Spotlight: Writers in the Bath

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Emma Purshouse chats to Cora Greenhill to get the low down on ‘Writers in the Bath.’

EP:-    So how long has Writers in the Bath been running?

CG:-    Writers in The Bath has been running for 4 years in Sheffield at The Bath Hotel. It began after the demise of another longstanding event. I did the organising and hosting for the first 3 years or so, and this work is now shared between 4 women poets.  We, and all our poets, love the intimacy of the room, even though it can get quite steamy!

EP:-    Quite appropriate for being in ‘The Bath’ then!

CG:-    When we first moved in there was a real coal fire in the grate which could make it almost too cosy. This has sadly been replaced by a more practical gas fire.

EP:-    How do you fund your night?

CG:- We’ve never applied for funding, but we ask for £4 on the door, from which we maintain a kitty to pay poets’ travel expenses. We sometimes offer them a meal beforehand if they’ve travelled, which gives us a lovely opportunity to get to know them better. All this adds to our sense of wanting to welcome and nurture our poets, who always comment on the quality of listening they receive at The Bath.

EP:-    How do you decide on which poets to feature?

CG:-   All our featured poets are published, and bring books to sell. We usually have 2-3 featured poets who get at least 20 mins each, sometimes in 2 sets. Occasionally we feature an anthology launch or a local writer’s group.  We also include a one poem per person open mic, sometimes with a theme, which is always of high quality.  The highlights for us are meeting brilliant poets and hearing them read and sometimes talk about their work. It’s a huge privilege. Poets are so generous – they should be paid properly for their work but many venues don’t even offer expenses.  As a poet myself, I am determined to do what I can to welcome, appreciate and compensate them.

EP:-  What advice would you give to somebody who was thinking of setting up and night of their own?

CG:-    If you’re starting up a venue, be clear why you’re doing it – create a culture, and make this clear in your correspondence with potential performers.  There’s a good deal of work involved in drawing up programmes, contacting poets and following up contacts, keeping records, maintaining social media and email listings, financial accounts etc. Once you’re on the map, you want to continue, so envisage what you’re prepared to do over years not months.

Thanks for talking to Write Out Loud, Cora. 

‘Writers in the Bath’ meet at 7.30 pm on the 2nd Tuesday of  every month at The Bath Hotel, 66 Victoria Street, Sheffield S3  7QL  You can find out about the next meeting which takes place on the 9th October here on the WOL gig guide.

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