Fletchski has a new site!

Greetings all you wonderful Lobsterites.

I’ve a lovely new blog over at http://fletchski.wordpress.com Why don’t you pop over and have a look at all the stuff I’ve been up to lately?


Midsummer Poetry Picnic.


Blimey, I’ve been invited to read again this summer!

This time it will be at the gorgeous Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston, Birmingham, for the launch of a Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen collaboration entitled,’Sea of Brightness,’ published by Cinnamon Press.

An oasis in the city.

An oasis in the city.

The Martineau Gardens really are wonderful, an oasis in the middle of the city and a fine venue to hear some great poetry.

There are some excellent poets on the bill,including the mighty fine Charles Wilkinson. I’m in the same writers group as Charlie and he’s an excellent orator as is Jacqui Rowe and Meredith Andrea. I don’t know Joan Poulson but I’m sure she must be good.

Below is the invitation.




‘Screen of Brightness’ is a poetic collaboration by Meredith Andrea & Fiona Owen, published by Cinnamon Press. It will be launched on Sunday 16th June at

A Midsummer Poetry Picnic

in the beautiful Martineau Gardens
27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 7UG

2 – 6pm, with poetry readings from 3pm. Cakes & drinks provided – bring a picnic and listen to Fiona & Meredith
supported by guest readings from
Garrie Fletcher
Joan Poulson
Jacqui Rowe
Charles Wilkinson

All welcome – RSVP jan@cinnamonpress.com

To find out about Martineau Gardens and how to find them click here.

To read about ‘Screen of Brightness’ click here.

My take on the Martineau Gardens can be found here.


Naked Lungs

I was asked to read at the launch night of Naked Lungs a Birmingham based spoken word night in the heart of the city. This happened nearly two weeks ago and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect; spoken word nights can be a bit hit and miss and this was the first one. I’d met Chris Baker two weeks before and we’d chatted about what he was after, I was impressed with his enthusiasm and laid back approach to getting a project like this off the ground and promised him some stuff for the launch magazine. The magazine was the clincher really, not only would Naked Lungs be a spoken word night but it would also comprise a magazine that would feature work from all the writers on that night’s bill.

The Greenhouse Cafe is the venue for Naked Lungs and a mighty fine venue it is at that. Situated in the Custard Factory, the beating heart of Birmingham’s creativity, it is cool without having to try too hard, they do good green tea which was enough for me to give it a ringing endorsement.

The bill for that night was Seasick Fist, Annie-J, Garrie Fletcher (me,) Ben Jones and Keiran Goddard. I didn’t know any of them and I was that busy leading up to it that I didn’t even Google them, if I had of done I might have had an inkling of what a treat I was in store for.

Seasick Fist is young, vibrant and almost electric with words. He attacks the mic at such a rate that you’d be forgiven for thinking that someone had gone crazy with a diction machine gun, cutting down the rows of onlookers with nothing more than well aimed words. Annie-J is a wonderful poet that reflects upon her grandmothers courting rituals whilst extolling the virtues of playing Tomb Raider, both of these proved to be insightful and very funny. Both these performers had recounted their thoughts almost entirely from memory so I let the side down by having to read direct from my story, well, it is nearly 3000 words. I went down well and was really pleased with the crowd’s reaction to my story ‘Kowalski’ which is a tale of an elderly Polish man befriending a young Pakistani boy. Keiran Goddard was the last on and treated us to a fine selection of poems from his next collection, tales of rag-and-bone men, lost loves and city streets, which I shall definitely be checking out. However, for me, the evening was stolen by the marvellous Ben Jones and he wasn’t even in the room! Ben found himself double booked and unable to attend so he sent along a Powerpoint and audio track to stand in for him. Ben is a philosophy lecturer at Halesowen College and the flyer had promised ‘Free form philosophy, live on stage.’ Ben’s presentation, even though it wasn’t live, was enthralling to say the least. For twenty odd minutes he kept us all hooked upon his every word as he ruminated upon the philosophy of masturbation, yes, wanking. A few people I’ve mentioned this to have looked at me aghast to say the least but it wasn’t sordid or cheap; it was well constructed, painfully funny and penetrating (no pun intended.) Yes, it really made you think about wanking.

Anyway, those wonderful guys at Naked Lungs have posted a video of snippets from the first evening with a gorgeous soundtrack. Check it out, see what you missed and make sure you’re at the next one.

