Donation to Hay-on-Wye Library

Hay-on-Wye Library Donation. 
found me donationAs promised I dropped by Hay Library to deliver our £100 donation. There was no local press, media or fanfare, but it was still a great moment.

To me it’s amazing to deliver on an idea which took me out of so many comfort zones; from my first foray into blackout poetry to being shortlisted and attending the Saboteur Awards in London. At the heart of this project was always the library in Hay, the building and it’s wonderful staff. They are the gel which sticks our community together – a quiet key-stone holding us up.

The rest of the money raised – a further £28 (ish) was given to Melanie today at HOWLS the Hay Library Supporters who are fighting to keep our library open.

Thank you everyone who supported me, from giving me a gentle nudge to keep the momentum going, buying a pamphlet and adding to our coffers or like Hay Festival, for inspiring me in the first place. You really are awesome!

I’ve just received this email from (librarian) Jane.

” Dear Emma

The library manager Jayne Evans is away today, but I am sure she would want me to say a HUGE thank you for the £100 cash donation from your poetry book ‘Found Me’. I am sure she will be in touch when she is back at work, but in the meantime please use this email as confirmation of receipt of your generous donation to the library.

Many thanks and kind regards,


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Good News Arrives Thrice!

My first bit of good news comes in the form of “Mission Accomplished!”

I’m delighted to announce that we have done it! Congratulations everyone! Here is our £100.00 donation for Hay-on-Wye Library which was raised through the sale of my Saboteur Shortlisted poetry pamphlet ‘FOUND ME’. It’s absolutely incredible to be able to support such an amazing local library. We will also be sending the additional donations (which you’ve kindly sent me), on to HOWLs – the Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters. This important group are trying their hardest to keep this library open! I’ll be in Hay in a couple of weeks to hand in our collection. Yay!

It might be raining outside, but the sun is most definitely shining in my heart! 💖
Thank you everyone for your amazing support.

found me library cash

Secondly, some lovely news from Dr Lynn Parr, Editor of The Curlew.

Lynn emailed, “Dear Curlew Contributors,

I thought you would like to know that The Curlew has been accepted into the UK’s National Poetry Library in London’s Southbank Centre!
Apparently, they only accept a few periodicals out of hundreds of applications… but they like The Curlew as a great representation of quality contemporary poetry.
So I would just like to thank you for your contribution in helping to make The Curlew what it is.”

Thank you to Lynn for accepting my Hare In Sight poem for inclusion in this beautiful publication.

“The Curlew is a high-quality periodical dedicated to fine writing about the natural world, drawn from considered thought, not dashed off in haste and chased with regret like most of today’s communications.

In The Curlew  we present ideas, emotions, imaginings – but most of all beauty. We want passion, images that make us smile or shiver, word pictures that stay with us and make us think. In other words, writing that enriches our lives.” The Curlew.

Copies are available direct from
To order your copy CLICK HERE
Each purchase helps endangered species and habitats!

Three for Three – in other news a short story Lantern Lights gained third place in the 2017 Richard Booth prize for Non Fiction. Congratulations to the worthy winners Ange Grunsell and Kerry Hodges, and to everyone who submitted pieces too.

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Lift and Lifted


Ever get the feeling you are being watched? A Red Kite enjoying its natural ability to observe and glide on thin air between Clyro and Painscastle, near Hay-on-Wye.

They are the true masters of these tempestuous welsh thermals. The Buzzards round here are far more boxy and firm. They can hold a tight arc using strength alone, whereas Kites play with boundaries, slip between updrafts, swerve along down-forces before tricking them with a deft flick of the tail!

Although, I have always preferred the arcane voice of the buzzard it’s hard not to marvel at the flight-chemistry of Kites.


