Feedback – Poetry reading by Bejan Matur 2 Oct 2017

Bejan Matur
reading her poetry in Turkish, Kurdish and English

Monday 2nd October 2017 at Offside Books

To have a chance to meet and listen to a poet such as Bejan Matur in the intimate surroundings of Offside Books was a rare pleasure.  To hear her speak about the village she is from in Northern Kurdistan (East Turkey), with its mountains and streams, its traditions that go back to the days before modern Islam and the Turkish Republic. The fascinating stories she tells of her ‘neolithic grandmother’. And now her life after all the books (ten? twelve?) she has published of her poetry, the languages she has been translated into, the prizes she has won.

And then the pleasure of hearing her recite and to hear the translations in English of her verse, with its intense spirituality, so connected to the earth, so much of the past yet reaching us and touching us here and now. Followed by a special treat for us, a poem in Kurdish – as yet unpublished – with a softness and expressiveness, so different from her Turkish works.

We finished the evening by taking over a local Indian restaurant for more conversations that flew across countries and continents, traversing time as if time were of no consequence.

Bejan spends many months of the year in London. Look out for other events of hers.

Read a selection of her poems online here.
Poems online
Check out her Wikipedia page here:

And if you’re in the area, pop into Offside Books for a bilingual copy of Bejan’s latest book, “If this is a Lament”.

Brian Lee
Oct 2017

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Wednesday October 4 Poetry of Many Worlds Event

Once again, on Wednesday 4th October at 7pm, we host the next evening of ‘Poetry of Many Worlds’ here at Offside Books on Willesden Lane. As always we are extremely indebted to Brian Lee for organising this event.

The theme for the evening will be:
"From the country to the city
From the city to the country
From one country to another.


£3 entrance – includes free refreshment.

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Bejan Matur – Poetry reading Monday 2 Oct 2017

It’s a privilege to announce that the international poet Bejan Matur will be reading her poetry in English, Kurdish and Turkish, on Monday 2nd October 7pm at Offside Books, 92 Willesden Lane in Kilburn.

Bejan Matur is from a Kurdish Alevi family, and has had her poetry translated into 28 languages, including French, Spanish and Chinese.

About Bejan

Bejan Matur is the most illustrious poet among a bold new women’s poetry emerging from the Middle East. Her poetry engages directly and concretely with the struggles of her people, and yet there is also a mysticism in her writing, a closeness to nature, an embracing of mythology – a dialogue with God.

Please confirm in advance if you wish to attend.


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Weekly Language Club, Kilburn, starts 28 September

Kilburn Language Club
Stars Thursday 28 September 2017   From 7 to 9 pm
At The Bookshop (OffSide Books), 92 Willesden Lane, NW6 7TA

A weekly language club starts – where people can come along, practise their conversation skills and discuss learning techniques. Over time we can add games like Trivial Pursuit in the relevant language.
It would start with 3 language groups – Spanish, French and German – but any language can be spoken on the night even English (for English learners)! We also anticipate that language teachers may want to come along and participate.
The language club meets would be a social get-together, so no tests or homework! We’d provide wine or juice (or tea or ice cream if you prefer) along with suitable snacks as part of the £7 entrance fee; there will also be a 10 section prepaid for £50 with club membership plus 10% discount on language books.
Language development needs regularity in order to progress. We strongly recommend you become a member of Kilburn Language Club, so weekly costs are just £5 for a night out practising your language(s).
Please let us know in advance as space is limited.

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Film screening – Four generations – Monday 25th September, 7pm

A Presentation and screening of a series of short films
by Tereza Stehlikova.

Monday 25th September, 7pm

All WELCOME: Fee £7 (includes wine and nibbles)

“Twice a year four generations of women (my grandmother, my mother,
myself and my daughter) gather in a family house in Southern Bohemia
or in an apartment in Prague, where my family has been living for the past 60 years.
Together, we participate in a ritual of filming. This ongoing project began in 2011, when I felt the need to document the rare moments of these four women occupying the same moment in space and time. I wanted to capture these fleeting instances, to preserve them, but also honour them as they were unfolding in our presence, through the act of filming bringing the women together around a shared pursuit.”
Tereza Stehlikova

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Creative Writing Course 26 Sep – 21 Nov Hud Saunders

We are privileged to host again, a Creative Writing Course with Hud Saunders

The course will run between 26 September and 21 November 2017, 7pm-9pm, on subsequent Tuesday nights It is an 8 week course with a break on 24 October.

Cost: £160 (Please contact the Bookshop for payment details)

Please note places are limited to a maximum of ten participants, so please book early to secure a place.

Have you ever wondered about writing but felt unsure of how to start?
Do you write on your own but need some feedback?  Are you an experienced writer looking for ways to develop your skills? This fun
and inspiring course will provide stimulating and thought-provoking exercises and prompts to get you started, along with lots of
constructive advice. Ideal for both beginners and experienced writers.

Participants only need to bring a pen and something to write on.

In 2003 Hud Saunders graduated from editing film scripts to writing
screenplays – his first film, ‘Brothers in Arms’, written for Moulin
Rouge producer Martin Brown, was followed by several screenplays,
alongside the role of creative consultant on both of 1 Giant Leap’s
Grammy nominated movie documentaries. His first novel ‘The Beasts of
Belmont Park’ was published by The Pigeonhole in 2015.

Hud has been teaching creative writing since 2010. He taught the
highly successful ‘Writer’s Garret’ course at Lauderdale House from
2013-2015 and has run workshops and writing courses for groups and
advertising agencies.

Testimonials about the course at The Bookshop

“I found Hud’s course inspirational – to the point that a piece
written as an exercise during the course has become the basis of a
novel.  I am also giving up the day job and taking a Masters course in
writing. Doesn’t get better than that!” John Rodgers

“I highly recommend Hud’s creative writing course. If you’ve never
done any creative writing and are feeling a bit nervous about doing so
– take the plunge at The Bookshop!” Francesca Warner

“I also enjoyed the classes, finding them great fun as well as a
learning experience, and offering encouragement to all!” Judy

Testimonials from other venues

“I learned that starting to write isn’t as difficult if you let your
mind free and write whatever. If you start with setting yourself
limits and boundaries you won’t get anywhere.”- Peter Konick

“It was great to just let go and write for a change. Being a
copywriter I’m so used to having rules to stick to, or tone of voices,
but with this course I could kind of just write whatever came into my
head.  I thought Hud was great, really enthusiastic and could find
positive things in what everyone had written.”- Amy Westbrook,
Creative, YKCR/Y&R

“I was inspired to write more, Hud was very good and very encouraging.”- Anna-Marie Holub

Contact details:

The Bookshop (OffSide Books)

92 Willesden Lane, Kilburn, NW6 7TA, Kilburn


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Poetry of Many Worlds – Wed 6 September 7pm

Once again, on Wednesday 6th September at 7pm, we host the next evening of ‘Poetry of Many Worlds’ at Offside Books on Willesden Lane. As before we are extremely to Brian Lee for organising this event.

The theme for the first half of the evening will be Children: poetry for
children, poetry about children, nonsense poetry (Edward Lear, Lewis
Carroll, Spike Milligan etc), humour and general silliness accompanied by
tea and biscuits.

The second half of the evening will be up to you!

£3 entrance – includes free refreshment.

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Poetry of Many Worlds – Wed 2nd August 2017

Next Wednesday 2nd August is the next evening of ‘Poetry of Many Worlds’ at Offside Books on Willesden Lane

The theme for the first half of the evening will be:  Poems about or in response to events in the world.
For example, we have all been touched by the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, but maybe there are other more positive events that touch us.
These can be your own poems or poems by ‘established’ poets.

Then the floor will be open for whatever you want to share – your new
discoveries or latest pieces – or just come and listen.

