Bad Weather wins first prize in the Weaver Words 2021 literature festival flash fiction competition!

Ten Green Bottles (short fiction) published in Postbox – Scotland’s International Short Story Magazine, Issue 5, Summer 2021.

In the woodshed (flash/drabble) published in The Dribble Drabble Review, 4th issue, Fall 2021.

Sweet Pink (flash) published on Six Sentences.


Waiting Stag highly commended in the Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021.

Along the edge published in the Ginkgo Prize Best Poem of Landscape Competition Anthology 2020 in July/Aug 2021. You can order copies here

Dear Cowboy Hat shortlisted in the Hedgehog Poetry Press Cupid’s Arrow Poetry Competition 2021 in July 2021.

Floundering published on Ink, Sweat & Tears in Aug 2021.

Where earth and air merge published in the Coventry-Cork twin cities Twin Skies anthology in Aug 2021.

Longlisted in MONO sanity-themed poetry competition in September 2021.

Longlisted in the 2021 Lord Whiskey Animal Sanctuary Poetry Competition in Aug 2021.

A video of me reading my poem Tectonic Time has been uploaded to the Poetry Archive‘s Youtube channel here.

A video of me reading one of my senyru featured (spray-painted on streets of Worcester) as part of Arches Festivals’ Same But Different: The City Speaks project, along with some of the other poets sharing their poems, can be enjoyed here.

I’m also delighted to have four poems accepted for the December issue of DREICH.

Add comment September 20, 2021 sarahjameswrites

On the Streets, Making Time and Quiet Celebrations


I was absolutely delighted to hear that my poem Tectonic Time was one of the two winners of the TORCH and Oxford University Poetry Society deep time poetry competition associated with this year’s The Humanities in Deep Time conference.

I’ve also had three haiku (senryu) spray-painted on the streets of Worcester as part of Same But Different, the City Speaks project on Monday, July 19. The poems, two in St Martin’s Quarter and one by the river at South Quay Riverside, were painted using stencils and eco paint. Googlemaps with all the poems’ locations marked as pins and audio recordings of myself and other poets reading their poems can be found here.

More pictures of these can be found on my website here.


I’m really pleased too that my micro Killing Time has won the Tortive Theatre #FlashFiction101 May 2021 competition.

It has been an unusually good few weeks for me on the flash fiction front, as my flash Shivering also won second prize in the Foxes’ Retreat Flash Fiction Summer Solstice Competition.

And, I’m chuffed to have my flash Flamingos in Plastic Heels published in Briefly Writes Zine, issue 5.


I’m proud to have my A Mosaic of Modern Worcestershire, which was part of the ‘From the Art Gallery with Love’ project commissioned by Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, funded by Arts Council England, used as the cover art for the Museums Worcestershire Annual Review 2020-2021. The original full commission here or on my website here.

I’m also very pleased to share three acrylic-based pieces of art with an eco-angle –Loneliness// In the Woods // Blizzard – published in The Lumiere Review issue 5 here. The woman with the red parasol features in many of my images that play with seasonal disturbances.


I was delighted to be invited back onto BBC Hereford and Worcestershire to talk to Kate Justice on the evening show on Tuesday, 6 July. The show is available (for a limited time) on BBC Sounds here. Around 3hrs, 20 mins in, you can catch me chatting about my news on my ‘From the Art Gallery with Love’ project commissioned by Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, funded by Arts Council England. Also, my joy at having haiku spray-painted on Worcester streets for the Arches Festival and about the inspiration provided by the Tortive Theatre #FlashFiction101 competition. I read my ‘From the Art Gallery with Love’ poem ‘Still Splendid’ at 3hrs, 24 mins, 50s in. Then, at 3hrs, 35 mins, there’s my take on getting back out and about as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, plus my reading of my Tortive Theatre #FlashFiction101 May contest winning piece ‘Killing Time’.


Earlier this year, I found out my Nine Arches Press collection plenty-fish was now sold out on the press website!

I thought I was also down to my last two copies here. But then I came across a box of books that I’d taken to a book fair and not unpacked – complete with a handful of plenty-fish! So, if anyone would like one of these last copies, there’s a paypal link on my website here.

(Do also message me on lifeislikeacherrytreeATyahooDOTcom if you’d like this signed or if you’d like to buy a copy of one of my other collections at the same time, so that I can work out a special rate for you.)