Naked Lungs

This Thursday at 7pm, in The Greenhouse Cafe, Custard Factory, Birmingham I shall be reading as part of Naked Lungs. Naked Lungs is described as a: ‘Birmingham based poetry collective looking to foster a community of like minded individuals for creative collaboration.’ Which sounds marvellous, only I’ll be reading a short story. However, I do have some poems in the magazine that compliments the evening so if you turn up you’ll be getting the best of both worlds.

Look out for this flyer around town!

Look out for this flyer around town!










The evening kicks off at 7pm but I’ll, hopefully, be there a little bit earlier so come and say high, hey, I’ll even let you buy me a beer.



I’ve only just stumbled across this. Cuckoo has been going for just over a year and is a literary magazine aimed at young writers, writers under 19. The magazine is looking for submissions in short fiction, poetry, screenplays, reviews, rants and they say if what you write isn’t listed send it along anyway as they may be interested in it.

I wish there’d been something around like this when I was under 19 (many centuries ago,) so if you are, or know a young writer send them this way and get them to share their work with the world.

To visit the Cuckoo website just click

Made Up Words

Cool Competition

Grabbed from their website…

English PEN and Arvon join together to give you a chance to win a place on an Arvon creative writing week!

For this year’s Arvon brochure competition, English PEN has teamed up with the UK’s leading creative writing charity to run a competition called Made-Up Words.

We’re giving you the chance to win a full place on an Arvon course at one of the three English Arvon centres, plus travel to the Arvon house (the equivalent of a second class train ticket within the UK). Arvon run an exciting and broad range of courses for writers at all stages.

How To Enter

All you need to do is write a poem (maximum 14 lines) or a piece of flash fiction (maximum 100 words) with a title that is a made-up word.

Submit your entry in the body of an email to competition@englishpen.org by 29th March 2013.

Good luck with your entry! You may only submit one entry and you may not alter or amend the entry once it’s been sent. See below for further terms and conditions.

What’s a Made-Up Word?

All words, in a way, are made up, and we want you to feel as free as possible, but you might also be interested in exploring words that people make up and use in their families and friendships (think of Paul Muldoon’s poem Quoof, his family’s strange word for a hot water bottle) or nonsense words (think of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky) or perhaps combinations from words of other languages, or onomatopoeic words, or words that are somewhere between sound and sense, or… Good luck exploring your own Made-Up Words!


Writer Femi Martin is the judge of the competition. Femi is a writer and performer who is best known for her flash fiction. She was appointed the Dickens 2012 Young Writer in Residence.

Be Inspired!

Femi Martin – the judge – has written some inspiring words for you to help you come up with your entry! Have a read and get writing!

Competition Partner

Made-Up Words is part of europolyglot, an English PEN festival of events, workshops, night classes and roundtables that celebrates multilingualism and active ageing in the UK, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom.

Terms and Conditions

1. To be eligible, entries must be received on or before the competition closing date, as stated above.

2. You may only submit one entry (either a poem or a piece of flash fiction) and you may not alter or amend your entry once it’s been submitted.

3. The competition is open to all aged 16 or over. Winners aged 16 and 17 must be able to provide a consent form from a parent/guardian.

4. The prizewinners will be decided by the judge and the judge’s decision is final.

5. The competition ends as specified on the competition page; no entry received after that time will be considered. The winner will be announced on this web page. There is one prize of a full place on an Arvon course at one of the three English centres, plus travel to the Arvon house (the equivalent of a second class train ticket within the UK). A selection of the best entries may be published on the English PEN and Arvon websites.

6. The promoter reserves the right to amend the specification of the prizes or offer alternative prizes of equal or greater value.

7. The prizewinners will be notified by email. If any of the selected entrants do not meet all of the contract conditions, other entrants will be selected from the remaining eligible entries.

8. The competition is not open to employees of English PEN or Arvon and their sponsors or their immediate families.

9. The right is reserved to terminate or withdraw this contest at any time.

10. Entries must be submitted by the named entrant and will be invalid if found to come from a third party. Multiple entries from a single source (e.g ‘competition entry’ website/company) will be disqualified. Entrants may only submit one entry.

11. Entry to the competition is conditional on acceptance of these terms and conditions.

12. The email address you provide to enter the competition will be used by us to contact you if necessary, and will not be shared with other companies. English PEN and Arvon will only use your email address in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with our privacy policy.

via .

Original post can be found here.

The Next Big Thing

Next Big Thing

The following ten questions (and my stab at answering them) form part of The Next Big Thing. If you don’t know what this is, it’s simply an opportunity to tell the world about your current writing project. And when you’ve finished answering the ten questions below you get to tag other people, who do the same.

