Saturday, May 30, 2009
SONALI BHATTACHARYYA wrote the episode of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Friday 5th June.
LUCY BLINCOE wrote the episode of Doctors "Musical Bumps" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Tuesday 2nd June.
MICHAEL CHAPLIN wrote the episode of Robin Hood "A Dangerous Deal" going out on BBC1 at 7:25pm on Saturday 30th May.
PAUL COATES wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Tuesday 2nd June.
ADRIAN FLYNN'S dramatisation of the late Siobhan Dowd's novel for young adults, 'Bog Child' has just been published by the Oxford University Press.
MARCELLA FORSTER'S Daddy's Girl won the award for Best UK Short at the British Film Festival in Los Angeles.
SIMON FRITH wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 31st May till Friday 5th June.
PETER GIBBS wrote the episode of Heartbeat "School of Hard Knocks" going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Sunday 31st May.
ROB GITTINS wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Monday 1st and at 7:30pm on Tuesday 2nd June.
TOM GREEN'S radio drama The Tent will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Monday 1st June. It can also be heard on BBC iPlayer.
MARK GREIG wrote the episode of Ashes to Ashes going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Monday 1st June.
DAVID LANE wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Wednesday 3rd June.
JANE MARLOW wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Thursday 4th June.
MAEVE MURPHY who wrote and directed Beyond The Fire, a love story dealing with an Irish man in London coming to terms with religious sexual abuse. Beyond The Fire won the BEST UK Feature at the London Independent Film Festival and will open in the ICA on the 17th June as part of the New British Cinema Season and run in the ICA and the Roxy in London until June 22nd and the selected dates across the UK.
DAVID NOBBS co-wrote the episode of Reggie Perrin going out on BBC1 at 9:10pm on Saturday 30th May.
JULIE PARSONS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Monday 1st June.
MARTIN RILEY wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV12 at 7:00pm on Thursday 4th June.
BILL TAYLOR wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Friday 5th June.
MARK WADLOW wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Friday 5th June.
NICK WARBURTON'S radio play On Mardle Fen will be going out on Radio 4 in four parts. The first (Top Dog) will be going out at 2:15pm on Friday 5th June.
PETER WHALLEY wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 1st June.
CG WILSON'S new stage play Mary Slessor: Great White Ma has just been published by New Theatre Publications ISBN 9781840947182. It is a true dramatization of the life of the unconventional tiny Scottish missionary, Mary Slessor, who lived and died in Africa (1870-1915) (Calibar, Nigeria) promoting women's rights.
Friday, May 29, 2009
“[Warner Bros. Animation] had been going through some ideas for Green Lantern stories and none of them were quite working out,” said screenwriter Alan Burnett. “So, I just pitched it to them in one line, ‘Have you ever done Green Lantern as Training Day?’ with the idea of the Denzel Washington role being Sinestro. They said, ‘That sounds pretty good — start writing.’ And that’s how it began.”If only all pitch meetings were like that.
Green Lantern: First Light will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in America in July. No information about a UK release yet.
I was particularly struck by this comment from Ceri Meyrick:
Again, as last year, it was often the theatre play scripts that stood out for their originality, maybe because writers felt they had more freedom with the format. There were certainly many technically competent television screenplays, but some of these told rather boring stories, or that simply wallowed in depression.It would be interesting to know how many of the successful Writers' Academy applicants have come from a theatre background. Would aspiring screenwriters be wise to spend as much time writing stage plays as scripts?
Thursday, May 28, 2009
“I am an addict,” she says, before grabbing my hand. “I love watching crime drama and supernatural stuff on TV, darling. Some of it is fantastic, like Prime Suspect.” She pauses, appearing to choose her words carefully. “But a lot of it is shit. I don’t see why people in this country feel as though they have to spend lots of money on period dramas in order to make a good drama. Why not just use a good script?"The Take, adapted by Neil Biswas, will be on on Sky 1 next month.
What were your visions for the show when you took the reins?Meanwhile, on The Guardian TV blog, Daniel Martin pays tribute to what Kirkwood achieved.
"I know I've said it on numerous occasions, but I think it was a show that was in brilliant shape when I inherited it, so therefore you don't want to make big, key changes to something that works. However, I think there are things coming up over the course of the summer and into the rest of the year that show certain changes in terms of style and the way we perhaps tell stories."
His combination of lightning-fast storytelling, genuinely ambivalent lead characters and absurdist fantasy has made it more than a soap. He even made a decent fist of the feared Late Night spin-offs. Skins had a better press campaign, but Nu-Hollyoaks broke more ground, and in more compelling style.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Sky Arts Theatre Live! will see six highly successful authors make their debuts as playwrights collaborating with lauded directors and high-profile actors to create original plays, performed to a live audience in the purpose built Sky Arts Theatre Live! studio. The Sky Arts Theatre Live! company is led by artistic director Sandi Toksvig, and includes author Kate Mosse, actress Pauline Collins and director John Alderton.Blogging for The Guardian, theatre critic Michael Billington welcomes the initiative but wonders why none of the writers are playwrights.
I'm all for widening the pool of dramatic talent, but writing a 30-minute play is a special skill that even hardened practitioners find difficult. And, while it's good to encourage novelists to write plays, there are surprisingly few notable precedents. It was one of George Devine's aims, when he set up the Royal Court in 1956, to get writers such as Angus Wilson, Nigel Dennis and Doris Lessing to turn their hand to drama. But it never quite worked. And if I were Toksvig, who seems to be the brains behind the current enterprise, I'd have turned to some of the abundant young talent knocking around the British theatre, such as Laura Wade or Alia Bano, as a source of supply.
