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How’s it going Chester? I’m excited to share a very unique and inspired event with you. How do you feel about an afternoon listening to a talented bunch of local poets and artists, followed by an exclusive cocktail and lots of lovely Thai food? Well then, let me fill you in:

The Grosvenor Museum recently acquired a portrait of Sybil, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, who established the Cholmondeley Prize for poetry in 1966. To celebrate her extraordinary life, local poets, musicians and storytellers will sing, play and speak sharing one unbroken human breath – bringing to mind the 1930s and ’40s, the WRNS, her links to Cheshire and family, and the muse herself. The event is organised by Chester Writers and Chester Poets and sponsored by Pursglove & Brown.

Things will kick off at 1:30pm until about 3:30pm on Sunday 18th March. It’s free but £3 is detailed as a welcome donation. The wonderful performances will be swiftly followed by an amble over to Nine Elephants – a truly scrumptious new addition to Chester’s dining scene, on Northgate Street. You can find out more about them here and here. The restaurant is opening exclusively for guests and contributors, and throwing quite the bash. For £10 on the door you’ll be treated to a specially crafted ‘Sybil Sling’ a thai spin on the classic ‘Gin Sling’ cocktail, and a selection of thai nibbles, whilst you have the opportunity to chat to performers.

Without further ado I want to introduce you to the individuals who’ll be contributing to your smashing Sunday:

Suzanne Iuppa is a poet, conservationist and community worker who lives in Snowdonia. She has published two poetry series and features in several anthologies from University of Chester Press. She is a regular performer on the Festival circuit, and organises events and workshops exploring writing and sharing in unusual spaces. Her writing was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2016.

Brian Pearson is a folk singer, songwriter and voice workshop leader. Born in St Albans, he has lived in Chester for the past thirty years. He loves the hills, theatre, jazz, Wales, pizza and his wife (not in that order). On occasion, he has been caught attempting to commit poetry. He is Chair of local theatre company Theatre in the Quarter.

Diana Sanders is a musician, composer and poet. Much of her inspiration is gathered from the wild landscape of North Wales where she lives. She has been involved in collaborative projects involving music and poetry and has had work published in the UK and the USA. She came third in the Welsh Poetry Competition 2016.

Carol Caffrey Witherow is a native of Dublin and has been living in Shropshire since 1991. Writing (fiction, poetry and plays) has always been a part of her life, though she only began to pursue it more seriously in the past few years.  A graduate of UCD, she worked as a teacher in Ireland, Nigeria and Paris before becoming a professional actor in the 1980s.  She worked mostly with community theatre groups, touring prisons, schools, women’s clubs and the alternative comedy circuit, often helping to devise and script the company’s work.

She has been published in Bare Fiction magazine, the 2013 Fish Anthology  (as a runner-up in the Flash competition), Ireland’s Own magazine and online with the Wenlock Poetry Festival.  She’s a regular contributor to Shrewsbury Poetry open mic nights and the town’s Flash Fiction evenings and is currently working on a radio drama about Queen Elizabeth 1 and a novel, set in a copper-mining village on the Beara peninsula, West Cork. She is also known for bringing to life the one-woman play Music for Dogs, by Paula Meehan.

Ian Edmonds is a native of Yorkshire, was a student in Manchester and has worked in Merseyside and lives in Chester (so people often say to him ‘we know you are from the North of England but we can’t tell from where exactly’ presumably having a mixture of accents from all the various places). Ian has been a member of Chester Writers for over 20 years and during that time has had 3 plays performed at ‘The Forum’ theatre as well as various poems and short stories published. He is currently working on a play for radio.

Ian M. Parr is a member of Chester Poets and has been published in several of their anthologies in the past five years. He is a member and co-organiser of Whitchurch Writers Group and Poetry at Bookshrop, also a Whitchurch, Shropshire venue for writers and audiences of poetry. He has been writing for over fifty years, his first publically published poem appearing in 1970 followed by other poems, songs and radio programmes. Sometimes he thinks he is still an engineer— his former occupation.

Maureen Weldon is Irish, and lives in Deeside N. Wales with her partner Paul. She is a former professional ballet dancer and teacher. She started writing poetry late 1980s. Now widely published on both sides of the Atlantic. She has six collections of her poetry, latest ‘Midnight Robin’ published by Poetry Space Ltd. Recently accepted by Red Squirrel Press to publish her next pamphlet. In 2014, Terra Poetica, Kiev, Ukraine she represented Wales and was awarded a Certificate of Participant for membership of the Jury and valuable contribution to literature and poetry. A member of The Chester Poets, her poems appearing in numerous issues of their Anthologies. Winner for June ‘Second Light Live’ 2017 Monthly Competition, her poem, Midnight Robin.

Well regarded across Chester and Merseyside, Kemal Houghton is an established poet and presenter who has been running readings and workshops for many years. He is Chair of Chester Poets and a co-presenter at First Thursday in Heswall. He is also one of three people who introduce the fortnightly show Poetry Roundup on the internet station Vintage Radio. He has a diverse body of work and is currently working on a pamphlet commissioned by Red Squirrel Press.

Tonia Bevins was born in Blackpool, Lancashire but has lived in Cheshire since her mid-twenties. A long time. She has a degree in English & American Literature from the University of Manchester. After working for the BBC for many years she became an ESOL teacher in Manchester and Liverpool. A founder member of Vale Royal Writers Group – a collection of writers from the Northwich area and beyond who between them cover all genres – Tonia spends as much time as she can (not enough) writing. She helps organise VRWG’s Wordfests at The Blue Cap, Sandiway. She also performs – nervously – at Dead Good Poets Society’s open mic nights in Liverpool and sometimes at other events. Some of her poems and pieces of flash fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies. She is very bad at submitting her work!

Chris Kinsey’s poems have won many prizes – most recently The Thomas Gray Tercentenary Prize, also BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year. She is author of four poetry collections– Muddy Fox by The Rack Press was launched in January, 2017. A fifth collection has been commissioned by Fair Acre Press for 2018.

Since her first appearance in May 2017, Evrah Rose has created a buzz within her local scene. Securing slots at Wrexfest, The Royal Welsh show and performing her first headline show at Voicebox. Evrah has been aired on BBC Radio Wales, Calon FM and The Lunar poetry podcast. Evrah has a no nonsense attitude and delves in to taboo topics that many would shy away from. She is not afraid to reveal her soul when performing using word play as a way to captivate her audience.

Helen Hill lives in Deeside with her partner, Liz and two cats. She has been writing on and off since the age of 7 and tends to be a reflective, nostalgic but sometimes humorous poet. She has been published in several anthologies and magazines as well as on the web, on the radio and in various exhibitions in Chester, Wales and Sheffield, her home town. Helen has been a member of Chester Poets for many years.

Paul Michael and Jon Egerton met just over two years ago on the Chester open-mic circuit. Within ten minutes they were performing the timeless standard Body and Soul. Since that time they have regularly performed at numerous nights in Chester and North Wales building up a set that includes Bossa Nova, Soul, 60s and Jazz standards. The philosophy behind their sound is guided by the craft of song whether it be old, new and something in-between! During the past two years the duo have contributed to the Chester Bandstand open-mic Takeover and the Hoole community street festival. Prior to all this Jon was a seasoned musician serving in the armed forces. Paul served his apprenticeship in punk bands in Manchester. Together, they aim to bring their experience to an “after hours” mood of classic song-craft.