Tiffany Atkinson, Lumen (poetry collection, Bloodaxe Books, 2021) on The High Window. I’ve so loved not just reviewing but re-reading this collection since. I’d really recommend it – check out the review for some of the reasons why!


Sunday, 15 August 2021 – Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival – Arrival at Elsewhere

2.20pm-3.45pm on Zoom

Details: here
Tickets: here

I’m absolutely delighted to be reading in the Against The Grain Poetry Press Arrival at Elsewhere event at Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival. I’ll be sharing a section from the collaborative covid-19 poem Arrival at Elsewhere and a couple of my other poems.

Hope to see you there!

Add comment July 22, 2021 sarahjameswrites

A Few Words on Form, Campervan Life and an Artistic Wishlist

The past 15 months have felt more like a decade here. I’ve found writing increasingly hard the longer we’ve been dealing with covid. In part, this is due to a depression-like lack of energy and motivation, along with a sense of what’s the point/what difference will it make in the face of so much loss going on around me.

Many writers I know have felt similarly, especially, perhaps, those who’ve been writing for a while. One of the problems here is that, after so many years of writing, there isn’t much which I haven’t yet written about. This makes finding new and fresh inspiration (rather than simple retreading the same old writing ground) particularly difficult in lockdown conditions, where it’s hard to visit new places or enjoy new experiences. (Though, of course, prompts, workshops, reading widely and researching new topics are ways of compensating for this.)

The other side to this limitation on new experiences though is that I’ve found myself playing with form and formal constraints more while re-exploring familiar themes and subject matter. In the past, I’ve always felt that form and metre tend to force me to compromise too much when it comes to imagery, metaphors etc. (There are poets who seamlessly manage to use form, metre and rhyme without such sacrifices of other elements – at least as far as the reader is concerned – but I’ve never been one of them.) However, this time, reworking topics and interests I’ve covered before, I found that rather than overly restricting me, these external structural requirements have helped me to develop new descriptions and unusual word choices that I might not otherwise have considered. Where this practice will take me next, I’m not sure. But I’ve certainly enjoyed the creative process and hope that it will come in useful in some way once I start writing more again.

Here, the next step on the inspiration front is getting out and about again. Now fully/double vaccinated against covid and with lockdown restrictions being eased, the three most immediate highlights for me have been: hugs with my parents, playing squash again and finally meeting my younger son’s lovely girlfriend.

I’m very aware though that not everyone has had the chance to be vaccinated yet and that covid is still there, no matter how much I wish it wasn’t! However, I’m tentatively looking forward to catching up properly with friends, visiting art galleries again and exploring more in the campervan – a covid-speeded dream/escape from mundanity/practical approach to getting out on more walks and visiting my sons at university. (An unanticipated bonus is that it’s also provided a socialising/drinking venue for my elder son and his friends.)

During the lockdowns, I’ve had plenty of time to think and assess many things, including my personal life priorities, and also coming up with the following artistic wishlist (in no particular order):

1) See and get a decent photograph of a kingfisher
2) Go back to the Poetry Pharmacy in Bishop’s Castle
3) More Timber FestivalHow the Light Gets In and my longstanding favourite Ledbury Poetry Festival
4) Experience and photograph the Northern Lights
5) Visit my sister and her family again in California
6) Experience and photograph Yosemite’s Firefall (a waterfall that looks like fire at sunset)
7) Get my novella-in-flash (see below) published

Some items on this are, of course, more feasible than others, and I’m sure there will many more additions! How have your perspectives/priorities changed? And what’s on your dream list as we emerge, hopefully, from this pandemic?


I’m absolutely delighted to hear that ‘Monday, 12th August: Secrets’ from my collection The Magnetic Diaries (The Knives Forks And Spoons Press, 2015), which was highly commended in the Forward Prizes, has been selected for the Poems of the Decade An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry to be published in September 2021.

I’ve had a slow unmotivating start to 2021, so I’m very chuffed to have my poem Along the Edge was one of twenty long/shortlisted for the Ginkgo Prize 2020 ‘The Best Poem of Landscape’. The landscape poem prize is run with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was judged by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Times Arts Commissioning Editor Jade Cuttle and poet and North Pennines AONB Communications Lead and poet Sarah Hudspeth. The 20 longlisted poems are to be in AONB 2020 anthology published later this year.

