Library Talks – Historical Fiction

The Drowned CourtMy new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is published tomorrow by Impress Books. It covers the years 1107-1121 and focusses on the tumultuous lives of the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys, and the Norman king, Henry I.

I am giving a number of library talks in November in Norfolk and Pembrokeshire to celebrate the new book:

Mon 13 Nov 11am Pembroke Dock Library. Free event.

Mon 27 Nov 2pm Downham Market Library, Priory Road, Downham Market, PE38 9JS. Illustrated talk, £3 including refreshments. Booking essential on 01366 383073.

My guest blogpost on writing the book is published on The Writing Desk.

History Questions

800px-Bertrada_Fulko-Berta
Bertrade de Montfort in the centre with her second husband, King Philip I of France. Her first husband, Count Fulk of Anjou is on the right, and Philip’s imprisoned first wife, Bertha of Holland, is on the left. King Philip and Bertrade were excommunicated for their adulterous relationship. From The Chronicles of Saint Denis in the British Library.

My new historical novel, The Drowned Court, is published next week and a guest post by me on writing the novel is up today on Tony Riches’ blog, The Writing Desk.

‘I approach writing all my novels by asking questions that I have, after researching the historical evidence.’ The questions that drove my writing in this new novel include:

220px-Empress_Mathilda
King Henry I’s daughter, the Empress Matilda, the first woman to claim the English throne in her own right.

Was the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys, lascivious, or a victim, or is there another way to look at her colourful life?

What kind of man was King Henry I and what motivated his relationships with the numerous women in his life: his wives, mistresses, sisters, and daughters?

Why was Amaury de Montfort such a stubborn opponent to King Henry in Normandy?

What would it have been like to be a spy in the pay of the Countess of Blois (King Henry’s sister) at the great abbey of Fontevraud, which was ruled by women, and housed many illustrious, repudiated wives, including Amaury’s notorious sister, Bertrade de Montfort, the former Queen of France?

Current status – art writing in Finland

Frontiers bookletI am currently writer in residence at HIAP – Helsinki International Artist Programme, on the Finnish island of Suomenlinna, working on a project called Frontiers in Retreat.

Frontiers in Retreat is an art and ecology project I have been involved in for the last four years. A series of exhibitions, titled Edge Effects, has just begun and showcases some of the work produced by the 25 artists and 8 curatorial partners in the project:

June-September, Edge Effects at Skaftfell, Iceland; June-August, Edge Effects at Mustarinda, Finland; July, Edge Effects organised by Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Glasgow; July-September, Edge Effects in Aizpute, Latvia, and opening soon online in July: Edge Effects, Farrera, Spain which includes my work, FORD and my interview series with some of the artists. More Edge Effects exhibitions opening later in the year in Zagreb and Seoul.

HIAP has just produced the beautiful booklet above, designed by NODE in Berlin, and edited by Salla Lahtinen and Jenni Nurmenniemi. You can download a free copy here

https://issuu.com/frontiersinretreat/docs/170605_frontiers_content_web_press

The booklet summarises the work of the Frontiers in Retreat artists and partners and is also available at the Edge Effects exhibition venues. It features the photograph below of my installed text work, MEANDA, from the Exoplanet Lot exhibition organised by Maison des Arts Georges Pompidou, Cajarc, last year.

Frontiers booklet2

Open Call – Ecology of Words Workshop – Helsinki

Heap-of-Language
Robert Smithson, A Heap of Language, 1966

Open call for expressions of interest from writers, artists, and others interested in participating in a workshop exploring the vocabulary of ecology, and taking place Sat 8-Sun 9 July 2017. Deadline for expressions of interest: 31 May.

The workshop will set words off on irreverent adventures and explore subversive approaches to lexicons, dictionaries, taxonomies, and glossaries. We will be developing discursive, de-definitions of terms such as nonhuman, entanglement, symbiosis, boundary, interface, mess, remote, dust, toxicity. Other terms for de-definition will emerge during the workshop.

Workshop Leader: Tracey Warr is a writer who has worked with installed text and published books and essays on contemporary art.

Workshop Contributors: Jenni Nurmenniemi, curator at HIAP – Helsinki International Artists Programme, Finland; Jussi Parikka, new media theorist; Antti Salminen, philosopher, poet, fiction writer and literary critic.

Selected texts from the workshop will be included in a book to be published in 2018.

There will be a maximum of 12 participants in the workshop. You must be able to participate fully on both days (10am-6pm). Please email your expression of interest consisting of a one paragraph biography and another paragraph on why you are interested in participating to: traceykwarr@gmail.com and jenni@hiap.fi by 31 May.

The workshop will take place at HIAP on Suomenlinna Island, 15 minutes by ferry from Helsinki. The workshop is free. Lunch on both days and dinner on the first day will be provided by HIAP. The accommodation and travel costs to/from Helsinki are at participants’ own cost. HIAP can support the travel costs of 1–2 workshop participants from outside of Helsinki (within Finland), please e-mail jenni@hiap.fi for more information.

The workshop is part of the Frontiers in Retreat project.