The job of a book publicist is a thankless one. If a book does well, the author gets the credit. If it fails to get attention, it’s the publicist’s fault. The publicist’s job is the opposite of the editor’s. The editor’s role is to be invisible. For the publicist, the more visibility, the better. That means connecting with writers, broadcasters, bloggers, critics, editors — right down to readers.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In just under a month’s time the new novel will be published. The finished copies arrive from the printers this week, and then I’ll be invited to actually leave the house and promote.
In the four years since the publication of my last book I’ve been writing screenplays, and it seems that I very rarely get invited to anything. Screenwriters are famously held in low-regard in the industry and, equally famously, never stop moaning about the fact.
Unless he or she is one of a very select group, the screenwriter will wait in vain for their invitation to Sundance or Toronto or Cannes. On the rare instances that I’ve attended press junkets, I’ve sat entirely mute at the end of the table. At the premiere of my first ever produced screenplay a publicist asked if I wouldn’t mind stepping away from Sharon Stone. Instead I was placed at the very end of a long line while the photographs were taken. I smiled of course, delighted and surprised to be there, but unless that was a very, very wide-angle lens, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in the picture.
Actors are to launch a “high profile campaign” in a bid to make performers’ credits more clearly legible after TV shows and on internet broadcasts and computer games.
While motions regarding the broadcast of credits have been raised before, this will be the first time Equity has launched a public campaign to “publicise the damage this is doing” to actors.
In October there’s a ping on my computer and I discover I have been selected as one of the eight elite in the advanced section. Another bonus is it is totally free: flights and accommodation in a five-star hotel in Evian, on the French side of Lake Geneva, are generously met by the organisation.Applications are currently open for the 2009 workshops - closing date 15th June 2009. Full details: www.equinoxetbc.fr
Established, like Moonstone, on the model of the Sundance screenwriters’ labs, the structure of the week-long programme is simplicity itself: each writer gets a one-to-one morning or afternoon session with around half-dozen of the advisors. I’ve worked with a maximum of three story editors on a screenplay, which I found fried my head, so six (or more) diverse points of view is going to be tough; this is why the programme requests second draft scripts. Luckily there’s a lot of champagne, good food, a sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room - in a complex that has hosted Bush, Blair and Zidane - to act as punctuation to the sessions.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Stephen Fry has criticised the handling of television writers during filming of their scripts, claiming they are “treated like dirt” and excluded from a large part of the production process.
Fry described writers as “passed-over creatures” when work starts on a drama they have penned, and said directors in particular tend to forget how integral the script is to the drama they are working on.
“They [writers] are often not welcome on set, not invited to screenings and are treated like dirt. Once they have finished their script it is not theirs anymore. It’s taken away from them and a huge group of people make what they have written, so they are kind of forgotten and a director will forget that he didn’t write it,” he said.
For the Writers Guild of America West, Dylan Callaghan talks to the writers of Terminator Salvation, John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris.
John D. Brancato: I think we needed a whole new way in -- a whole new franchise character and a whole different approach to telling the story. We wanted to take a character from our world, the present day, and deposit him in this post-apocalyptic nightmare. We wanted him waking up to this and not knowing where he is -- if he’s alive or in hell -- and then reveal the world through his eyes.
That’s really what enables this story to unfold -- that we have this character that starts out on death row, about to receive a lethal injection and then wakes up in a new world 20 years later and tries to make heads or tales of it.
Michael Ferris: From there the fun thing to think about is what is Skynet’s ultimate agenda? Beyond just wanting to destroy man, what is this sentient computer network ultimately after? That’s something that really wasn’t addressed in any of the first three movies.
Friday, May 22, 2009
MARK BURT wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Friday 29th May.
PAUL COATES wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Tuesday 27th May.
SIMON CROWTHER wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Tuesday 26th May.
MARY CUTLER wrote the episode of Falco: Poseidon's Gold going out on Radio 4 at 7:45pm on Monday 25th May.
TIM DYNEVOR wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Friday 29th May.
DAVID EDGAR'S new radio play, Something Wrong about the Mouth, was last Saturday's Play on BBC Radio 4. There is one more day when it can be heard on the Listen Again section of the BBC website.
JIM ELDRIDGE'S new comedy children's novel DISGUSTING DAVE AND THE FARTING DOG is now in the shops. Published by Hodder Children's Books at £4.99. Prepare to be grossed out.
PAUL FARRELL wrote the episode of Primeval going out on ITV1 at 7:20pm on Saturday 23rd May.
RACHEL FLOWERDAY wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Thursday 28th and at 8:00pm on Friday 29th May.
SIMON FRITH wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 24th till Friday 29th May with each episode being repeated the day following its original release.
JAYNE HOLLINSON wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 25th May.
MARK ILLIS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Monday 25th May.
MARTIN JAMES and ALICE NUTTER co-wrote the episode of Casualty "With This Ring" going out on BBC1 at 9:05pm on Saturday 23rd May.
PETER KERRY wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Thursday 28th May.
PAUL LAVERTY wrote the screenplay for Waiting for Eric, his latest collaboration with the director Ken Loach.
RIK MAYALL has started shooting a new comedy film called Just For The Record alongside former A-Team star Dirk Benedict.
DAVID NOBBS co-wrote the episode of Reggie Perrin going out on BBC1 at 9:30pm on Friday 29th May.
MARY RENSTEN'S play, My Very Own Antiques Roadshow, has its premiere at the Society of Women Writers and Journalists Summer Festival on June 4th.
PAUL ROUNDELL wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Tuesday 26th May.
SHELAGH STEPHENSON'S dramatisation of The Siege of Krishnapur concludes on Radio 4 at 9:00pm on Saturday 23rd May.
TOM STOPPARD's play Arcadia opens at the Duke of York's Theatre, St. Martin's Lane, next Wednesday 27 May and runs until 12 September.
