64 Million Artists and you. The arts are alive!

There is no lockdown in the imagination. We dream in quarantine with no limitations.

News Just in

Here’s a run down of some of the stuff I have been up to.  It’s the  launch of 64 Million Artists  for The January Challenge 2021!  The January Challenge is 31 days of creative challenges designed to start your year, and this year you can choose your own adventure.  I’ll be selecting 31 of YOUR creative ideas for each day of the month (and giving away a prize to one of you…), and you can follow along with me. Send me your creative ideas and sign up at 64millionartists.com.    @64millionartists –

Also launched this week  is  We Come From The Sun  which  features myself and 10 UK poets: MA.MOYO, Raymond Antrobus,Kayo Chingonyi, Liz Berry, Anthony Anaxagorou, Adam Horovitz, Cia Mangat, Imtiaz Dharker, Kim Moore and me. We Come From The Sun is   conceived and composed by the brilliant creative force that is  Cerys Matthews.

We are living in extraordinary times, I wanted to respond but had the urge to offer more than one voice, more than one perspective. Not an echo chamber” – Cerys Matthews.

Cerys Mathews releases an album of poetry & music including my poem.

From recordings to books .   I take great pride (as one of five judges of The Booker Prize)  in walking past bookshops to see our choices in he window displays.  I shot the photo below  at  Blackwells in Chancery Lane.   They are displaying the shortlist AND  longlist.

The Booker Shortlist AND longlist displayed in Blackwells of Chancery Lane today.

My Name Is Why is in the windows  of Foyles, Waterstones & Blackwells which is good.

I passed the bookshop after filming in Soho on Monday. Other interviewees Stephen Fry, Benjamin Zephaniah…  yes us oldies…   

News just in I will be appearing on Celebrity Mastermind this winter so I am researching and studying  my chosen subject  every day.

Christmas Dinner Teams are meeting to help provide for care leavers on Christmas Day.  I am founder of The Gold From The Stone Foundation which is a charity to support and encourage  Christmas Dinners for care leavers across the country.  If you want to do something wonderful through these increasingly dark winter nights  join a christmas dinner team. It lifts the spirits and warms the soul. Here’s the Manchester and Richmond TeamThey started meeting in September.

The Big Issue North gave me their cover this week…. which is nice and blackalicious.
And at the opposite end of the  spectrum there’s Country Living this month.  


Working on a Children’s Book with Greg Stobbs and Canongate Books. Sealed that deal earlier this week. Here is an early glimpse  of our central character.

It’s competition time.I am long in the tooth enough to know t is good enough to be on the Shortlist of The Gordon Burns Prize. The winner is announced on 15th October. My money is on Deborah Orr.

With the shoe on the other foot I notice The Cornish and Devon post broke the news (sic) that I am judge of The Charles Causley International  Poetry Competition 2020.  The deadline is November 30th.  And as  chair of judges for The Booker Prize  Margaret Busby  will announce the winner  in  November.

As one of the  judges of  Hold Still we chose one hundred portrait photographs from over thirty one thousand entries. Head of Judges was he Duchess of Cambridge and The National Portrait Gallery is running the exhibition now. Click here.

And talking of intimate and moving portraits  the film I  highly recommend is Rocks.

And the  best podcast I have heard in forever is the Laurene Laverne interview with  Samantha Morton on  Desert Island Discs this week

Late news. Whisper it… I will soon be recording in the studio with Leftfield.  Not even sure I should be telling you that?

Why do I blog.  I blog for the same reasons now as  I did when I started. I blog as a point of record with no agenda.  Not everything goes in here.  Filming for The Scottish Book Club was a blast in Glasgow with Janey Godley and Damian Barr.  Neil Gaiman too.  It was so good to travel on a train through the country. This is a photograph of The Lake District which I took through the train window. I was drunk on the view. .

This photograph was taken by Janey Godley backstage. The Big Scottish Bookclub goes out on 25th October.  .

There’s a blog for Black History Month to come. I will do that next. For now all is well. Lots of readings and a furious amount of writing commitments for Water Aid winter campaign and Amazon. Lots of live events too. The only way to know about the live events is via my facebook and twitter accounts.  It’s all about Zoom although there have been a few live appearances too. I hope you are well. And looking after yourself and your loved ones.   64 million artists believes  that everyone is creative.  They are right. That’s you. Take up the challenge and let’s make January 2021 a time to look forward to.  Finally good luck to photographer Finn Richards whose portrait of yours truly taken at The Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas. is in the Association of Photographers final for 2020.





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