Mike in Finland

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Photos from Mother Goose

Here are a couple of photos from the Mother Goose pant which has just just finished a successful, sell-out run at Teatteri Siperia, Sorintalo, Tampere, one of the whole cast and one of the Goose family: Mother, Jack, Silly Billy and Lucy the goose. I defy anyone to identify me in these pictures.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Mother Goose Panto in Tampere

The Tampere Finnish-British Society is staging a production of the pantomime Mother Goose, in English. Performances will be on Thursday 18 December at 19.00, Friday 19 December at 19.00, and Saturday 20 December at 14.00 and 19.00. The venue is Sorintalo, Sorinkatu 16, Tampere and tickets are 7 €, available through tamperepanto@gmail.com or at the door.

The cast is all amateur, composed largely of students from Tampereen Lyseon Lukio (Rellu). And guess who’s playing the role of Mother Goose? It’s funny, I’d never really seen myself as a panto dame before.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sue Guiney and Noel Duffy in Finland

I have just had a busy and highly rewarding four days hosting the visit to Tampere of two writers whose work I admire greatly, Sue Guiney and Noel Duffy.

Sue and Noel arrived at Helsinki, Vantaa airport on Wednesday, 8 October and gave a reading to the Helsinki branch of the Finnish-British Society that same evening. I was not able to be there myself, but all the reports I've heard testify to its having been a very enjoyable reading followed by a lively evening out in restaurant Lappi.

On Thursday Sue and Noel ran a poetry workshop for the students at The English School in Helsinki and then travelled north to Tampere, where I met them. On Friday morning I introduced them to the principal and some of the staff at Tampereen Lyseon Lukio where they ran another successful poetry workshop. The group of IB students who took part in this workshop produced a group poem which you can read on Sue's home page:


That Friday, the 9 October, was Aleksis Kivi Day in Finland, or the national literature day, and apart from being a very suitable day for writers to be visiting Finland, there was also a celebration at Tampere University where Sue, Noel and myself read a poem each. Some of the staff of the university's language centre sang Aleksis Kivi's song 'Oravan Laulu' - 'The Song of the Squirrel' - which is from his novel, Seven Brothers.

A poetry reading had been arranged for Friday evening in Tampere's main library with Sue, Noel, Donald Adamson and myself. When the reading was over we spent almost an hour chatting with members of the audience. I always feel that one of the nicest things about giving a reading is this opportunity to meet the audience and exchange ideas, opinions and thoughts, not only about poetry necessarily, but also other topics that have been suggested by the reading.

On Saturday we gave a reading in Pispala library. It's a community-run library with a very special atmosphere. Once again, the reading was followed by an hour in which we could meet the audience, exchange ideas, and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine.

Many thanks to Sue and Noel for travelling all this way and making each event such a success, and thanks also to everyone who helped towards the organizing of the whole programme and individual events. The Finnish-British Society arranges many visits to Finland by a wide range of different speakers and artists and by so doing, helps to promote knowledge and understanding of the cultures of all involved.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Poetry reading in English

I will be reading from my new collection, Falstaff's Gut, in Pietilä Sali, Metso library, Tampere on Friday 10 October at 18.00 with Sue Guiney, Noel Duffy and Donald Adamson.

We will read for about an hour after which we hope to answer questions and generally chat with the audience.

The event will be in English and entry is free.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Falstaff's Gut hits the world

I'm very pleased to announce the publication of my new poetry collection, Falstaff's Gut.

I'm going to be launching the collection at Metso library, Tampere, Finland on Friday 10 October at 18.00 at a poetry reading event with fellow Ward Wood poets, Sue Guiney and Noel Duffy, and Donald Adamson. Anyone in Tampere at that time is very welcome. The event takes place in the Pietilä Sali and is free. This event is free and will be entirely in English.