JOE TURNER wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 8:30pm on Monday 25th May.
COLIN WYATT wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Monday 25th and at 7:30pm on Tuesday 26th May.
Talks are underway between YouTube and BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the corporation, that could see shows like Top Gear and Torchwood become available on the site in their entirety.It's not clear how realistic this prospect is, however. Surely the BBC would start by putting content for an open-ended period on its own iPlayer - and even that would, I believe, require new agreements with rights-holders (including writers, c/o the Guild).
If the new highly anticipated deal is struck, viewers will be able to for the first time access former BBC shows in full, as opposed to short clips, for an open ended period.
Update: see comments below from Gail Renard, Chair of the Guild's TV Committee
Full details can be found on the Guild website.
A visit to London a couple of years ago, and the sight of the vast Westfield shopping centre obliterating bits of Shepherd's Bush that he knew well, made him want to reconnect with the country that remains at the centre of his imagination. "I wanted to re-engage with a London that I felt I was drifting away from," he says.
The result is a portrait of three generations of Britons - his parents', his own, and that of the children he never had; a book at once intimate and broad; small lives on a big canvas. "I could see an older generation who had grown up with one conception of what Britain was. That generation's - both black and white - conception of Britain is very different from my generation's conception of Britain, and in turn the new generation of kids have an entirely different conception of Britain and a different conception of self as a result. It was an interesting moment to be able to see three different ideas of Britain trying to grapple with each other and occupy the same space."
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Whether or not my book is respectful, however, has little to do with the real issue here. For, although the extremists lost in court, they have apparently won where it really counts — in the UK’s book stores.She calls for public support similar to that offered in Serbia where the book has now been published.
After Gibson Square’s publisher announced, a couple of weeks after the arson attempt, that he was indefinitely postponing publication of “The Jewel of Medina” — following in the footsteps of Random House in the U.S. — I awarded world English publication rights to Beaufort Books, my U.S. publishing house whose publisher and small staff have supported my book unwaveringly, despite hate mail, lawsuit threats, and Mr. Choudary’s own assertion that not only I, but my publishers, might deserve to die.
Beaufort publisher Eric Kampmann and associate publisher Margot Atwell headed to the London Book Fair in April with a full display of “The Jewel of Medina” and confidence that they would find the right distributor to supply stores in the U.K. with the book. But — no. Everyone, it seems, is too afraid.
"Use it, or lose it,” the saying goes. Extremists are using — abusing, even — their right to free speech. Now it’s time for the rest of us, including moderate Muslims and the press, who cherish our culture and our freedom, to raise a cry louder than that of radicals, so we don’t lose that most precious, and crucial, of freedoms.
The Federation for European Screenwriters (FSE) has published a leaflet entitled Effective State Aid for Screenwriting and Development (pdf).
The leaflet argues that "There is an urgent need for state funding agencies and related government policies to put in place structures – legal and administrative as much as financial – which will support the development and expression of creative talent, which will promote writing and writers."
The FSE leaflet points to campaigns in Ireland and Germany for writers gaining more access to development funding and concludes with the following recommendations:
1) Each country or region which provides financial support for film or television production should also have an active and appropriately funded policy of support for script and project development.
2) Where such a policy is being introduced, reviewed or amended writers should be consulted and their views taken into account through their representative organisations.
3) Taking account of the particular situation of individual countries or regions it is the view of the FSE that funding agencies should be prepared to provide support to the writer at a minimum of €15,000 per draft of a feature film screenplay.
4) Taking account of the particular situation of individual countries the size of the support system in each funding agency should be calculated on the basis that at least three to ten times the number of projects should be in development relative to the number of films which it is anticipated will go in to production.
5) Where development support is provided as a loan it should only be repayable from the production budget of any resulting film. Where not, it should be seen as a subsidy to the writer and not deducted from the writer’s fee.
6) Funding development exclusively through producers has not produced the beneficial results hoped for. FSE is strongly of the view that development funding should as a general rule be channelled directly to writers.
7) Where development funding is provided through production companies the companies should only have to provide evidence that they own or can acquire (option agreement or letter of intent) sufficient rights from the author to produce the film or television programme. Buyouts of all rights or concluded contracts are inappropriate and should not be a requirement for application for support.
8) The application system should be transparent and writers should be entitled to receive copies of readers reports or other written assessments of their work as well as financial and budget information even when the application is made by a producer.
9) Writers should be entitled to apply for support on the basis of a treatment for a film rather than necessarily a full first draft as well as on the basis of a short description for a treatment.
10) Where standard contracts are not in force funding agencies should not provide producers with financial support to cover legal costs of negotiating writers’ contracts without providing countervailing financial support for legal costs to writers. Where development support schemes are being introduced, reviewed or amended the FSE will be available to provide advice and support to member organisations or indeed also directly to funding agencies, especially on the international level, on the experience of other countries as well as on the best practice of effective state aid for screenwriting and development. Success in one country creates the possibility of success in another. Let us use our combined experience and efforts to better the environment for writers across Europe.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Do you have stories to tell that we've never seen before?
Can you create characters the audience will fall in love with?
We want to find the next generation of CBBC writers with fresh perspectives, original voices, and the ability to create unforgettable characters.
This opportunity is open to any writer who wants to write Children's drama. We are looking for 30-minute original TV scripts of unmissable and infectious storytelling, offering fresh cultural perspectives, tales combining authenticity with hope and joy, stories from a child's point of view, characters that will engage and surprise the audience, scripts that are powerful, emotional, and contemporary, shows that will work for the CBBC audience and channel but can dare to take risks.
They might be action-adventures, comedy-dramas, modern takes on age-old morality, tales shot through with fantasy, magic and wonder, real stories with substance and edge, animated ideas or a combination of animation and live-action - but they must be new stories that will get under the skin of a new generation, the kind of stories they will still talk about in years to come.
