March’s Hubbub had a special theme in recognition of International Women’s Day and submissions were invited featuring female characters or issues of importance to women. We weren’t disappointed. Plus there was an extra special guest as Leila Segal, Director of Voice of Freedom, spoke about the project’s work with trafficked women.
First up was Melanie Jones from the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, who read a beautiful story, ‘Silence’. Twelve-year-old, Natalie, is surrounded by noise and no-one ever seems to listen to her so she decides to stop talking to see if anyone will notice.
Next we had a story from Daniel Bourke – this one intriguingly titled ‘Doo-Wop Daughters’ – in which a dead father reminisces about his love for his daughters.
Second year MA student, Sarala Estruch, was next and we were treated to three of her poems. First was ‘I Love Everything About Being a Mother’ – a bittersweet take on motherhood. Then there was ‘Leaving Adam’, in which Eve dumps Adam outside the Garden of Eden and speeds off towards Jerusalem in a car. Finally Sarala read ‘My Brownlee’, her response to Paul Muldoon’s poem ‘Why Brownlee Left’, from the point of view of Brownlee’s lover.
Then we returned to prose as another second year MA Creative Writing student, Gilli Fryzer, read an extract from her story, ‘Margate Sands’ in which Jess, recently divorced, goes to pieces in a Margate guesthouse.
Just before the break, Leila Segal spoke about Voice of Freedom’s work with African women who have escaped slavery. They teach the women photography so that they can explore and share their experiences, in partnership with PhotoVoice a charity which works with marginalised communities throughout the world. Thanks to everyone who donated to Voice of Freedom, online and at Hubbub - on the night we collected £135 towards their next project. You can still donate to Voice of Freedom online and you can visit an exhibition of the women’s photographs at Amnesty International UK, 25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA, from March 20 until April 6.
After the break, Poet and Birkbeck lecturer Liane Strauss, read from her collection, Leaving Eden, a connected series of poems telling a story like stages along a progress (in the Elizabethan sense). ‘Boy’, ‘Rumour’, ‘Alone in the Night’, ‘Ceci n’est pas’, ‘Winter’, ‘A Spring in a Cold Snap’, ‘Here’s Looking at You’, ‘The Morning is the Hardest. It is Morning’ and finally finishing with a new poem, ‘Krakatoa Moon’.
Our last guest of the evening was Zoe Pilger, art critic for The Independent and winner of the 2011 Frieze International Writer’s prize. Zoe read from her debut novel Eat My Heart Out, a dark comedy, treating us to the beginning of chapter six, a section she described as “one of the most aggressive and offensive sections in the book”. And you can hear it online along with other Hubbub readings on the Writers’ Hub.
Details of the next Hubbub will also appear on the Writers’ Hub portal when these are finalised.