Meanwhile, my poem Our Last Summer has been shortlisted for this year’s The Bournemouth Writing Prize Poetry Competition.

Watching Over has been published as part of the TELEPHONE international arts game. (If you scroll down after reading the poem to the map at the bottom of the page, there’s a link (to the left) to the beautiful piece of art that inspired my poem. And the two links to the right are for a stunning piece of music and another stunning piece of art that were inspired by my poem.

And I was very pleased to hear that three of my haiku will be spray painted on the streets of Worcester in July as part of Same But Different, the City Speaks project.


My eco-inspired novella-in-flash manuscript was one of 16 longlisted for the Reflex Press 2021 Novella Award. It’s longish for a NIF, bordering on a short novel-in-flash, so I’ve been busy revisiting the manuscript and thinking about what and where to go next with it.

Seven Things You Must Never Tell My Boyfriend (flash) shortlisted in the Tortive Theatre #FLASHFICTION101 April 2021 competition.

My flash After has been published in Beguiled by a Wild Thing Reflex Fiction Volume Four.

I’m also delighted to have my short story ‘Ten Green Bottles’ accepted for the fifth issue of Postbox: Scotland’s International Short Story Magazine.


I’m absolutely delighted to have three acrylic based eco-inspired art pieces (Blizzard, Loneliness and In the woods) chosen for Issue 05 of The Lumiere Review, due out in June.


Winchester Poetry Festival Hampshire Poet Invites: Words for the Wild Event
Saturday, 10 July 2021 at 5pm on Zoom

Words for the Wild is an online poetry magazine, passionate in its focus on the natural world, and run by writers, Amanda Oosthuizen and Louise Taylor. Readers for this event are set to include: Robyn Bolam, Alison Brackenbury, Sarah Doyle, Kate Firth, Raine Geoghegan, Chrissie Gittins, Suzanne Iuppa, Sarah James/Leavesley, Lisa Kelly, Jane Lovell, Patrick Osada, Elisabeth Sennitt Clough

More information and booking here

Add comment June 6, 2021 sarahjameswrites

Spring again!

I’ve lost track now of how many weeks (months!) it is since my last blogpost. My second lockdown birthday has come and gone. More than ever, life feels like a strange mixture of sadness and joy, dark and light, fear and hope. If nothing else though, the past year has highlighted what I’ve known for a long time yet don’t always pay heed to – the need to appreciate all the good things, however small, especially those that it’s easy to take for granted. Like birdsong through open windows, sunshine on my face, a moment of quiet when life feels frantic, painful or overhwhelming. It’s spring again, regardless of the pandemic, despite the sudden cold and flurries of snow along with the white blossom. Sunshine sparkles through the frost, and my overgrown garden gifts the surprises of primroses, bluebells and dandelions’ long-stalked small suns.

On the writing front, I’m delighted to have had a haiku included in Liv Torc’s Haiflu.3 lockdown poetry-film project Week Eight Haiflu 3.0 poetry film ‘Roadmap Through the Daffodils’ Tuesday 23 February – Monday 1 March 2021.

Also, What we see (flash) published on Fragmented Voices on 12 March 2021.

I’m very pleased too to have my flash ‘Flamingos in Plastic Heels’ accepted for Issue 5 of Briefly Zine (out in June) and my drabble ‘In the woodshed’ accepted for the fall issue of The Dribble Drabble Review.

The Mum Poem Press have now opened pre-orders for the anthology Songs of Love and Strength in which I have a poem, ‘Dents’. The anthology, which can be pre-ordered here, features over 100 poems about many different experiences of motherhood. Songs of Love and Strength is published on 5 May 2021 as part of UK Maternal Mental Health Week, with profits from the anthology sales donated to the PANDAS Foundation. The press has also put together lots of extras, like the personalised contributor image above, the animation below and related merchandise can also be found in the press shop.


Finally, and very importantly, I’m absolutely delighted to have had the chance to read an advance copy of Russian Doll by Teika Marija Smits and provide this endorsement:

“This moving collection is alive with vivid characters and the longing, living and learning of love, belonging, and sometimes loss – in family, friendship, life. Here, Smits’s Russian doll is mother and child, fake news and Death’s toy, all contained within poems as layered and expansive as a set of matryoshka dolls, slowly revealing their secrets.”

