17 July – 2 August 2015


Lost in Time – Jump Start

@ The Malvern Cube Worcester, April, 2015

Jump Start Theatre NightMy short play Lost in Time tackles the complexities of a mother and daughter relationship in the face of Alzheimers. It came to life on stage at The Malvern Cube thanks to Jump Start in association with Worcestershire Arts Partnership.

This script in hand performance was part of an evening of new work from emerging writers in the  region. It featured Midlands actors Jo Wilson, Stephan Bessant and veteran performer Margaret Jackman  (Ruth Archer’s mum in BBC 4’s The Archers) and was directed by Worcestershire Arts director Steve Wilson.

Lost in Time succeeded in moving audience members to laughter and a few tears.  I hope to be developing this script further.


Waterfall Glory – Sampad Arts

London, November 2014

I was thrilled to attend the  High Commission of India in London as one of the winning writers selected for South Asian arts Company Sampad’s international writing competition Inspired By My Museum 2013-14.

Sampad - Inspired By My Museum

The poem Waterfall Glory was inspired by observations of a waterfall in the Guinness Museum in Dublin and the journey of imagination this took me on.  It joins the pages of an anthology full of a rich diversity of poetry and short stories from a global mix of writers commemorating the museums of the world.


Slum Songs in the Sun – BBC Radio 4

BBC Writing LivesJune 2014Slum Songs in the Sun is a memoir of my experience in Kenya in 2010 – a very poignant time, especially in light of recent events in that country.  The series Writing Lives was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday evenings throughout June.  It featured the work of writers new to radio, telling stories about their real life experiences – see Slum Songs in the Sun – BBC broadcast

 A friend sent me the link to the broadcast of your wonderful short story on Radio 4 which I listened to yesterday morning with tears streaming down my face.   I can’t tell you how heart-breaking and poignant it was for me. (Medina – a BBC 4 listener)

The production was directed by actor/producer Paul Dodgson for Piers Productions and narrated very movingly by actress Sally Orrock.


Shorts @ Blue Orange Theatre

25 January 2014…a ten minute version of my short script Under The Stairs was given a rehearsed reading at The Blue Orange Theatre in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.

I also put on my acting cap to perform roles in other scripts written by fellow Midlands writers.

Shorts for Web


Room 204 – Writing West Midlands

April 2013 – I was thrilled to be selected as one of 15 writers chosen each year from the West Midlands for Room 204… a writer development programme run by Writing West Midlands.

The programme supports creative writers in the region by helping to develop their skills and talents. It was extremely helpful to benefit from the input they offer of professional expertise, activities, and opportunities for networking with regional festivals and publishers.

For full details of the writers chosen for Room 204 click here


The Glory Hole  – Birmingham Rep

20130504_195444May 2013 – One of my first short scritps was given life as a rehearsed reading at The Birmingham REP. 

The production was part of a programme of new work by writers on The REP’s Write Away course – for 15 new and emerging playwrights in the region.

Midlands professional actors Jilly Bond and Tom Roberts played the roles in this 2-hander to an invited audience – directed by The REP’s Associate Director, Tessa Walker.

The title was reflective of the term that used to used in the 1970’s for a cupboard under the stairs.  Hilariously, we were all oblivious until after rehearsals that the term has a more base connotation in current usage!

Really enjoyed reading your fabulous piece – very powerful and moving.  Tom Roberts – Actor and Director


Cover Up at The Edge – Theatre Fever Festival

Cover Up PosterMarch 2013

I have also been working on the development of my full-length play Cover Up after a very exciting rehearsed reading at The Edge in Digbeth as part of Theatre Fever –  a festival celebrating emerging theatre in the West Midlands in March.

Some amazingly talented actors gave life to this reading at the Space 2 Develop venue in Digbeth, directed by the writer and theatre director Jouvan Fucinni.


The Edge - venue for rehearsed reading to audience

what they have said so far:

“This is an exciting play: intelligent, character driven and full of integrity and power – with political tensions that I admire.” 

Jouvan Fuccini, Artistic Director – Future Theatre.

“After playing Tamara, I want to thank you again for creating such an incredible character.  My fervor and facination were direct results of all the work you had already put into the play” 

Nadia Kemp-Sayfi – Actor

” I  like it hugely.”

Jilly Bond – Actor and Director Tangent Theatre Co.








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