Visiting Hello Hubmarine at the Derby Book Festival

A hand-drawn illustration of girl with long red hair sitting on the floor smiling while reading a book she holds.

On Saturday evening, we went to see Hello Hubmarine’s Derby Book Festival event at the Silk Mill (we seem to be there all the time of late). Writing and design goes hand-in-hand and most of our work involves copy writing rather than fiction but we were keen to see what our local (and not so local) writers are up to.

The evening was broken up into several parts. The first part was poetry with poets Mark Gwynne Jones and Bangalore-based poet and translator Mamta Sagar who presented Melding Voices: England’s Peak District meets India’s Karnataka region. This was performance poetry spoken in both English and Kannada.

The next part featured two of Hello Hubmarine’s own writers. First was Joe Coghlan, reciting two poems and Emma J Lannie reading two short stories. Out of all of the readings of the evening, Emma was my favourite writer. Her first story, struck a balance between an imaginative fantastical setting and real emotions which I really enjoyed listening to.

Richard J Birkin, a derbyshire-based soundtrack composer, changed the format and pace with his section. Rather than words being read out loud, Richard had developed an app that was synced to an original score written as a soundtrack to six poems by Michael Frearson. As Richard played the soundtrack, the poems appeared on screen word-by-word or line-by-line. This was such a different and creative way for people to connect to poetry and the music was beautiful too.

The final parts of the evening saw two poems read by Éireann Lorsung, editor, designer, maker and writer and part of a short story read by Nottingham-based Jon McGregor named as “one of The Guardian’s top 10 writers to see live.” His story amused the crowd with larger-than-life characters and a great sense of fun.

We had a great evening with Hello Hubmarine, listened to some fantastic stories and poems, watched some great short animations and had our first experience of a live-music-with-poetry app.

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Helen Clark

Helen has recently entered the National Flash Fiction Day writing competition. She didn't win, but had a great time writing some 100 word stories.

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