March Meeting

Next month ….

March Meeting

To mark International Women’s Day we were joined in March by Bee Rowlatt, journalist and author, who talked passionately about her heroine the amazing Mary Wollstonecraft. Bee chairs the Mary on the Green campaign which has been campaigning to memorialise Mary Wollstonecraft in Newington Green, and she is a founding Trustee of the human rights education charity the Wollstonecraft Society.

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. Until the late 20th century, her life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships for the time, received more attention than her writing. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her work and her life as important influences.  We learned about Mary’s childhood where she witnessed domestic violence in her home, her travels around Europe, and her time in Stoke Newington establishing a school for girls. Bee has written a book in which she followed Mary’s footsteps on an extraordinary journey in search of her life and legacy that took her to the wild coasts of Norway and elsewhere. It was a fantastic talk and a huge thanks to Bee for coming along and celebrating International Women’s Day with us.

 

 

Wollstonecraft is best known for writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), in which she argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. She suggests that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason.

Plus tea and cake of course.

Thanks to all who brought donations for Solace Women’s Aid, we collect toiletries every month to donate to the women and children living in their refuges and had a bumper package to take to Solace this month.  We will be looking for donations of easter eggs for the children next month, any donation gratefully received.

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Our usual knitting and book groups information are on the relevant pages on the website.

March 7th – a group of us are taking the banner on the International Women’s Day March in central London – there is a sign up sheet but if you can’t make the meeting and would like to join us email us at the usual address

April 19th – in the lead up to the start of our BST walking group commencing this year we are taking a trip back to Rickmansworth and the gravel pits to see all the baby birds, more information is on the walking group page

Looking ahead to June and July we are planning a day trip to Hitchen Lavender Fields where we can pick our own lavender and enjoy a lovely day in the country, there will be a sign-up sheet for 2 alternative dates and we will go with the most popular one. Again if you can’t make the next few meetings then do email in to let us know you would like to join us. The dates proposed are June 27th and July 18th. Check out their website at http://www.hitchinlavender.com

 

Magical moments with the local poet Marina Evans

Unique, funny and charming are all words that describe the Irish-born local poet and novelist Martina Evans who read from her collected works at April’s meeting. Ahead of the launch of her new collection, Burnfort, Las Vegas, Martina treated us to excerpts of prose and poems both old and brand new. Originally from County Cork Martina kept us enthralled by drawing us into her personal and imaginative world. She was initially shy about reading to us, but as we hung on her every word and we were spellbound by poems such as Frank O’Hara and Oysters her confidence grew. Mixing up the ordinary with the extraordinary (Donny the cat featured heavily as did references to local London history and Shakespeare) she told us how she learnt her craft and now teaches at Birkbeck College.IMG_3533

As a child she always had her head in a book and told us that she started out on her creative writing career (first novels and then her true love poetry) because she, “loves telling stories and I love fairy tales too.” She finished the evening with a Q&A and we learnt that… She writes best… “Early in the morning, the earlier the better”. Nothing is wasted. She’s a natural poet because… “I like intensity. When I started writing I had done the Artist’s Way (a guide to unblocking your creativity) and it changed my life. It was absolutely transformational.” The saying may be that everyone has a novel in them… “But, I think that everyone has poetry in them.” Her next book is… “All about teenagers.”

Marina has kindly sent some links to some of her work and readings:

Here is the link to new prose poem Now We Can Talk Openly About Men on RTE RADIO which was published in The Stinging Fly magazine, it starts after a couple of minutes:

I also promised to send this essay I wrote for the Royal Literary Fund. 

And an essay on the prose poem.

And the wonderful Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize-winner talking on memory and experience and happiness: