" /> latest - Naomi Foyle
Graph of covid 19 outbreak peaks

  Well, be careful what you wish for. When in my last post I asked for 2020 to be a year of healing, little did I dream that the universe would respond in epic fashion. Now it’s two weeks into the UK lockdown, and like most people, I’m still adjusting to the dystopian world we find ourselves in.  An invisible threat, mobile morgues, economic paralysis: it’s a perfect storm of science fiction scenarios, but apart from a few furious Facebook posts – and a slightly drier one pointing out the uncanny similarities between the Tory Cabinet and the Keystone Kops – I haven’t written anything about coronavirus. Partly that’s because, between Zooming, Skyping and FaceTiming, finally figuring out my home sound system and vacuuming behind the sofa for the first time in two years, staying at home all day has proved oddly hectic. But the problem is also writerly: where…

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The sub shining through clouds over a wetlands marsh, Sunderland Point, Lancashire

What a year it’s been. Much as I believe in active hope, I found the General Election result incredibly demoralising. Not only was the Conservative majority achieved with a minority of the popular vote, and the bullying help of a billionaire media, I just can’t see how Brexit can be ‘done’ without destroying the United Kingdom. But Tory voters don’t seem to care about Scotland or peace in Northern Ireland, or homelessness and food banks, or rising levels of inequality and racism, as evidenced by the dreadful antisemitic violence and vandalism we saw over Hanukkah. And that’s not even mentioning constitutional changes, post-truth politics and the devastating impact five years of Conservative rule will have on the environment. Enraged and bruised, I took time off social media over Christmas to recover, heading up North to spend time with family and friends. Chatting with Big Issue sellers in the rubble of the…

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Image of a Labour Party scratchcard advent calendar, listing their election promises

  What a week. As the fates of the country and the planet whirl in the balance like fragile baubles on a Christmas tree for sale out in a blizzard . . . ADAMANTINE, my third poetry collection, is published today in the UK.  While the United Kingdom still exists!  Facebook friends know I’ve been quite exercised about the General Election, but even before I knew my British Publication Day would be swamped by the most important national poll of our lifetimes, I had decided to wait out the hectic Winterval season and line up some readings in the New Year. I wanted to make a little fuss though, so back in September I hired design wizard Sheila Urbanoski and her gaggle of elves at SheShe to help me refresh my website for the occasion. Given that I was also burning the midnight oil this autumn to help Waterloo Press…

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Cover of Adamantine: a young woman holding an hourglass

  Adamantine [adjective] 1. Made of adamant, or having the qualities of adamant; incapable of being broken, dissolved or penetrated.2. Like the diamond in hardness or lustre3. My third poetry collection! Welcome to the first round of celebrations of the publication of Adamantine (Red Hen/Pighog Press, Pasadena), which was published July 11th in the US/Canada and is forthcoming December 11th in the UK. Containing tributes to an international range of artists and activists, and a lyric sequence responding to my breast cancer treatment, the book honours women’s tenacity and lustre. While the book is not an eco-poetry collection, whether by serendipity or occult foresight, the image of the hourglass is a motif in the poems and cover image; and in its internationalist scope Adamantine is offered in the spirit of global solidarity that Extinction Rebellion has helped ignite this year – a grassroots uprising which may yet save us and our precious…

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A wildflower

Driven by a giddy need to make up for lost time, my first full year post-cancer treatment was full tilt with travel, art galleries, books, family and friends. I also finally learned how to use my iPhone camera – you touch the screen to focus, doh!  Fizzing with this epiphany, I even signed up for a iPhone photography course, way back in February, but what with my madcap work pace haven’t had time to start it yet.  I also remain confused by Instagram – it seems you can’t use the app on a computer, only your phone, and I like curating albums, which Facebook, for all its multitude of sins, is pretty good at. Still, I did migrate from the insanely perplexing iPhotos (I spent an hour at a festival with an award-winning filmaker trying to clear storage space without deleting all my photos, and she gave up too), to…

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  September sings, but the chords of summer echo on, not least of my visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in late July for readings from A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry, the bilingual anthology I edited last year for Smokestack Books. Travelling with Rachel Searle, the Director of BlakeFest (Bognor Regis) – for whom I am consulting on the Building Jerusalem event in this year’s festival – Palestinian-American poet Farid S. Bitar, and performance artist/historian Catherine Charrett, I chaired two poetry events in East Jerusalem and Ramallah; visited with Jewish peace activists in Haifa; and, in the Occupied Galilee, met with poet and political prisoner Dareen Tatour on the eve of her sentencing. Rachel and I returned home sobered by the manifold injustices we had witnessed, but also inspired to ‘see the world in a blade of grass’, and motivated to continue creating poetic bridges between Palestine and…

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Lee Bul_Various Works

I used to be a performance poet. Wearing an eyeliner moustache I’d throw myself around the stage like a deranged Russian count, or adopting an ersatz German accent I’d impersonate a formidable Frau on the warpath. I never got nervous before these appearances: it wasn’t me up there, what was there to worry about? When I began writing SFF novels it came as rather a shock, therefore, to realise that only very rarely would I get invites to read my work, or even to discuss it. Instead, I was expected to come to conferences and festivals and talk about all sorts of other things, sometimes only tangentially related to my fiction, to audiences who – given I’m an SFF late starter – generally knew far more about those things than I did. It took a good couple of years to adjust to this blow to my theatrical ego. Initially I…

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Boys in a Syrian refugee camp

I haven’t posted about Syria this week because I’ve been thinking a lot about what to say. In recent weeks I’ve met people who’ve told me that: 1) Assad has to stay because otherwise Syria will end up being controlled by a US-Wahhabi-Zionist alliance, and Christianity will be wiped out in the Middle East – once there is peace, though, then he can removed from power by the UN; 2) that the White Helmets belong to ISIS; 3) that after the first gas attack in Ghouta Israeli gas canisters were found – that is to say, the attack was an IDF false flag, which is why the West never responded to it 4) that we don’t know who is responsible for the attacks, or if gas has even been used. I don’t mention these claims because I want to debate them. I’ve already debated them in person. But as everyone…

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Invite to Red Hen Press reading in London

Shivering through the cruellest month? Didn’t book your Eurostar ticket to Paris? Never mind, London is blossoming too, at least for this Brighton lilac – it would be lovely to see you at one or t’other (or both!) of these upcoming literary flowerings . . . a Red Hen Press poetry reading at the Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon Rd, and Spicing Up Sci Fi: The Dunes Strike Back, a panel discussion on Islam and the hybrid imagination at the British Library.    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *…

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A Blade of Grass with a bouquet of flowers

It’s here! And it’s a beaut: bursting with sharp, fresh and tender poems, and well and truly launched at a sell-out event on Thursday Nov 16th at P21 Gallery in London, a contemporary arts centre dedicated to the promotion of Arab culture. Thank you to the gallery for hosting us, to the University of Chichester for promoting the event with a press release to national media and a banner article on their website, to Andy Croft of Smokestack Books for training it down from Yorkshire for the gig, and most especially to poets Mustafa Abu Sneineh and Farid Bitar – who journeyed from New York City especially for the event – and translators Katharine Halls and Waleed Al-Bazoon for their depth-charged readings from A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry.  Thank you also to everyone who came and made the launch such an uplifting occasion. While I was thrilled to…

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