Red Kite by Emma van Woerkom

Apologies everyone for the lack of updates recently. After my compact and very hectic travel schedule – a trip to London for the British Library (amazing) and the Saboteur Awards (brilliant night!), then straight off to Shetland (love love love this place), then Somerset, then immediately back to the Welsh borders for Hay Festival (sold out event!) , then back to Somerset again….well, of course I succumbed to a virus!

‘Labyrinthitis’. Sadly, absolutely nothing to do with a cult 80’s movie staring David Bowie but a cheeky little number making me nauseous, partially deaf, suffer extreme vertigo, and a virus possessing the ill manners to hang around for over four weeks. How rude! A most unwelcome guest if ever there was one.  Of course, it makes you even too ill to read or write, but does force you to sit down, watch terrible TV and fend off cabin fever or an attack of the glums!

BUT….Finally, I feel the ‘lift’. Labyrinthitis is bored of me. Hooray!

Thank you to everyone for your lovely ‘get well soon’ messages over the last month – they were very much appreciated. Thank you also to those understanding folks who I had to cancel things with, namely my attendance at the opening ceremony for the Marking Time Project at Bronllys Hospital and also the Fiona Sampson workshop with the Hay Writers. Believe me, I was absolutely gutted to miss them.

This week will see me getting back on track with my Jane Austen project. After my visit to the very helpful British Library, my rendezvous with several of her original first editions, I’m feeling lifted and ready to get going again!



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The Marking Time Project – Bronllys Hospital

The Marking Time Project – A Wellbeing Woodland Walk

On this heady, heat-filled mid-June morning it’s hard to cast my mind back to the terrible weather we endured last November. Ice-rain lashed, gales roared and daily weather warnings suddenly became the norm.

dscf3635-2.jpgOn just such a wet, wind-tossed day I first visited Bronllys Hospital and discovered the Marking Time Project. I’d been invited by fellow poet Mark Christmas (‘The Abandoned Soldier Project’ and ‘The TAS Project). Although I had very little time available, (shuttling between Hay-on-Wye and Somerset mid-way through other projects), I was still keen to do something.

Back in 2015 an “At Ease” Garden had been created near the Psychology Department at Bronllys Hospital providing a new outdoor therapy space for veterans and other patients. Leading on from this inspired use of vacant space within the hospital grounds, by 2016 a phase 2 had naturally been envisaged; spilling over into a small but ably mature piece of woodland. Thus, with continued financial support from the Ministry of Defence Community Covenant Fund a ‘Wellbeing Woodland Walk’ was planned, leading to a wooden seat and organic sculpture at its heart. A calming, contemplative and peaceful space set among the sanctuary of Nature.


There seemed very little calmness on that stormy day back in November. Mark introduced me to Sculptor and Ceramic Artist, Rebecca Buck, Community Projects Manager at The Green Valleys CIC, Gareth Ellis, Poet, Mick Farrell and Project Supporter, Janet Epplestone. They were all hard at work, ankle-deep in mud, digging and trying to lay concrete under the groaning of wind-torn trees.

Even then I could see their commitment to this project was unstinting!

I only managed to visit the site a further six times over the next four months taking photographs, notes and sound recordings. Each time the hard physical work of careful landscaping and construction had been evident. By mid-February my poem, “A Path Among Trees” joined Mark Christmas’s “Catching A Moment” and Mick Farrell’s poem on site. Rebecca’s incredible sculptural work, aided by the pupils of Mount Street Juniors School in Brecon and Llandrindod High School was close to completion too, tirelessly consolidated in its new home by Gareth.



Now summer flames bringing fine weather and greenery to the wood. The sculpture installed and rooted, a wooden seat placed, paths dug, poems engraved and an opening ceremony planned for 22nd June.

Majestic trees, soothing bird song, woodland flowers, insects and the soft, slow tramp of footfall will now inhabit this incredible space. A place where crowded minds can take full ease under the dappling shade.