Its my turn to answer and then tag three other writing friends – so advance apologies to Ryan Davis, Andy Winter and Yasmin Ali.

I was tagged by Richard Lakin. Richard is a tremendous writer with a love of pugilism and rail travel. You can check out Richard’s knock out work Richard Lakin

So, Garrie, what’s your next big thing?

I’m just putting the finishing touches to a short story I’m sending to the BBC’s Writers Room as part of their Opening Lines competition, it has to be in by Friday so I really shouldn’t be doing this now. Prior to that I sent a short story off to Cinnamon Press and another to the Stroke Association for their celebratory publication around the theme of 20 as they’ve been around for, yes, you guessed it, twenty years. I just had two poems published in the Offa’s Press anthology, ‘We’re All In This Together’ and I’ve another in the Earth Love anthology this Spring. Twisted between all this are bursts of keyboard activity as I try to finish my novel.


1) What is the working title of your book?

The book has had a number of titles since I started it including, Here Come the Lobsters, (the very title of this blog) Spoon Squad and currently Going Underground. Going Underground was a reference to the classic Jam song but also a reference to a series of tunnels that had a prime position in the narrative. I’ve since filled in the tunnels so the title could change again.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came from me head! Like, straight out from between me ears and onto the page. Ugh, that sounds messy which is apt as it came from what can be a messy profession. In the early 90’s I was working in a care home in Northampton, my home town. It was a real eye opener. Not just because of the people that lived there, who were challenging, frightening and wonderful but also because of the people who worked with them. I worked in a number of places during the 90’s in Northampton and Birmingham but it was the thought of setting something in my home town that dealt with these people that live on the edges of society that really excited me.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

I’m not sure. Its dark with light touches of humour and very urban. Literary fiction sounds a bit pompous to me. It’s just a cracking tale of unrequited love, with psychotic Polish gangsters and large doses of piss stained laundry thrown in for good measure. I find genres quite hard to pin down sometimes and not altogether useful. I’ve just finished Kevin Barry’s City of Bohane, which is set in the near future in a fictional west coast Irish city. Now you might class it as science fiction but your average sci-fi enthusiast wouldn’t be best pleased if they took it home (no spaceships or gadgetry,) or you could call it speculative fiction, but it could just as easily be called historical fiction (this makes sense if you’ve read it.) I think I’d best get it finished first before I start worrying about genres.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

There are three main characters: Miles who’s in his early twenties and struggling with being unemployable as a photographer despite four years of studying; Sophia, a gorgeous Polish volunteer trying to lay her grandfather’s ghost to rest and Vince a twisted mass of muscle and hatred trying to kill his past. Miles would be played by Robert Sheehan of Misfits and Red Riding fame as he has emotional depth, gobbyness and isn’t too pretty. I’d have Jelka van Houten play Sophia, she’s possibly not young enough but I thought she was marvellous in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat. You’d need a very physical actor to play Vince, someone with a brutal physique ( or the ability to bulk up ) and commanding voice, with that in mind I’d go for Tom Hardy from this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, you’d never think he was the same guy who started out in Band of Brothers.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

High Fidelity meets Shallow Grave. No, that’s the elevator pitch. Let’s see. Spencer House is home to the broken souls that slip through the cracks; the troubled, the violent, but they shouldn’t worry you; the people who work there should.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I want to go down the traditional route with this. I want it to be good enough for someone to put their own backing behind it. That said I’ve seen some really good self published books out there so I wouldn’t discount it out of hand.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Too long.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Tough question. When I started writing it I was heavily influenced by David Peace’s Red Riding books but I’ve moved away from that and found a voice of my own. I’d like it to be comparable with a good Kevin Barry short story, but obviously longer, or Irvine Welsh with less drugs and Scottish accents.

9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?

When I worked in care I found that despite the residents, or service users as we now call them, unique range of disabilities, syndromes and behaviours that the people who worked with them were often more interesting and harder to understand. One person in particular stayed with me years after I’d left and I wondered what it was that lead him to work with such vulnerable people. So I took him as a starting point and then mutated it into a twisted story of unrequited love and Polish gangsters.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Ah but surely the promise of urine drenched bed sheets is enough? My book will offer an insight into the world of private care. The less than honourable dealings of some of the people that run these homes and the transient characters that work there. Its filled with romance, angst, brutal violence, a quest for the truth and a butt clenching climax. Nuff said.

It’s tag time:

I’m tagging three fellow writers: Ryan Davis, Andy Winter and Yasmin Ali. Three very different writers and very busy people, so I hope they don’t mind. Cheers in advance guys.