And then, the same four writers will be following up this event with a reading of poetry and prose at Pispala library, Tahmelankatu 14 (on the bus route 25) on Saturday 11 October at 15.00. The programme will be completely different to the Friday event. The Pispala event is free, and there will be a free glass of sparkling wine after the reading and the chance to chat with the writers. This event will be almost entirely in English, but with a few poems read in Finnish translation.

Books by all four authors will be on sale at both events. Falstaff's Gut can also be obtained from the publishers:

from Amazon in both paper and Kindle versions,

from Book Depository

and from Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, but I think you may have to order it, which I understand can be quite slow.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Reading in Shrewsbury

I will be reading from my new novel, Arthur's Eventful Weekend, on Saturday 28th June, at Pengwern Books, Fish Street, Shrewsbury. It's right in the middle of the old town. The doors open at 18.30 for a 19.00 start. Copies of the new novel as well as my earlier novel, The Finn's Tale, and my poetry collection, Midas Touch, will be on sale. An entry fee of £3 will be charged to cover the cost of refreshments, which includes wine. I will read a few passages from the novel and say something about the structure of the book and the writing process, and will answer questions at the end. The reading will end at about 20.00.

If you're in the Shrewsbury area, I'd love to see you at the reading.

Friday, 25 April 2014

There will be a launch for my new novel, Arthur's Eventful Weekend, in Tampere, Finland on Friday 9 May at 18.30 in the International Meeting Place (Kansainvälinnen Kohtauspaikka) at Suvantokatu 13; just off Rautatienkatu, near the Russian Orthodox Church. The launch is being organised by the Tampere branch of the Finnish-British Society but everyone is welcome. Entry is free.

I will talk a little bit about the writing of the novel, read a few short passages and answer any questions. This part will last about 40 minutes. And then we shall 'wet the baby's head', as the saying is, with some glasses of sparkling wine. I always enjoy these events, especially chatting with everyone with glass in hand.

The new novel, and others of my books, will be available at wonderfully advantageous prices, but there's no obligation to buy.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Arthur's Eventful Weekend

My new novel, Arthur's Eventful Weekend, is now published and available.

It's a first person narrative and I have to say that I enjoyed creating the character of the narrator. He is an odd chap. Surely, each reader will form their own opinion about him. If the historical King Arthur had been born in 1960 (about) would he have been like my Arthur? Maybe, maybe not, but my narrator gets into some situations that parallel events in the Arthurian legends. After a visit to his aging mother in a retirement home, a remark she makes starts him wondering if his father was really his father. So begins a stock-taking review of his life so far. His relationship with his wife is tense, but he scarcely seems aware of it. And then there's the memory that won't give him any peace: the worst thing he ever did.

But I mustn't give the game away.

Here's the cover:

Monday, 7 April 2014

Poetry Reading in Pispala Library

We had a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon for our poetry reading in Pispala library and the beautiful early spring weather seemed to set the tone and atmosphere of the whole event. Donald Adamson and I read Finnish-themed poems from our own collections, mainly in English but with some translated into Finnish. Donald also read from his translations of Lassi Nummi's poetry. We had a lovely audience who were most generous in their appreciation and with whom it was a great pleasure to chat after the reading and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine.

Pispala library is a perfect venue for such an event; it's intimate, cosy and has a charm of its own. And our hosts on the occasion, Anne Rasmussen and Jyri Lehtimäki, provided us with excellent support and made us feel most welcome. A big thank you to both of them. We're already making plans for another event in the autumn.

Here's Donald reading from From Coiled Roots:

And myself reading mainly from Midas Touch, plus some new poems:

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Poetry Event in Tampere April 5

Poetry event in Tampere on Saturday April 5 at 15.00 - 16.30.

I'm reading with Donald Adamson in Pispala library, Tahmelankatu 14 (take bus number 25). Free entry.

We're reading mainly in English from our own work, but there will be some poems in Finnish with English translations and the English text of some poems will be projected on a screen. We plan to adjourn to the pub across the road after the event for a drink and a chat. If you're in the area, come along. If you're a poet, bring along a couple of poems.