To find out more about this wonderful project please follow the link to Rebecca Buck’s Studio Diary –

Follow the ‘Marking Time Project’ Facebook page – 


DSCF3660 (3)A Path Among Trees 

Come now – the trees’ quiet council stirs,
Your growing years ring round their hearts,
They nod and know your every step,
Watch calmness yield as fear departs.
A path to ease through branching leaves,
Where snowdrops sooth all winter wars
And swaying canopies scatter sun
For you, through oaks and sycamores.
Just like a bird encased in clay –
Stretch out your limbs above the weight
To find yourself a lighter course
In leafed repose – rejuvenate.
So here in Nature peace transfers.
Come now – the trees’ quiet council stirs.

By Emma van Woerkom ©2017




ADDITIONAL – If you would like to take away a small memento of your visit, why not do a brass rubbing of the poems? After the opening ceremony re-usable Brass Rubbing kits will be attached to the posts displaying the poems. After use, please don’t forget to re-seal the kits ready for the next visitor. 🙂

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New edition of The Curlew: Fraxinus

I’m delighted to announce that the second volume of The Curlew has just been published which includes one of my poems.  Humble thanks to it’s editor Dr. Lynn Parr for my inclusion.

Fraxinus – is a beautiful paperback volume inspired by the natural world and includes essays, poetry (one by me!), prose, photographs, art illustrations and short stories from writers and artists across the globe. The book also supports numerous conservation charities.

“The Curlew is a high-quality periodical dedicated to fine writing about the natural world, drawn from considered thought, not dashed off in haste and chased with regret like most of today’s communications.

In The Curlew  we present ideas, emotions, imaginings – but most of all beauty. We want passion, images that make us smile or shiver, word pictures that stay with us and make us think. In other words, writing that enriches our lives.” The Curlew.

It’s available direct from priced £11.99
(free UK postage for one copy)   To order your copy CLICK HERE
Each purchase helps endangered species and habitats!

***In other news – still 6 days to vote for FOUND ME by Emma van Woerkom at  category: Best Poetry Pamphlet 2017.
If you haven’t voted already, get clicking. If you have voted, thank you and why not ask family and friends to vote too! 🙂 ***

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Shortlisted for the 2017 Saboteur Awards!

saboteur awards pic

To say it’s been quite a week seems a little lacking in drama, but let me assure you it’s been an incredible couple of days.  My weekend was spent meeting amazing bookstagramers from all over the globe in my home town of Hay-on-Wye. We celebrated books, independence, Good King Richard, Prince Derek and for one day only, the many wonders of Wayzgoose at a thrilling exhibition at Baskerville Hall – the brain child of Emma Balch. Could life get any better?

It seems the answer was YES!


On Monday, while I berated the lack of internet connection in the foot hills of the Black Mountains, my little poetry pamphlet FOUND ME was shortlisted for a literary award. The official email letting me know lay hidden under the cloak of those deflating words – “Trying To Connect”. Around 2pm I imagine a satellite dish angled itself around the curvature of the earth and gave me two bars of reception. It was just enough. My phone went berserk!  A fit of pings, trings, vibrations and pops – I really thought a family emergency was on the cards! And then I read the email…..
“Congratulations! You have been shortlisted in the Best Poetry Pamphlet category for the 2017 Saboteur Awards!”

BOOM! An emotional roller coaster ensued!

There are quite a number of people who deserve my sincerest thanks, but someone very special is Susan Evans. Both a shortlisted and longlisted Saboteur Awards Best Performance Poet 2016 & 2017, Susan’s creative spirit, lively performances and infectious inspiration are one-in-a-million. If you’ve never seen her on stage, you have truly missed out. Not only that, Susan is an emphatic supporter of many charities and causes. She quite selflessly gives her time, energy and advocacy to promote and highlight inequalities.

I firmly believe without Susan’s momentous support and friendly kick-up-the-rear, I would not have been nominated or attained my place on the shortlist. Thank you Susan – literally, there not enough words. 🙂

What next?

