Gemma June Howell: The Crazy Truth Book Launch w/ poetry, readings, discussion, live music & DJ

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Join us as we celebrate the release of The Crazy Truth, a novel by poet, activist and author Gemma June Howell.

Dr Gemma June Howell is a multi-talented writer, poet, activist, academic and editor. She is Desk Editor at Honno, Welsh Women’s Press, Director of Women Publishing Wales – Menywod Cyhoeddi Cymru, and Associate Editor at Culture Matters. Her work has mainly appeared in the Red Poets, with her dialect poetry featuring in ‘Yer Ower Voices’ (2023). She has also been published by Bloodaxe Books (2015), The London Magazine (2020) and has featured on Tongue & Talk for BBC R4 (2021).

In 2010 Gemma was a finalist for The John Tripp Award for Spoken Word. She published a volume of poetry, Rock Life (2014) and a collection of short stories Inside the Treacle Well with Hafan Books (2009). She has a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing from Swansea University. Her research focused on the disparities between social ontology and historical realism from a proletarian, feminist standpoint and led to The Crazy Truth (Seren, 2024).

Her work could be described as transgressional fiction which delves into the complexities of working-class identity in post-industrial Britain. She is an advocate for equality, representation and social equality in politics, publishing and the arts.

There will also be performances from:

Chinyere Chukwudi-Okeh

Chinyere Chukwudi-Okeh is a Nigerian published author of From the Crevices of Corps Hearts (Paressia Publishers) and other anthological writings in short story collection titled International Sisi Eko and Poetry Collection titled Soro Soke.

She is currently one of two women working with Honno Publishers to assemble memoirs from women of Asian and African descent. Her short story, To Buy An Expensive Dream has been accepted into Honno’s Anthology of Short Stories project. And her creative nonfiction memoir, When Ancestors Cross Borders, is part of the submissions for Honno’s forthcoming anthology, Integrating: Women’s personal stories of courage and displacement in Wales.

Chinyere graduated with distinction from the Creative Writing Course of Swansea University, in 2022. She also works with the African Community Centre as the Project Manager for HarMINDise Project. Her reviews and writings are published in Nation.Cymru; The Magazine of People of Wales. She has also executed a creative project titled Diverse Voices, for Race Council Cymru. She is a storyteller who also delivers creative ballads in spoken word.

Rufus Mufasa

Literary activist Rufus Mufasa is a pioneering participatory artist who advocates hip hop education and poetry development accessible to all. Lyricist, rapper and performance art poet, with an MA in scriptwriting. Co-founder of Swynraig, a group of women who explore culture, the arts and language.

Rufus is a Hay Writer at Work, supports several intergenerational projects, mentors men at Parc Prison and she recently headlined the Helsinki Literature Festival. As well as being the first Welsh artist to perform at Ruisrock festival, she mentors Finnish beat poets, and now writes trilingually as a result. Rufus has recently released her new album, Trigger Warnings.

Zoe Murphy

Zoe Murphy is a performance poet, educator, podcaster, dance teacher and choreographer with over two decades of experience in arts education and community development. Her commitment to poetry and performance is evident from her four-year tenure with Poets on the Hill, where she contributed to two anthologies and she was recently selected for inclusion in the the Train of Thought anthology, a poetry project funded by Transport for Wales.

Her day-to-day work is as an engagement tutor for vulnerable young people facing significant life challenges and she has a deep commitment to social impact and empowerment through the arts. This led her to teach poetry in HMP Swansea and to collaborate with the Taliesin Arts Centre on a film project in partnership with the Swansea City of Sanctuary.

Zoe has authored three books—a novel, a poetry collection, and also hosts the podcast “Out Loud,” which features conversations with individuals changing the world in their unique ways, from social advocates to artists and activists, embodying the spirit of living loudly and authentically.

Now a member of the Drunk Poets SociCety, Zoe continues to push boundaries and inspire change through creativity.

Lizzy Cullen

Lizzy started writing poetry from a young age. It started as a way of putting the world to rights and in many ways that hasn’t changed one bit. The difference now she speaks from a position of a woman; a working-class mum from Townhill to be exact. Her poetry speaks to stereotypes that are completely true but are also approached with humour, honesty and cynicism.

She hopes her poetry makes you feel comfortable, brings you home and completely shocks you. Her inspirations include drug addicts, single mothers and John Cooper Clarke. Lizzy is currently studying an MA in English Literature at Swansea University. We know that doesn’t make her sound very working class but Lizzy promises that she’s skint…

Paul James

Paul James is a retired teacher from Machen in South-East Wales. His background in music stretches back a long way to outfits such as Gumbo Ya Ya and The Jabs. In more recent times he has released three solo albums of original songs which are available online and on CD: ‘Remember Your Name,’ ‘The Golden Fly’ and ‘Time is Mine’, all of which have received glowing reviews. His live performances have been limited in recent times but you can catch him this summer at The Elysium Gallery in Swansea and at The Talgarth Festival.