October 8, 2008

A Life Laid Out in Coffee Spoons … Or Just a Service Station

By Karen Price

AS far as poetic inspiration goes, motorway service stations would not be most people's cup of tea.

But a group of people who have been moved to write odes to their favourite motorway stop-offs will be among those attending a Cardiff Literary Festival.

Baylit, which opens tomorrow, aims to discover if literature is still attracting audiences through a host of innovative events.

It will feature emerging authors with unique writing styles, not only within literature but also in politics, film, theatre, technology and the media.

Highlights include poetry collective Aisle 16, who will take audiences on a literary tour of the UK's motorway service stations during a special event at The Wharf in Cardiff Bay on Saturday.

Aisle16 is made up of Luke Wright, Ross Sutherland, Joel Stickley and Chris Hicks. From their humble beginnings in 2000, running a poetry club above a communist theme pub, Aisle 16 have become one of the UK's most sought-after poetry acts.

Their performance in Cardiff will detail the five days they spent at service stations. Featuring 10 original poems, each one is a desperate postcard home from nowhere, backed by grainy camera visuals.

The annual bilingual festival is organised by Academi, the National Literary Promotion Agency for Wales, and takes place at venues throughout Cardiff Bay until October 14.

Other highlights include Cym-deithas y Rhyfeddod's multimedia experiment featuring 24 familiar voices from Welsh-language literature. There will also be an evening of speedy scripts from young Welsh playwrights Ceri Elen, Huw Foulkes, Lleucu Sion, Elis Gomer and Gwilym Dwy for, which follows the arrival of the World Poets Tour in Cardiff, led by Choman Hardi.

Poet, critic and newly appointed editor of New Welsh Review, Kathryn Gray, introduces an evening featuring young Welsh writers Zoe Brigley, Meirion Jordan, Louise Walsh, Tom Anderson and Joe Dunthorne.

There will also be an event marking National Poetry Day on Thursday which combines experimental film and live readingss from Lois Barrar, Rhys Iorwerth, Iwan Rhys, Tiffany Atkinson, Richard Marggraf Turley and Anna Lewis followed by music from Jamie and the Lionhearts and Derwyddon Dr Gonzo.

The Baylit Festival runs in Cardiff from tomorrow until October 14. For details visit www.academi.org/baylit/ [email protected]

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