Please vote for FOUND ME here —> CLICK

Shortlist voting has already started and will close on April 30th, so if you can, please vote for FOUND ME by Emma van Woerkom and it’s cause. My poetry pamphlet was published solely in support of keeping Hay-on-Wye library open and £1.00 from each copy sold (cover price just £3.00) donated to the library.  HOWLs – the Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters assists and encourages the delivery and development of the library service within the local community, in partnership with other community groups. I’ll hoping to collect donations on May 13th at the Saboteur Awards ceremony in London.

howls piccy-page-001

And finally,
a huge thank you to Hay Festival for being such an excellent source of inspiration. Many congratulations to everyone shortlisted & longlisted for a Saboteur Award. Thank you to Claire Lucille Trevien, Anna Jamieson and everyone at Sabotage Reviews.  See you in London on May 13th! 🙂

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Fantastic Feedback For Shared Reading Project in Hay-on-Wye

We’re speedily heading towards week 8 of our 10 week Shared Reading Project, “Memories Are Made Of This”, kindly supported by the Dementia Matters in Powys charity.

Weather permitting we’ve enjoyed full sessions, with lots of lively discussion where wonderful memories have been aired and new friendships have been formed. It’s been enormous fun and I just wanted to share some of the fantastic feedback we’ve received so far.

(Don’t worry if you can’t read the text in the photo – I’ve written the feedback below.)


Q – Did you feel welcome ad included in the group?
– 100% answered YES

Always made to feel valued and wanted”

“I knew at least half of the group and everyone joined in the discussion.”

“Same ‘age’ group. Reading by Emma so good it makes the story come alive.”

“Always the same – very friendly and informative.”

“Yes, to meet the joyous, intelligent people.”

“Friendly, companionable, welcoming.”

Q – Did you think the location of the venue was a good choice?
– 100% answered YES

“Excellent – quiet friendly – good size.”

“Light, airy and Jayne (librarian) very helpful.”

“Easy to get to and some parking.”

“Good seating – good lighting.”

“Warm, light and airy.”

“Comfortable, relaxing and warm.”

“Could not be more appropriate.”

“Central Local Library.”

Q – Did you have trouble following the text or hearing the reader?
– 100% answered YES

“Leader speaks very clearly.”

“All very clear and interesting.”

“Speaks well and clearly (and I am deaf!).”

“Very well explained.”

“Speaks clearly so that even we ‘deafies’ can hear.”

Q – Would you recommend these Shared Reading Groups?
– 100% answered YES

“They bring out everyone’s memories, encourage good conversation.”

“No matter how shy – everyone contributed a memory.”

“Informative and friendly.”

“They bring new ideas and interesting slants on things that are normally not even noticed.”

“Yes – they help people to mix and talk and laugh.”

“Very sociable and jolly group.”

“Mind expanding experience.”

Q – Sum up in one sentence your experience today.


“Very enlightening.”

“Informative, friendly.”

“Enjoy meeting other people and hearing about such varied lives.”

“To make you understand the reading of the day.”

“Very enjoyable and informative.”

“An enjoyable occasion.”

“An excellent session – most informative and entertaining.”

“Made me feel good – took me out of my daily routine.”

“Interesting – varied opinions – good company and laughter.”

“It was extremely enjoyable.”

“A sociable occasion and one that I hope to repeat.”

“Informative, enjoyable, helping me to see things though other eyes.”

“Trips down memory lane.”


“So glad I came.”

Q – Would you be interested in returning to my Shared Reading Groups?
– 100% answered YES

“A jolly and informative group.”

“I love the readings and discussions.”

“It is such a pleasure to talk and meet other people.”

“Gets me out of the house.”

Q – Is there anything that I could have done to have made your experience more successful?
 – 100% answered NO

“You did everything possible.”

“It was most successful.”

“Really enjoyed it.”

“Provide some champagne!”  (<– there’s always one!)

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