A shortlist of 15-20 writers will be invited to a masterclass in July 2009. The final 8-10 shortlisted writers will then be selected and spend an intensive residential week developing their work, improving their craft and pitching to CBBC in September/October 2009. The final shortlist will receive CBBC mentoring from the development team and a £300 bursary.
Deadline: 5pm, Wednesday 1 July 2009
Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti, whose novels were widely translated and poems set to music, has died at the age of 88 at his home in Montevideo.More information about Benedetti from Wikipedia.
Benedetti's work chronicled the life of Uruguay's middle-class and was popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
He lived in exile from 1973 to 1983 during military rule in Uruguay and was well-known as a supporter of the Cuban government.
Update (20th May 2009): Some more obituaries and tributes: El Habanreo, The New York Times and The LA Times.
Monday, May 18, 2009
There's a post-award video interview with Peter Moffat on the BAFTA site.
Moffat is emerging as one of British TV's most successful screenwriters, with another series of Criminal Justice to come and last year's Einstein and Eddington also winning critical plaudits.
Such a shame that Channel 4 cancelled his first legal show, the brilliant North Square, after just one series.
Stories need to be read in a different way from novels, with a different, more studied kind of concentration. For this reason I think it’s a mistake – one I admit I made myself when I was publishing the short story magazine Metropolitan – to try and sell short stories as suitable for a rushed age. Most short story authors I have talked to recently believe that it’s that very rushed nature of our contemporary world, along with the superficiality of its commercial orientation, which has militated against the kind of focused attention which it takes to both write a story and to appreciate it as a reader.
As the development puddle in the UK dries up, writers are behaving like producers — if not actually being producers. They do this to protect their investment in scripts they have written but not yet been paid for. It follows a trend of TV writers setting up production companies. The reduction in paid gigs for writers may also embolden them to go forward with their pet project. Bill Nicholson, screenwriter and SWF regular, is optimistic: “It could be a period of creative development, maybe a new golden age for scripts.”
Friday, May 15, 2009
KAREN BROWN wrote the episode of Moving On - The Rain Has Stopped going out on BBC1 at 2:15pm on Monday 18th May.
RHIANNON COUSINS has written the first and fifth episodes of the new online drama Break Free.
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY co-wrote the episode of Dad's Army "The Royal Train" going out on BBC1 at 7:50pm on Saturday 16th May.
MARY CUTLER'S dramatisation of Falco: Poseidon's Gold begins on Radio 4 at 7:45pm on Monday 18th May.
DAVID EDGAR'S radio play Something Wrong About the Mouth is going out on Radio 4 at 2:30pm on Saturday 16th May.
PETER FLANNERY wrote the episode of Inspector George Gently "Gently in the Blood" going out on BBC1 at 8:30pm on Sunday 17th May.
LOL FLETCHER wrote the episode of Doctors "Sound of Silence" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Wednesday 20th May.
JEREMY FRONT wrote the episode of Murder Unprompted: a Charles Paris Mystery going out on Radio 4 at 11:30pm on Wednesday 20th May.
CAROLINE HARRINGTON wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 17th till Friday 22nd May with each episode being repeated at 2:00pm the day following its original broadcast.
DAWN HARRISON wrote the episode of Doctors "A Kind Of Hush" that won Best Single Episode at the British Soap Awards.
JONATHAN HARVEY wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 18th May.
LISA HOLDSWORTH wrote the episode of Waterloo Road going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Wednesday 20th May.
BILL LYONS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Friday 22nd May.
SUE MOONEY wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Tuesday 19th May.
DAVID NOBBS co-wrote the episode of Reggie Perrin going out on BBC1 at 22nd May.
DEBBIE OATES wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Friday 22nd May.
JESSE O'MAHONEY wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Tuesday 19th May.
LYN PAPADOPOULOS wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Wednesday 20th May.
JAMES PAYNE wrote the episodes of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Thursday 21st and at 8:00pm on Friday 22nd May.
ALAN PLATER has a revival of Confessions Of A City Supporter starting on May 21st at the new Hull Truck Theatre.
MARC PYE wrote the episode of Moving On - Bully going out on BBC1 at 2:15pm on Tuesday 19th May.
HEATHER ROBSON wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Friday 22nd May.
JULIE RUTHERFORD wrote the episode of Ashes to Ashes going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Monday 18th May.
DANNY STACK wrote the episode of EastEnders going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Monday 18th May.
SHELAGH STEPHENSON'S dramatisation of JG Farrell's novel The Siege Of Krishnapur concludes on Radio 4 at 9:00pm on Saturday 16th May (repeated 4pm Sunday 17th).
DAN TETSELL co-wrote the episode of Rudy's Rare Records "The Heart of Saturday Night" going out on Radio 4 at 11:30am on Monday 18th May.
CHRIS THOMPSON wrote the episodes of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st May.
KATHARINE WAY wrote the episode of Doctors "Out of Control" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Monday 18th May.
JC WILSHER wrote the episode of New Tricks "Powerhouse" going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Tuesday 19th May.
ESTHER WILSON wrote the episode of Moving On - Butterfly Effect going out on BBC1 at 2:15pm on Friday 22nd May.
STEVE WOOD'S latest book, The Angels of Mona Terrace, was published by Priory Press on 2nd May. Set in Manchester and the Isle of Man in 1971, it's a crossover title aimed at older children and adults.
KARIN YOUNG wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Monday 18th May.
On 9th May 2009, the Welsh Committee of the Writers’ Guild hosted a forum discussion around the issue of multilingualism in theatre, at the Sherman Cymru in Cardiff. This was in conjunction with their production of Gary Owen’s play Amgen : Broken, whose central character exists in both English- and Welsh-speaking incarnations.