Russian Doll is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing here.

Add comment April 10, 2021 sarahjameswrites

What We See by Sarah Leavesley

Fragmented Voices

We see everything, and nothing, at least, nothing we’ve not seen before. Drunken antics are what we’ve traded over the fifteen years during and since college. This time is no different, until we look back later and hindsight creates the signs.

It’s 1am and Harry has a saw in his hands, hacking at his toilet door. Trapped inside, Tom is jangling the handle. Outside, we’re laughing, a red-wine-stroke-pale-lager-flavoured laughter that sometimes catches on our teeth as the saw catches on wood when Harry slides it down the frame, ‘like a credit card’, until it catches on the lock, which still won’t open.

‘Hurry up, won’t you!’ Tom’s voice has risen in pitch.

‘Ok, ok,’ Harry mutters, turning to us with a look of mimed exasperation. We chuckle louder.

Now Harry’s wife, Sofia, and Tom’s partner, Caro, crowd into the hall with the others to see what’s going on, why Harry’s…

View original post 300 more words

Add comment March 12, 2021 sarahjameswrites

Creativity in Lockdown: In Conversation with Sarah James

The Poetry Shed

Looking back to the first lockdown how did it affect you and your writing?

If I’m honest, I don’t really remember a lot of the first lockdown in great detail now. Because of my type one diabetes, I’ve stayed at home for most of the past year even when we weren’t in lockdown, and time has merged into one long splurge.

April started with lost work. I feel like I lost motivation too and have been living life and writing at half-speed ever since. This is partly because of the extra energy taken by worrying about the state of the world (pandemic and the U.S., where I have family) but also because writing hasn’t seemed as important in light of everything else going on.

But I know this is as much about how I feel as the actual reality. I’ve still managed to write, if somewhat sporadically. And I’ve still…

View original post 1,415 more words

Add comment March 1, 2021 sarahjameswrites

News, reviews, recommendations


Post-Everything, Day 186 (flash) published on Flash Frontier in Dec 2020.

I’ve also had a flash On the Filthy Side on Ellipsis, on 17 Feb 2021.


The Secret of Invisibility and The Sleep-Snatcher in SurVision Issue #8 in Jan 2021.

My vispo-influenced poem See in Streetcake, issue 71,part 2 in Feb 2021.

I’ve also had another vispo-influenced poem An amber star taken for Ethel 8, due out in summer 2021.


I’m delighted to have three photos from a series ‘Winter Wonder’ included (page 30) in Littoral Magazine Candlemas issue in Feb 2021.

Another photo, ‘distant light’, is in the blizzard themed issue ix of Nightingale & Sparrow, Feb 2021. The online version can be found here, with my photo in the Creative Non-fiction section between Dagger and Weathering the storm. The print edition is available on Amazon here.


I was really delighted last year to add a few lines to the collaborative Redditch Borough Poem, which has now been turned into a short poetry film here.


I’m absolutely delighted to have reviewed two fabulous recent 4word titles: Pretty in Pink by Ruth Aylett and Every Day I Promise Myself by Rachel Davies.

From my review of Pretty in Pink:

‘[…]Reading and re-reading Pretty in Pink, I found myself underlining so many striking images and phrases. It is impossible to neatly sum up any pamphlet in a review – the poems need to be read directly. But the closest glimpse of the whole of this pamphlet in one snippet is perhaps offered by ‘Anti-Trump demonstration’:

“[…] their electrical shock hits how it is,
burns off dirt and assumptions,
reveals the shine of how it can be.”’

From my review of Every Day I Promise Myself:

‘If I had to pick just one quote that comes closest to encapsulating the essence of the whole pamphlet, it might be the following from the second poem, ‘How To Wind A Fat Gold Watch’:

“Open yourself like a rose that the ladybird will crawl into
then fold your petals around it like a womb.

Empty the lap of your life to make a beanbag soft seat
for a story. Share with her your own story,
the stories of your grandmothers.”

This is definitely a pamphlet that calls to be read, re-read, savoured and shared!’

The full reviews can be found here.


I was delighted to be interviewed by the fabulous Abegail Morley for her Creativity in Lockdown series on The Poetry Shed. It includes some of the ways I’ve got through lockdown, tips for trying to stay motivated and alternative sources of inspiration.

