Let me tell you a tale, or two…with a twist of poetry, reviews & more

May 29, 2018 sarahjameswrites


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Forget the royal wedding or football on May 19, I was pleased to celebrate live lit and raise funds for St Paul’s Hostel, while launching my latest novella Always Another Twist and poetry pamphlet How to Grow Matches.

The night started with Sylv Coultier reading a Spanish translation of the pamphlet opening poem Matryoshka Portrait. This was followed by an intermingling of poems and a novella extract from me, as well as poems from fabulous guest poets Holly Magill and Jenny Hope, and Liz Kershaw reading from her newly launched novella The Music Maker.

Charley Barnes MCed the evening, while Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis judged the prize open mic section, with a most majestic poem prize awarded by Paul at Park’s Cafe. I have to admit that I didn’t tell Nina I thought she might have the hardest job of the night…and she did! The open mic was amazing with stunning sets from everyone, including some the talented creative group at St Paul’s Hostel. It was an amazing, amazing night – and a big thank you to everyone who came along and made it so!!!

(from left to right) Charley Barnes, Nina Lewis, Jenny Hope, Liz Kershaw, Holly Magill.

(from left to right) Charley Barnes, Nina Lewis, Jenny Hope, Liz Kershaw, Holly Magill.


Over the past few weeks I’m delighted to have reviewed:

losing interest in the sound of petrichor by Kate Garrett over on Riggwelter;

Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester over on Goodreads;

The Music Maker by Liz Kershaw over on Amazon.

ALWAYS ANOTHER TWIST – audio & reviews

Extract 2: ‘He called, Julie smiles, the gorgeous guy from the library called her…’

Extract 3: ‘“It can’t be!” Julie closes her eyes, then looks again at the pregnancy strip. A blue line. She shakes the white plastic, the line is still there…’


ALWAYS ANOTHER TWIST-Final“…Initially chapters follow the nursery rhyme “Ten Green Bottles” with each chapter presenting a new break, a new problem for Julie to solve. Some are simple: you lose a job, find another. Others more complex…The bottles start increasing when Julie discovers her pregnancy, implying what is broken can be rebuilt, but a rebuilt bottle carries its fault line…

“At the heart of the story is how we allow the views of others to distort the view we have of ourselves. This can be positive when we question decisions and check we’re on the right path. However, it can be negative when we prioritise how our decisions affect others and change them based on unchecked information which may be false.

“Julie is easy to sympathise with: the independent sister prepared to take responsibility and do the right thing, even at personal cost…”

Emma Lee, full review here.


I was delighted to hear that my poem ‘At breaking point’ has won Second Prize in the 2018 FPM Hippocrates Open awards for Poetry and Medicine (generously supported by the UK medical society the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine).

My poem ‘Postpartum’ was also commended in the competition and both poems published in the The 2018 Hippocrates Prize Anthology. The anthology can be purchased here, more on the anthology poets and poems here, and the prize announcement here.

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Lots of fabulous news from the Saboteur Awards this year – check out my V. Press blogpost with all the great V. Press related news here.


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I’m delighted to have:

The Life of a Fish published in The Dark Horse issue 39 in May 2018;
And the words disappear and Skimming Petals published in A Tale of Two Cities Special Edition Contour WPL Magazine Issue 3. (The poems are part of a twin city project linking poets in Worcestershire, UK, with poets from Worcester, massacusetts, USA. I was delighted to work with Susan Roney-O’Brien, with my poem ‘And the words disappear’ inspiring her ‘We loose our thoughts into the space between us, then wait’, and her ‘Landscape’ inspiring my ‘Skimming Petals’;
From The Heart’s Diary (poetry sequence) accepted for publication on Bonnie’s Crew on June 16;
The Grape-Face (flash) accepted for publication on Spelk on July 13;
From Wild Sargasso Seas accepted for Guillemot Press‘s #eel suitcase anthology. (I’m particularly pleased about this because the poem feels the closest I’ve ever come to being able to incorporate experimental elements with a more mainstream style poem in a way that hopefully allows each to also work independently, so that those readers who only enjoy one of these approaches can enjoy the poem without the other more experimental/mainstream elements distracting or interfering with that enjoyment.)

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advert-collab-finalgrad2Thursday, June 28, University of Wolverhampton Artsfest – An Unconventional History of Maidenhood, Mothering and Mistresses

When: 28 June 2018 – 28 June 2018, 7.30pm

At: Tilstone, Arena Theatre, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton,West Midlands, WV1 1SE

Writers Katy Wareham Morris, Ruth Stacey and Sarah James draw on history, literature and art for their poems and narratives about women’s roles and experience in society – now and in the past.

Tickets: FREE – reserve your place at www.wlv.ac.uk/artsfest

Booking link: https://www.wlv.ac.uk/about-us/our-schools-and-institutes/faculty-of-arts/artsfest/registration-form/

Monday, August 20 – Tales Between the Ales night at The Two Towers Brewery, Birmingham

AT: The Two Towers Brewery, 29 Shadwell Street Birmingham B4 6HB

TIME: 7 -9.30pm.

I will be reading at this night of themed poetry (and fiction) celebrating all things to do with the summer: myths, legends, folklore, mischief, magic, and/or personal remembrances etc, with a twist on the subject of summer. Other readers include Colin Ward, Stephen Maguire and Ray Bradnock.

Eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tales-between-the-ales-tickets-46115874823
Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/events/173541293344629??ti=ia

Friday, 12 October 2018 – Evesham Festival of Words Meet the Authors event with Sarah James, Alex Lee Davis and Richard Vaughan Davies

AT: Evesham Library

TIME: 11am-12.30pm

The Evesham Festival of Words event includes talk, readings and Q&A is open to the general public.

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May 2018
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