The event was chaired by noted Welsh writer and director Ian Rowlands, and in addition to Owen (currently Sherman Cymru’s writer-in-residence), the panel consisted of Dutch playwright Jeroen van den Berg, and Dominic Rai, the Indian-born founder of the Mán Melá Theatre Company, now resident in Brecon. Despite a disappointingly low audience turn-out, the discussion was both lively and stimulating.
Following an introduction during which Rowlands reflected on his experience of directing multi-lingual productions of Under Milk Wood and Branwen, Owen was asked to explain his reasons for writing Amgen. As an adult learner of Welsh rather than a native speaker, he said that it had not originally been his intention to write a bilingual play, but he found himself using the learning of Welsh as a metaphor for personal transformation. Both he and Rowlands spoke of the experience of having had their previous work criticised on the basis of the 'correctness' of the Welsh used, rather than its power and relevance as drama.
Dominic spoke of his experience as a speaker of Punjabi, a stateless, “lower-class” language. Citing the comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar, who is able to perform in English, Punjabi or both, he suggested that more plays were needed which reflected the multilingual experience.
Jeroen discussed his experience of working with a Frysian-speaking theatre company in Holland, whilst developing his play Injury Time via a process of improvisation and back-and-forth translation, which he felt enriched his work. He also suggested that the indirectness of the Dutch language made writing for theatre difficult. Following on from this, Owen pointed out that he felt that his writing in Welsh was less “pregnant” than his writing in English. Dominic reflected on the use of Punjabi as the informal, “language of the heart”, using the example of Urdu speakers who scold their children in Punjabi.
Jeroen pointed out the influence that Arabic is having on Dutch as spoken by young residents of Amsterdam, and all panel-members agreed, from their varying geographical perspectives, that writers will increasingly need to reflect linguistic hybridity within society.
Questions from the floor addressed the fear which Owen expressed over the 'correctness' issue; audience-members’ experience of creating multilingual work; the value of music, within drama, as a common language; and the non-Welsh speaker’s experience of watching Amgen.
Discussion turned to the subject of Y Pris, the gangster-themed television series whose scripts are written in English - by Tim Price, who was present - but which is produced in Welsh for broadcast on S4C; the author felt that, from an artistic perspective, there were both gains and losses, but that the piece would have been more naturalistic had bureaucratic considerations allowed it to develop as a bilingual production.
The lack of opportunities in Wales for non-Welsh-speaking television writers was bemoaned. There was friendly disagreement amongst the Welsh panel members on a number of issues, including the value of there being two national theatre companies in Wales (one operating in English, the other in Welsh), and the extent to which English is viewed as a language of oppression.
Everyone agreed, however, that dramatists should be encouraged to work multilingually, but that this can only work if the drama arises organically from the author’s choice of subject-matter, whether it be social inclusion, power politics or, as in the case of Amgen, alienation.
The panel: Ian Rowlands, Jeroen Van Den Berg, Dominic Rai, Gary Owen (Photo: Paul Rees)
AmazonEncore is a new program whereby Amazon uses information such as customer reviews on Amazon websites to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors that show potential for greater sales. Amazon then partners with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, Audible.com, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers.The first book to receive such treatment will be Legacy, a self-published novel by 16-year-old Cayla Kluver.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The first thing I did was read the story again, from beginning to end.Barbara Lanik as The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come
The second thing I did was read the story again, from beginning to end.
The third thing I did was read the story again, from beginning to end. But this time I was armed. I used a highlighter pen to mark up anything that I thought was interesting, or relevant to the story. Sometimes it was a line of dialogue, sometimes a description or a turn of phrase.
And then I did that again, too, trying to capture everything that I'd missed the first time.
Prolific screen and television writer and past president of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) John Furia, Jr. has died. He was 79.John Furia was also a founding chairman of University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television Writing Division.
Throughout his career, Furia worked for major studios and the networks. He wrote for popular television series such as Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildare, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Hawaii Five-O, The Waltons, and Kung Fu, as well as wrote or produced numerous movies-of-the-week (MOW) including The Death of Ocean View Park, The Healers, Caring and The Widow. Furia’s screen credits include The Singing Nun starring Debbie Reynolds and Greer Garson, in addition to executive producing films in Mexico, France, Canada, Spain, Croatia, and Kenya.
"I don't understand why any of the licence fee is spent on acquisitions" he said.
"The BBC competes against us and ITV for feature films and acquisitions, all of which would appear on British television some other way.
"If they didn't spend this money, they could spend it on original programming. There might have been a day decades ago when people went to watch a Christmas Day film on BBC One but that has gone."
He added: "One or two things the BBC have done like The Wire and Mad Men they argue wouldn't be picked up [elsewhere] but a lot of the money they spend would be picked up by others."
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The special offer is part of the Guild's 50th anniversary celebrations and will only apply to the first 50 people joining today.
Full details are on the Guild website.
You have to be a member of the Lunch Club, a non-profit making networking organisation, to apply.
Submissions Deadline: All script submissions must be received by Gareth Owen, c/o The Lunch Club, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Bucks SL0 ONH ~ or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, 30th June 2009.
The best three scripts, as chosen by the panel, will be rehearsed and staged by a well-known film director and by actors, and performed at a special evening in front of the Media Lunch Club audience and guests in late September 2009.
There will be an opportunity for the winning script to be produced as a short film by members of the Brighton Film School, plus a year’s subscription to Twelve-Point scriptwriter magazine for the winner and finalists.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Drama Award
Gold Award: Mr Larkin's Awkward Day
Written by Chris Harrald
Producer: Steven Canny
BBC Radio Drama for BBC Radio 4
Judges comments: Assured direction, excellent performances and concise, skilfully-researched writing all made this deceptively straightforward story a masterpiece. Funny and touching by turns, a single, seemingly insignificant incident in the life of Philip Larkin brought out the humanity and humour of a poet whose personal life is not commonly associated with either.