Endorsement for Maggie Mackay A West Coast Psalter (Kelsay Books, 2021)

Last year I was delighted to be asked to read and write an endorsement for Maggie Mackay’s manuscript A West Coast Psalter, which has just been published by Kelsay Books. My endorsement is below and you can buy the collection here.

A West Coast Psalter is vivid with piercing, moving details and vibrant characters. Just as the opening image’s sheets balloon ‘like tides, like sails’, these poems transport the reader across the world and through history, inviting us into childhood memories, wonder-filled glimpses of nature and the knack of many trades and crafts. The lines are alive with breath-taking imagery, atmospheric tones and beautiful, joyous and energetic yet controlled sounds and emotions. Like the suitcase in ‘Sisters’ Song’, Maggie Mackay’s poetry ‘brims with stories | and cotton, needles and threads’ that invite us to ‘keek around the door into dawn’s blether’ and other varied landscapes and lives. ‘Waves on waves linger beyond |the curved earth’, and beyond the narrative arcs and striking gathering of poems in this rich selection. Mackay’s A West Coast Psalter is a fabulous debut collection and a distinctive, unforgettable read.”

Add comment February 20, 2021 sarahjameswrites

Festive greetings & big news to end the year!

Wishing All a Safe & Merry Christmas & a Happy, Healthy & Hope-filled New Year

This poem is in the Christmas anthology from The Poet, 2020.
The photo was taken at my parents’ place near Monmouth in 2019. I’m very much going to miss celebrating with them this year because of covid-19 but looking forward to hopefully being able to see them and all my friends and family properly in 2021.


My big news to end 2020 with is that I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Chaffinch Press CP Aware Award Prize for Poetry 2021. The prize is awarded to a poet whose submitted collection is socially engaged and highlights cultural and/or political injustice towards individuals, gender groups, ethnic minorities, communities or institutions. Both the manuscript ‘Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic’ and this win mean a lot to me, as the poems tackle aspects of life with a hidden disability, as well as elements of sexism, ageism, and generally trying to find a meaningful sense of self and living life with purpose.

Slightly aslant to this but still related, I also have an article ‘It’s Not Personal But… or Getting All Confessional, Subjectivity and the Rejected (Reworked) Manuscript‘ up on The Blue Nib – about writer rejection, how I’ve bounced back from that and some of the ways I’ve overcome the fear of feeling exposed when writing about personal experience.

Meanwhile, my big thanks to Diabetes UK and Balance magazine‘s editorial team for featuring a piece about my type one diabetes-inspired Arts Council England funded multimedia hypertext poetry narrative > Room as the Star Letter in their Winter 2020 issue.


Splattered (photo) is winner of the Poetry and Covid Photography Competition for October 2020;

Kelly’s Key (flash) shortlisted in the Tortive Theatre #FlashFiction101 October prompt-themed competition in Nov 2020.

The Invisible Bruise (short story) longlisted in Cranked Anvil Short Story Competition in Nov 2020.


Sickle Moon Dreams (poem) was selected as one of the 2020 Bards in da Bog poems displayed in local conveniences throughout Shetland, posted on the library web page, shared through the library’s social media and featured on BBC Radio Shetland’s Good Evening Shetland during Book Week Scotland (16 -22 November 2020).

Today’s new #BardsInTheBog poem, also perhaps appearing in conveniences near you, is Sickle Moon Dreams by Sarah James. Tune in to BBC Radio Shetland at 5.30 pm to hear it being read on air. Congratulations Sarah, on becoming a Bard in the da Bog! https://t.co/eBgYFIlT9S pic.twitter.com/ycGvqkLCYg— Shetland Library (@ShetlandLibrary) November 17, 2020

Sea Glass (poem) on One Hand Clapping in November 2020.

The Hedgerow’s Song and The year everything stops except the seasons (poems) published on Poetry and Covid in October 2020.

Perturbing Paws for Thought (poem) published in Purrfect Cats (Dream Well Writing Ltd) in October 2020.

Another Shell (poem) features in Episode 2 of Salon B podcast at Berghan Books, which can be listened to here. (My poem is the final item on the podcast.)