Just to remind you, the evening starts at 7pm, next Wednesday 2nd August at  Offside Books, 92 Willesden Lane, NW6 7TA.

Best regards


Another great night of poetry was enjoyed by a full house – Here’s Brian’s take on it, and what’s coming next time:

Hi Folks,

Well, that was an amazing evening. Thank you to all who read and to those
who listened.

Here are some of the pieces that were read on the theme of personal
responses to world events.
Shelley: The Mask of Anarchy (on the Peterloo Massacre)
Yeats: Easter 1916 (about the Easter Uprising in Ireland)
Elsa Corbluth: Dirge for St Patrick's Night (about a fire in a hostel in
Salusbury Road)
Jennifer Johnson read her piece Disconnection Reconnection on her
experience of the 7/7 bombings in London
Irene Kyffin read her piece Survivors about the Holocaust
Primo Levi: Shema (about Auschwitz)
Ben Okri: Grenfell Tower

But despite the gravity of the subjects it was, for me at least, an
uplifting evening. An important part of the poet's job is to bear witness
to the emotional truth of events and that requires honesty and strength.

Thank you all again. And thanks as ever to Offside Books and to Fatma for
looking after us and making us feel so welcome.

Also to mention the crowdfunding campaign that Fahd and Ibrahim are running
to raise money for their project for young people in Morocco.
Details here:
Do check it out.

And a date for your diary:
The next Poetry of Many Worlds evening will be on
Wednesday 6th September and the theme will be
Poetry for children, about children, nonsense and humorous poetry and silly

Have a good month and see you in September

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Meet the author – Miranda Gold

A local writer with Karnac Publishing, Miranda Gold will be talking about her first novel Starlings, at OffSide Books, 18 July 2017, at 7pm. Miranda Gold is a novelist and playright. Her play, Lucky Deck, has been selected for development and and performance. Starlings has also now been adapted for the stage.

It is descibed as “An extraordinary first novel that captures a damaged family with delicate brushstrokes, by turns sad, hopeful, and deeply compelling.”

Come and hear readings from the book Starlings by Miranda Gold and get your signed copy. Wine and nibbles for our loyal customers.




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Event review – Chiaroscuro by chetana. July 2 2017

Chiaroscuro by chetana. Published by Critical Documents.
ISBN 978-0-9791412-3-2

For an author, publishing your first book is like having your first baby. You’ve made it, it’s of you in the most intimate way. It marks a step in your life, so when they ask you, “Are you published?” you can answer, “Yes, I am!”

Che describes the publication of her first book of poems “Chiaroscuro” as a coming-of-age ritual – a phrase that an anthropologist would use to describe how, in a tribe, a young person becomes an adult, able to participate fully in the affairs of the tribe. For an author, it is the same. With your first book, you become an author, an authority. You have entered the magic world of print, you are part of a community of authors across the centuries. And a copy of your book is deposited in the British Library Legal Deposit Office in Wetherby for posterity.

On Sunday 2nd July 2017 we celebrated the launch of che’s book at the Bookshop on Willesden Lane, where she has been a regular contributor to the monthly poetry group: “Poetry of Many Worlds”. Che spoke about her background and how it informs one of the principal themes of her work: the sense of exile. How poetry is part of the process of defining oneself in an alien and not always welcoming land. She references Ursula Le Guin’s novel, “The Dispossessed” as a major influence on her thinking. She read us poems from her collection including “Executive Order 9066” about persons of Japanese ancestry who were interned in the US during World War 2. She read us “Ghosts of Nauru” which gives voice to the refugees on an island waiting to enter the promised land of Australia. She read us other more personal pieces about identity, about home, about friendship, about love.

With this publication, che shows us that she has found her voice as a poet and she uses that to give voice to those who have none. We look forward to hearing and seeing how her writing develops in future projects, and to holding other books of hers in our hands. May her book reach those who have need of the truth of her words.

Brian Lee
July 2017

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