Silver Award: The Color Purple
Dramatised by Patricia Cumper from the novel by Alice Walker
BBC Radio Drama for BBC Radio 4
Bronze Award: Goldfish Girl
Written by Peter Souter
BBC Radio Drama for BBC Radio 4
The Comedy Award
Gold Award: Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show!
Written by Steve Delaney
Producer: Mark Radcliffe
Komedia Entertainment & Smooth Operations for BBC Radio 4
Judges comments: A traditional format made contemporary and edgy by strong writing and great performances. It simply makes you laugh out loud.
Silver Award: Adam and Joe
Presenters: Adam Buxton, Joe Cornish & Garth Jennings
BBC Audio & Music for BBC 6 Music
Bronze Award: The Now Show
Writer/Performers: Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis, Jon Holmes, Mitch Benn & Holly Walsh
Writers: John Finnemore, Nick Doody, Chris Chantler, Jon Hunter, James Sherwood & Stephen Carlin
BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4
Industry sources say studios producing skeins for Big Four nets are pushing for cuts of as much as 10%-15% in the writing budget for returning series, while new shows will start out with smaller staffs than first-year shows in recent seasons. Where skeins once had as many as 10-12 writers, not including the showrunner(s), the new norm is becoming six to eight.As Littleton continues:
The big unknown in all of this is how the cuts will affect the quality of shows. Execs stress that making trims where possible on writing staffs help keep onscreen production values high. But the thinning of the scribe herd will undoubtedly put more pressure on showrunners, who might've otherwise delegated some rewrites and story-related tasks to their more experienced lieutenants.
Monday, May 11, 2009
This week I write in praise – as they say – of Alan Plater, who has now been "writing the north" for stage, screen and occasional hardback for nearly half a century. He's funny, a natural storyteller and a man who has vigorously campaigned for, and supported, other writers without ever drawing attention to himself. We owe him.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
SARAH BAGSHAW wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Tuesday 12th May.
HELEN BLAKEMAN wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Thursday 14th May.
RAY BROOKING wrote the episode of Doctors "Impact" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Wednesday 13th May.
ROY BOULTER and JIMMY MCGOVERN co-wrote the episode of The Street going out on BBC1 at 10:45pm on Wednesday 13th May.
SIMON BOVEY'S radio play Sargasso is going out on Radio 4 at 2:15pm on Tuesday 12th May.
RICHARD BURKE wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Tuesday 12th May.
MARK BURT wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 11th May.
TONY COTTRELL'S new play The Thick of it All opens on Thursday 7th May until Tues 12th May as part of the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Festival.
JOHN CHAMBERS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Thursday 14th May.
ROY CLARKE wrote the episode of Last of the Summer Wine "Who's That Looking Sideways at Nelly?" going out on BBC1 at 6:30pm on Sunday 10th May.
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY co-wrote the episode of Dad's Army "My British Buddy" going out on BBC1 at 7:30pm on Saturday 9th May.
STEVEN FAY wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Friday 15th May.
PETER FLANNERY wrote the episode of Inspector George Gently "Gently in the Night" going out on BBC1 at 8:30pm on Sunday 10th May.
JEREMY FRONT wrote the episode of Murder Unprompted: a Charles Paris Mystery going out on Radio 4 at 11:30am on Wednesday 13th May.
CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON wrote the screenplay for Cheri, adapted from the story by Colette, which opens in cinemas next week. He has teamed up again with director Stephen Frears and actress Michelle Pfeiffer; they last worked together on Dangerous Liaisons, twenty years ago.
JONATHAN HARVEY wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Wednesday 13th May.
CHRIS LANG wrote the episode of Robin Hood "Too Hot to Handle" going out on BBC1 at 6:15pm on Saturday 9th May.
JANE MARLOW wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Wednesday 13th May.
ANDREW MCCULLOCH wrote the episode of Heartbeat "Ups and Downs" going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Sunday 10th May.
DAVID NOBBS co-wrote the episode of Reggie Perin going out on BBC1 at 9:30pm on Friday 15th May.
ASHLEY PHAROAH wrote the episode of Ashes to Ashes going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Monday 11th May.
MARTIN RILEY wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Monday 11th May.
SHELAGH STEPHENSON'S dramatisation of The Siege of Krishnapur is going out on Radio 4 at 3:00pm on Sunday 10th May.
TIM STIMPSON wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 from Sunday 10th till Friday 15th May.
DAN TETSELL co-wrote the episode of Rudy's Rare Records "Get Up, Stand Up" going out on Monday 11th May.
TINA WALKER wrote the episode of Doctors "Worlds Apart" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Friday 15th May.
PETER WHALLEY wrote the episodes of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm and 8:30pm on Friday 15th May.
KARIN YOUNG wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Friday 15th May.
The group includes the Guild's President, David Edgar. The research will culminate in a report with recommendations about the future of new writing in the subsidised theatre, to be presented to the Arts Council in the summer.
The survey is open to all playwrights, whether Guild members or not.
You can take the survey online here until 12th June 2009.
Friday, May 08, 2009
This offer applies to Full members, who currently pay a minimum of £150 per annum, and Candidate members who pay £100. The offer applies to a new member's first year of membership only.
To be one of the lucky 50, call the Guild's Membership Team on 13th May 2009, between 9.30am and 5.30pm, on 01952 214 063 and quote 'WGGB Anniversary Offer'. You can pay your £50 over the telephone by credit or debit card and your welcome pack will be sent on within a few days.