Because One Thing Leads to Another an article on writing life, including creative flow, space leading to inspiration and fear as a challenge to be embraced, published in The Blue Nib (online and print versions) Issue 44 in December 2020.

It’s no secret that the environment and climate change have come to pre-occupy me (and my creative work) lately – as they should all of us. I also have to confess to coming to love nature a lot later on in my life than many people, having spent my twenties and early thirties pre-occupied with work, then children. My enjoyment and interest is perhaps the stronger though for having come to it through walking and cycling in the countryside and more rural areas as my most effective way of dealing with depression and as an escape from personal pain. Anyway, that background revealed, I’m delighted to have two pictures included in the Wood People Connective’s new online tree gallery here.


Writing Life a poetryfilm about a writer trying to capture the essence of life, and its beauty, in just one poem was selected for the Big Picture Festival 2020. The film is based on a poem first published on Irisi magazine.


I’m absolutely delighted that my videopoem Winter has been chosen as the Artists For A Better World International “Poetry of the Month” selection here. Although I’ve been working in poetry and film for about a decade now, this is my first video poetry success and was directly inspired by taking part in the Zebra Poetry Film Festival inspiring and informative Masterclass with Tom Konvyes last month.


I’m delighted to have two poems accepted for Highland Park Poetry’s Daily Poems. Viral Infections features in November and Stacking Up in December on Facebook. The poems are then be included on “Daily Poem” Gallery throughout the following month with all the other poems from the month.

Post-Everything, Day 186 (flash) for the ‘doors’ theme issue of Flash Frontier.

What We See (flash) for Fragmented Voices in March 2021.

Add comment December 23, 2020 sarahjameswrites

Some disappointment/anger but lots to feel thankful about

Things here have been busy the past few weeks. Until last week, I would have said mostly in a good way, work-wise at least, and despite Covid-19. (For happy news only, please skip the next two paragraphs.)

However, there’s been a significant number of cases of Covid now at my sons’ high school, where each of their ‘bubbles’ are 300+ pupils – in contrast to the voluntary self-isolation that I and my family had chosen to maintain after lockdown. Although age is on my side, my type one diabetes makes me vulnerable, so I feel especially frustrated with the lack of safeguarding – putting staff, pupils and their families at risk through the schools. Meanwhile, both of my sons are in big exam years – with all the current gaps/disruption in teaching and uncertainty about exams/assessments/university hanging over them…

It’s definitely true that a crisis can bring out both the best in people but also highlight the worst aspects of society. Already underfunded and underpaid even before the extra pressure and workload from Covid-19, school staff, like those in the NHS, continue to cope and deal with things on the frontline, working long hours, with nowhere near enough support, equipment, facilities…

If you’ve come to my blog though, it’s unlikely you’ve come to hear about this, so I am going to set this aside as much as I can for the rest of this post – just know that I’m in total solidarity with anyone feeling a similar way right now!

On a personal level, I’m extremely grateful that my family and friends are still safe and well at the moment. In both my personal life and work-wise, I’m trying to focus even more than usual on the positive, as a distraction to the bad, because there doesn’t feel much else I can do right now and also because these are the things that life is really about.

My big gratitude and thanks therefore to all the people involved in making the following projects, competitions and publications possible – and to all out there fighting for the arts and literature right now, as well as all those still facing Covid-19 on the front-line.


I’m delighted that my poetry manuscript Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic is one of five shortlisted for the Chaffinch Press CP Aware Award Prize for Poetry 2021. The prize is awarded to a poet whose submitted collection is socially engaged and highlights cultural and/or political injustice towards individuals, gender groups, ethnic minorities, communities or institutions. Both the manuscript and this shortlisting mean a lot to me, as the poems tackle aspects of life with a hidden disability, as well as elements of sexism, ageism, and generally trying to find a meaningful sense of self and living life with purpose. So, please keep your fingers crossed for me for the next stage.

My environmentally themed, politically-edged, experimental/vispo-influenced pamphlet Rain Falling Fast As Light was longlisted for the Paper Swans Press Pamphlet Prize 2020.

Too Fast (poem) was shortlisted for the Parkinson’s Art International Poetry Competition 2020.

The Last Night Shift (flash) was shortlisted in the Tortive Theatre #FlashFiction101 September prompt-themed competition.

Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition Shortlisting

I’m absolutely delighted that Andrew Curtis’s poetryfilm version of one of my poems, A Plague On All Our Houses, is one of 38 poetry-films (from 14 countries) shortlisted for the 2020 Ó Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition. The shortlist was chosen from 288 entries received from 49 countries. The shortlisted films will be streamed online on Sunday, 29 November 2020, over two screenings at Ó Bhéal’s 8th Winter Warmer Poetry festival, via Vimeo Livestream. Access to the entire festival will be free to the public and A Plague On All Our Houses is scheduled for the 2pm screening.


I’m delighted to have my first festival screening as a poetry filmmaker! The news that one of my poetryfilms is to be included in the 2020 International Film Festival of Thuringia this October is especially amazing as I had originally been due to talk about and share one of my other poetryfilms this autumn at the Swindon Big Poetry Weekend festival, unfortunately postponed because of Covid-19.

The 2020 International Film Festival of Thuringia is an online festival from 22-24 October 2020 and my film Women Not To Be has been selected to be part of the Women in Resistance program. Women in Resistance demonstrates the central role of women’s narratives and feminism in today’s poetry film and video poetry. Besides the online screenings, there will also be a program of live streams during the festival. Women in Resistance will stream on November 2, at 6 pm (CET) and all of the movies will be available for three weeks, from October 22 to November 12, on the festival website www.poetryfilmtage.de within a password-protected area to make sure that all festival guests have sufficient time to watch individual programs and films. The ticket for entering the site costs 10 Euro and can be purchased from September 15 to November 12.


My Mosaic Modern Worcestershire for Worcester Art Gallery’s From the Art Gallery with Love x project is now live on the Museums Worcestershire website. This includes A Modern Mosaic of Worcestershire (using photographs for the tiles), a hypertext poem and a poetryfilm. All three parts of the project are inspired by Worcester City Art Gallery’s painting A Prospect of Worcester from the East (c. 1750 and attributed to John Harris the Younger). The work was produced for Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum (part of Museums Worcestershire) as the commissioner for the “From The Art Gallery With Love x” project, kindly funded by Arts Council England.


I was delighted to be the judge for Gloucestershire Writers’ Network poetry competition 2020 with a theme of ‘My World’ and had a delightful start to August immersing myself in the entries. The results can be found on the GWN website here.

The prize winners’ event was at Cheltenham Literature Festival at the start of the month. Although I wasn’t able to be there in person, I was delighted to hear the winning poems through the festival’s online Screen on the Green, and to do a reading of some my own poems.

My big congratulations to the winning poets and fiction writers, and to everyone who entered in a year where Covid-19 has had a massive effect on us all. I’m very much looking forward now to the winners’ anthology. (And very delighted too to have been asked to contribute a couple of poems, The Rain’s Tale and At Night myself.) The My World — Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Competition Anthology 2020 is available from Black Pear Press here.


Making > Room an article and photo about my hypertext poetry project > Room published in The Poetry Society’s Poetry News Autumn 2020.

My review of Pascale Petit’s Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe, 2020) published on The High Winndow.

Twist (poem) published in 14 magazine Series 2, Issue 1 in October 2020.

That first hunt (poem) published in The High Wolds Poetry Collection 2020 in October 2020.

The Darkest Well (poem) published in Deep Time: Volume 2 (Black Bough Poetry) in October 2020.


I’ve found it harder than usual to feel motivated to write the past six months, unless I have a work deadline or commission to focus me. However, Ledbury Poetry Festival’s free Segments (monthly/4weekly) zoom workshops run by Sara-Jane Arbury have been amazingly inspirational – finally getting me back into a zone this autumn where I’m not only writing but really enjoying that writing. I’m extraordinarily thankful to have found these and signed up for them. What’s more the prompts for past sessions are also available online – though, if you can, I’d still recommend signing up for the live Zoom sessions to really get the most out of them! You can find more about them here.


So I’m lucky to have some rays of writing light to take my mind off Covid-19. Most writers and artists that I know have lost work because of the pandemic, though this, of course, pales besides those who have been ill or lost loved ones to the virus. I am fortunate to have kept safe, so far.

