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What It’s Like to be a Poet in Wigan, U.K.: Louise Fazackerley Sets the Scene

By Harriet Staff


Have you ever been to Wigan? At The Guardian, Louise Fazackerley, a poet from Wigan, tells readers what it’s like to be from a town where many artists come from, but few artists stay.

It’s the night before the press event that launches the new vision for BBC Arts and BBC Music. It feels like the night before Christmas. I’m stopping in London at a bijou flat belonging to a fellow Northerner. I forget to congratulate her on its convenient, and probably expensive, location.

She’s a TV producer and her lodger is a dancer. Not the exotic kind. They are both from Wigan.

I’m a poet, still living in Wigan, invited to BBC Broadcasting House because I won the Radio 3 Verb New Voices award. Insert nervous smile. This is massive.

Artists come from Wigan; they rarely stay here. Towns like mine live in the reflected glamour of Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds. Wigan doesn’t have an arts venue. There are few places for artists to converge but there is a thriving poetry scene and a literature festival.

I write about people who struggle to float in our society, people that could come from any small town in the North. These are the things that return to me again and again my writing. I want to share our stories.

Verb New Voices is part of a programme of activities from the BBC to support and develop new talent in the arts. In the North, BBC Radio 3’s The Verb has teamed up with Arts Council England to offer three new writers advice, mentoring and cold, hard cash to write and perform a new spoken word show. This includes a writers’ residential week at Arvon and an autumn broadcast of our work on The Verb. […]

Learn more at The Guardian.

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, June 6th, 2014 by Harriet Staff.