Alternatively, members of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Facebook Group can take advantage of the special offer by sending a Facebook message with their name and contact details to fellow group member Naomi MacDonald AND changing their status on 13th May to "Happy 50th Birthday to the Writers' Guild of Great Britain"
Please note that this special offer is only available on 13th May 2009.
We look forward to welcoming our 50 new members. What better way to celebrate our half-century?!
The recent Gender Equality Duty has mandated all public institutions to give due regard to proactive promotion of gender equality within their organisations. More importantly, a significant aspect of the Gender Equality Duty is the responsibility of public bodies to actively promote equality between men and women.
Kate Buffery, Katherine Rake, Beatrix Campbell, Tanika Gupta, Tracy Brabin and David Edgar.
To book a place please email email@example.com with the subject line “Vamps, Vixens and Feminists” including your name, contact details and the professional body to which you belong (if applicable) in order to receive an e-invitation; alternatively you can call 020 7401 9994.
Please make sure you reserve your place by Friday 5th June if you would like to attend.
We should not be surprised to know that, in the search for real information about U.S. politics and similar goings-on around the world, many Americans turn to "Saturday Night Live" and the, back-to-back, fake news and punditry programming offered by "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." As politicians and the mainstream media who cover them, too often, appear out of step with the concerns of most Americans, these shows fill an aching void. For those of us who have spent the last eight years alarmed by unwarranted war, torture, fired prosecutors, illegal wiretapping, botched hurricane relief, no-bid contracts, missing billions, and other outgrowths of corporate corruption and governmental malfeasance, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Loren Michaels and their crew of writers and performers are among an invaluable cohort of entertainers who remind the reality-based community that we are not alone.WGAE is holding an event on the subject in Washington tonight.
Like Spielberg, Abrams has been immersed in film-making for so long, he seems to have mastered every aspect of it. He appears to have an innate feel for entertainment that is cult yet mass-market, accessible but not dumb, polished and high-tech yet character-driven, zeitgeisty but infused with good old-fashioned storytelling. Abrams hasn't revolutionised film-making, though he may be perfecting it. What he has revolutionised, though, is the art of 21st-century entertainment. The movies and TV shows are just one feature in a landscape of viral marketing campaigns, merchandising tie-ins, spoiler alerts, online chat forums, fan blogs, websites that treat fictional worlds as real places, and so on. "People want to find magic," he says. "It's almost like a Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe thing. You want to find that secret. You want there to be some kind of portal between reality and fiction."
Dramatising the story of how a tiny progressive school took on David Blunkett’s disapproving education department in 1999 had been a separately but equally long held dream for both CBBC’s Jon East and Tiger Aspect’s Greg Bremnan. In 2006 the planets came into alignment and Summerhill was commissioned as a 4 x 30 minute drama for CBBC. I was presented with a court transcript as thick as a brick and quickly felt the dead-ish hand of responsibility settling on my shoulder.Alison Hume (right) with Chae Eun Park, a Summerhillian who had a part in the drama
I put the research aside, packed my swimming costume and caught the train down to the Suffolk coast from my home in York. Most of a day later I arrived at Summerhill School. The very first thing I saw were kids playing up in the trees. Up in the trees! I felt challenged and I wasn’t even through the front door.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
- Chris Beckett, The Turing Test (Elastic Press)
- Gerard Donovan, Country of the Grand (Faber)
- Anne Enright, Yesterday’s Weather (Random House)
- Shena Mackay, The Atmospheric Railway (Random House)
- Ali Smith, The First Person and Other Stories (Hamish Hamilton)
Beckett, who said he'd tried writing stories without the science fiction element, but found himself thinking "oh, just put a robot in it", was also pleased to be "recognised outside the field" of science fiction. "It's nice company to be in," he said. "I never understand people saying that short story collections don't sell. It's odd, because we're always being told what a short attention span everyone has nowadays, so you would have thought that short stories would be popular. [They're] different to a novel in that they're much more concentrated. It would be much more work to write an 80,000 word short story collection than an 80,000 word novel ... That's the beauty of the short story – it can be very rich, densely packed."
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tomorrow I'll attempt to find something majestical and of use in washing and ironing a travel-week's worth of clothes. Yeah, well, if I could actually do that I'd be a majestical and useful author. Things being as they are, at least I'll get the laundry done, ready for the next trip – Ullapool beckons. Onwards.
Her first and best-known novel, “The Women’s Room,” released in 1977, traces a submissive housewife’s journey of self-discovery following her divorce in the 1950s, describing the lives of Mira Ward and her friends in graduate school at Harvard as they grow into independent women. The book was partly informed by her own experience of leaving an unhappy marriage and helping her daughter deal with the aftermath of being raped. Women all over the world seized on the book, which sold more than 20 million copies and was translated into 20 languages.
Gloria Steinem, a close friend, compared the impact of the book on the discussion surrounding women’s rights to the one that Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” had had on racial equality 25 years earlier.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
There was always an option in past seasons which was, “Let’s hold it for next year. I don’t think they’re ready for that,” or “That’ll have more emotional impact later.” And then there are also actor deals to contend with – what’s the stable of regulars you can maintain at any one time? Next year, I feel like for the first time we’ll have the entire box of crayons to color with, without having to worry about the mechanics. All our ducks are in a row.
McGrath was a free-thinker who set the tone for the proliferation of alternative thought among an underground arts culture in Scotland that would not exist without him. Influenced both by American Beat literature and the Glasgow music hall he saw as a child, McGrath melded these sensibilities in a body of work where laughs and the quest for enlightenment went hand in hand.The Herald also has a selection of tributes.
