You can now download the stories and poems from the Deadhouse. See blogroll or go to http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/literature/1267.asp


Summer Salon

The Summer Salon last week was on Translations & Transformations. Many faces from the first Salon but lots of new people too. Fascinating discussion. See the new page under Salons for more and to join the discussion.  Also on Twitter http://tinyurl.com/39ehnm4 .

The next Salon on fostering new writing will be in mid-October.

Saturday 15 May was a historic day under the courtyard. For the first time since it was built 200 plus years ago, poems and stories were read out below the waterpipes making their mark on the buried stone. Pauline Melville read us a ghost story starting from Blackfriars Bridge; Mimi Khalvati read a sequence of poems that brought the images and sounds of the river into that subterranean world; Jamie brought Dickens there turning his prose into a poem and then took us an journey, following Dante’s gaze, from underground to the heavens ending with a poem on Uranus; finally I read the story of Richard Gladwell coming as a boy to work in Somerset House in the early nineteenth century and dreaming of escaping to sea, a precursor to my next novel. The audience was great and the atmosphere down in the Dead House wonderful.

The readings were repeated later in the afternoon and will be put on the website soon for others to hear. Listen and then go down there and remember them as the bells ring for the River Soundings installation.

Coming Up

On Saturday 15th May at 1400 we will have four writers responding with stories and poems to the Riversoundings exhibition. I will be joined by Mimi Khalvati, Jamie McKendrick and Pauline Melville. Booking advised at


The next Somerset House Salon will be in mid-June. A summer salon on translations and transformations. Details to follow.

Our first Salon last Wednesday was fantastic. See the post on the Salon page. We will be doing more on different topics. Next one will be in June: a Summer Salon.

This Week

We had our First Story day on Monday and tonight we will have our Salon on ‘Writing without Ink’. There is a short video clip on both events at http://bit.ly/a1x8dv

Coming Up

This month we are planning a Salon to discuss how writers can use the new media of the digital age  to create new kinds of writing.

We will also have a First Story Event where 50 young writers from 5 secondary schools involved in the First Story creative writing project will have a chance to meet each other and participate in a special workshop.