Greenbelt ’12

Over on the Greenbelt website they’re asking people to list five acts that they’re looking forward to seeing at Greenbelt this year. This will be my first Greenbelt speaking on my owny-o so I hope no-one minds if I include myself in my ‘Greenbelt Five’ list because I am genuinely looking forward to experiencing myself in a new way at the festival this year 🙂

Five acts I’m excited about seeing at Greenbelt this year:

Pádraig O’Tuama

The first time I attempted to write this blog post, typing Pádraig’s name made the entire post disappear. I expect this is a sign from the blog gods that one should be reverent when speaking of Pádraig. They needn’t have worried though because I think Pádraig is ace.

I’ve worked with Pádraig in Belfast and at Greenbelt many times as part of Ikon. He is a  provocative and inspiring and wise person, and I’m glad he writes (beautiful) poetry because it means that you can always have a little bit of Pádraig with you. I hope the blog gods are satisfied, but I would have written that anyway. You’ll just have to trust me on that.

Peterson Toscano

I met Peterson in 2008. It was a very brief meeting. I found him engaging a queue of people who wanted to speak to him, pressed a little letter I’d written into his hand, and ran away. I was inspired to write that note after seeing his one-man performance ‘Doin’ Time At the Homo No Mo Halfway House’- a play that made me laugh and cry and think. Since then I’ve seen Peterson perform several times but I’ve always managed to miss Transfigurations- a play about gender-queer bible characters. So I am really excited about seeing him performing Transfigurations at Greenbelt this year. I image the queues won’t be any shorter – get there early!

The Imagined Village 

All I really know about The Imagined Village is the work they did with Benjamin Zephaniah. That alone makes me want to be there to see them. I have a feeling they’ll great.


Well, I wish Ikon was going to be there this year.

We are going to be there.

Not really.

Ikon are definitely (not) going to be there this year.

So please (don’t) come and see us…




I am speaking at Greenbelt this year! Woo Hoo! 12.45pm on Saturday at the Hub, I think.

I am massively excited about it.

I’ve been on Greenbelt stages a number of times over the years with Ikon- reading my work, and, y’know, knitting, simulating self-immolation, that kind of thing, but  this is the first time for me doing a talk.

My title is  ‘What To do While You’re Waiting for Paradise’ and my talk will be aimed at those people who are interested in the space that writers find themselves in between having written something and having published something.

Sending submissions to agents and publishers is hard work in itself, but is there anything that writers can do beyond waiting and hoping? I think there is and I want to share my practical experiences of engaging with the local community, accidental self-publishing and creating your own writing community. My talk will not be about how much better any path to publishing is than any other path (although I might have a rant about that particular conversation), but I will talk a little bit about my thoughts and experiences of self publishing and I will also be reading from my recently self-published novel for young adults, Widows’ Row.

I am just writing the talk now so if there’s something that comes to mind along those lines that you’d like to hear more about why not drop me a line ( There will be time for questions after the talk but I know that writers often come to talks about the writing life with specific questions that they’d like answered (I know I do). If you want to throw those over to me I will do my best to write my responses into the talk.

That’s it! I’m excited! I hope you are too. See you there!


  1. Congratulations only reading at Greenbelt, Shirley! Hope you have a great time and sell lots of books as a result.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s