At British and American universities, this future has to be kept as a woeful secret. A great paradox of the age is that while newspapers continue their inexorable decline and publishing cuts its costs, journalism and creative writing degrees have never been more popular. Year on year, journalist applicants stood a quarter higher at 13,229 for courses beginning this autumn. Creative writing can now be learned at nearly every British institute of higher learning. Figures are hard to come by, but Britain is probably turning out about 1,300 "creative writers" every year.
Why do young people apply? Because they think they can be the next Zadie Smith. Why do universities encourage them? Because money can be made from fees. Is this responsible behaviour? We need to weigh the smashed hopes of creative writers against the financial needs of their tutors, who are themselves writers, and earning the kind of money that writing would never supply. A closed little dance: tutors teach students who in turn teach other students, like silversmiths in a medieval guild where a bangle is rarely bought though many are crafted, and everyone lives in a previous world.
SEBASTIAN BACSZKIEWICZ wrote the episode of Holby City "Smoke and Mirrors" going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Tuesday 5th May.
TONY BLACK wrote the episode of Doctors "Hang onto Nurse" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Thursday 7th May.
HELEN BLAKEMAN wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Friday 8th May.
ROY CLARKE wrote the episode of Last of the Summer Wine "Will Howard Cross the Atlantic Single-Handed?" going out on BBC1 at 6:30pm on Sunday 3rd May.
PAUL COATES wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Wednesday 6th May.
ANGELA CORNER wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Monday 4th
DAVID CROFT and JIMMY PERRY co-wrote the episode of Dad's Army "The Deadly Attachment" going out on BBC2 at 6:30pm on Saturday 2nd May.
SIMON CROWTHER wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 8:30pm on Monday 4th May.
PAUL FARRELL wrote the episode of Primeval going out on ITV1 at 7:20pm on Saturday 2nd May.
CHRIS FEWTRELL wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 7:30pm on Monday 4th May.
PETER FLANNERY wrote the first episode of the new series Inspector George Gently "Gently with the Innocents" going out on BBC1 at 8:30pm on Sunday 3rd May.
JEREMY FRONT wrote the episode of Murder Unprompted: a Charles Paris Mystery going out on Radio 4 at 11:30am on Wednesday 6th May.
ANDREA GIBB'S radio play Tough Love is going out on Radio 4 at 9:00pm on Friday 8th May.
DAVID HANSON wrote the episode of Hollyoaks going out on C4 at 6:30pm on Thursday 7th May.
DEBBIE HORSFIELD wrote the episode of All the Small Things going out on BBC1 at 9:00pm on Tuesday 5th May.
MARK ILLIS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Thursday 7th May.
MICHAEL JENNER wrote the episode of Waterloo Road going out on BBC1 at 8:00pm on Wednesday 6th May.
JULIE JONES wrote the episode of Coronation Street going out on ITV1 at 8:30pm on Friday 8th May.
BILL LYONS wrote the episode of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Monday 4th May.
JIMMY MCGOVERN wrote the episode of The Street going out on BBC1 at 10:45pm on Wednesday 6th May.
PAULA MILNE's political thriller End Game goes out on C4 at 9:00pm on Monday 4th May with a cast including Jonny Lee Miller, Derek Jacobi and Timothy West.
DAVID NOBBS co-wrote the episode of Reggie Perin going out on BBC1 at 9:30pm on Friday 8th May.
GARY OWEN'S new play Amgen:Broken is on at the Sherman in Cardiff till May 9th, then at Clwyd Theatr Cymru from 12th to the 16th.
TIMOTHY PRAGER wrote the episode of Robin Hood "Do You Love Me?" going out on BBC1 at 6:20pm on Saturday 2nd May.
MARTIN RILEY has a feature in The Stage this week in the Q and A section on page 12.
TRACEY SPOTTISWOODE'S radio play Solo behind the Iron Curtain is going out on Radio 4 at 2:15pm on Tuesday 5th May.
RICHARD STEVENS wrote the episode of Doctors "Code of Silence" going out on BBC1 at 1:45pm on Tuesday 5th May.
BILL TAYLOR wrote the episodes of Emmerdale going out on ITV1 at 7:00pm on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th May.
DAN TETSELL co-wrote the episode of Rudy's Rare Records "Roots Manoeuvres" going out on Radio 4 at 11:30pm on Monday 4th May.
JOANNA TOYE wrote the episodes of The Archers going out on Radio 4 at 7:00pm from Sunday 3rd till Friday 8th May with each episode being repeated at 2:00pm the day following its original release.
STEVE TRAFFORD wrote the episode of Midsomer Murders "King's Crystal" going out on ITV1 at 8:00pm on Wednesday 6th May.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Carol Ann Duffy has been named as the new Poet Laureate, the first woman to be appointed in the 341-year history of the post.BBC News also has a profile of Carol Anne Duffy by Mark Savage.
Duffy, 53, who takes over immediately from Andrew Motion and will serve 10 years in the position, says she will give the £5,750 annual payment away.
The author, who is best known for her collection The World's Wife, is also the first Scot to be named Laureate.
Duffy said she felt "very honoured and humbled" by her appointment.
Critics have praised Duffy for her storytelling (her works have been called "minutely compressed novels") and even more so for the way she seems to inhabit her characters, memorably described by novelist Charlotte Mendelson as "ventriloquism".
UA Fanthorpe was much more inclined towards humour than sentiment, and was a mistress of the anachronism: she makes St George say, "I have diplomas in Dragon / Management and Virgin Reclamation", and Christ introduce his parables with such lines as "What did the high priest say / To the belly dancer?" Her use of a weary female voice to deflate the aspirations of orotund male poets anticipated the quips of Wendy Cope and Carol Ann Duffy. Even when writing about terminal illness, she could approach the subject in the spirit of Woody Allen: "Library fines and income tax returns / Have lost their sting."