This time last year, I was excited after hearing that I’d got a month’s paid residency at The International Writers’ and Translators’s House in Ventspils, Latvia. I would have been travelling out there for four weeks of pure research, writing, literary immersion this December. I wasn’t surprised, given the global situation, to hear that this won’t now be happening. To be honest, even if it had been possible on the Latvian end, I don’t think that I would have felt safe going out right now, given the pandemic and my type one diabetes. But the fact that this wasn’t unexpected doesn’t make it any the less disappointing. Hopefully, the residency is postponed rather than cancelled, but until exactly when is, obviously, very much up in the air. And, of course, many other writers will have been similarly affected over the past six months and winter months to come.

And here’s hoping that’s the worst of the bad news over the coming months.

Love and strength to all, and creativity and inspiration vibes to my writing and artist friends.

Add comment October 25, 2020 sarahjameswrites

Film festival, the BBC, Lines of Love, review & competition joy!


I’m delighted to have my first festival screening as a poetry filmmaker! The news that one of my poetryfilms is to be included in the 2020 International Film Festival of Thuringia this October is especially amazing as I had originally been due to talk about and share one of my other poetryfilms this autumn at the Swindon Big Poetry Weekend festival, unfortunately postponed because of Covid-19.

The 2020 International Film Festival of Thuringia will be taking the form of online festival from 22-24 October 2020 and my film Women Not To Be has been selected to be part of the Women in Resistance program. Women in Resistance demonstrates the central role of women’s narratives and feminism in today’s poetry film and video poetry. Besides the online screenings, there will also be a program of live streams during the festival. Women in Resistance will stream on October 23, at 6 pm (CET) and all of the movies will be available for three weeks, from October 22 to November 12, on the festival website www.poetryfilmtage.de within a password-protected area to make sure that all festival guests have sufficient time to watch individual programs and films. The ticket for entering the site costs 10 Euro and can be purchased from September 15 to November 12.


I’m really delighted to share the news that my multimedia hypertext narrative > Room has been reviewed on Sabotage Reviews.

“[…]This plays into one of the most fruitful ambiguities of > Room, the ambiguity of the internal and external. It’s a testament to James’ writing that this slippage between the body of the poem, the body of the speaker and their mental state itself, seems an organic part of the claustrophobic structure of the poem.

Reading > Room, I felt like the goal of the navigational aspect of the reading was escape, and the end engages with that drive through QR codes in a way I thought was fantastic. Discussing it here might feel like a spoiler so I won’t.

Enter > Room here http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=12304

Harry Buckoke, Sabotage Reviews, full review here


I was chuffed to be invited back onto the Kate Justice evening show on BBC Hereford and Worcester on Tuesday, 8 Sept to share two of my poems and to chat about poetry, creativity in these ongoing Covid-19 times and my new commission for Worcester Art Gallery. The show is available to listen to online on the BBC for 29 days after the original broadcast here and I’m on first at around 3hrs 21 mins in, then again at around 3hrs 45 mins in.


The last six months have been tough, and it feels like the winter ahead is going to be tougher than usual, given the ongoing Covid-19 situation. So I decided to cheer myself up, and hopefully others too, by putting together a little something that is light-hearted and warmth-filled.

Lines of Love is a short online (hypertext) magazine style questionnaire that ends with a love poem recommendation. The project was inspired by a similar questionnaire that I put together a few years ago for my role as a library poet in residence – focussing too on love of books and libraries. I was also asked to play a fun ‘love laureate’ role at a local couple’s wedding using a similar questionnaire with recommended love poem, and also using some of the responses to create a crowd-sourced poem for the happy couple.

The free online version only takes a few minutes and can be found here: Lines of Love. Take a look, feel some love, get a love poem and if you enjoy the experience, please do share with friends too.


Another Storm (flash) shortlisted (and published) in the Tortive Theatre Flash Fiction 101 August competition in Sept 2020;

After (flash) longlisted (and published) in the Reflex Fiction Summer 2020 Reflex flash fiction competition in Sept 2020.


Coming to Terms with Trying to Make Your Name or The Anguish of Author Biographies published on The Blue Nib in Sept 2020.


Autumn and Covid-19 have me approaching full-on hibernation mode now. The great thing about this mood though is that it’s perfect for curling up indoors with a good book.

I’m delighted to have a review of the Maria Taylor’s Dressing for the Afterlife (Nine Arches Press) up on Everybody’s Reviewing here.

Add comment September 27, 2020 sarahjameswrites

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October 2021