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A (tell) Tale of Two Collectives

I’m fortunate to be a part of two writers’ collectives, one is of course Telltale Press and the other The Needlewriters.

Needlewriters is based in Lewes and consists of about 6 or 7 of us (not entirely sure how many at the moment!) and we’re all writers of prose, poetry or both. We host quarterly events at the Needlemakers cafe (geddit?) at which there are generally three readers – two prose and one poetry, or the other way around. In the interval we sell books and have a raffle, the cafe is open and it’s a well-supported evening. We’ve also produced an anthology featuring work by many of the writers who have read at the event over the years. (The online version can be read for free here.)

Last Thursday we had our Spring reading which for the first time was a Poetry Special, with four readers: Lucy Cotterill, Jemma Borg, Janet Sutherland and Vanessa Gebbie. I was struck by the range of subject matter and styles we witnessed. And each of the poets read so well – although the voices were quite different they all seemed to exude a kind of relaxed authority. No wonder we had such good feedback at the end of the night.

And of course I have to give a plug to Telltale Press – we also hold regular readings, the next of which is on Wednesday 13th April at the Lewes Arms: special guest Abegail Morley, plus Telltales Sarah Barnsley and myself are joined by Rebecca White. Rebecca is a name you may not know, but she’s very talented – a recent graduate of the University of East Anglia Creative Writing MA. We’re all very excited to hear her read, and we hope the poetry-lovers of Lewes will turn out.

Now I’ve got to decide what to read – some newer stuff, certainly – and perhaps see if I can work up one or two from memory. Eek!

The following week I’m the ‘featured poet’ at Poetry at the Underground Theatre Cafe on my home turf here in Eastbourne, which is sightly nerve-wracking (I’m not sure how many will come, and I don’t yet have many friends in Eastbourne) but I know I’ll enjoy it.

Published inBlogEventsReadings


  1. Antony Mair Antony Mair

    Hope both readings go well, Robin, and I’m v sorry not to be able to be at either – as you know, a clash with the Hastings Stanza for the first and away in France (“doing research” for a project that seems to have been in the pipeline for at least two years, but using this as a pretext for a bit of a jolly in the Loire) for the second. I’m sure you’ll wow the audience on both occasions.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you Antony, and have a super time on your research trip!

  2. Sounds wonderful. Hoping to find a poetry collective myself when I move back to the UK, but I’m a bit far away from you, sadly…

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Marina, thank you for your kind comment, and for the retweets! Are you coming back to the UK soon?

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Ann, not sure about magic touch, but working on it!!

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Robin Houghton 2024