10SCANLU SCANLancaster scan.lancastersu.co.ukArts & CultureARTS & CULTURE EDITORS:Naomi Onakunle& Amy DixonLancaster MA Student Wins NorthernWriters Award for PoetryMaria HillARTS ASSOCIATE EDITORIn June 2023, LancasterUniversity’s MA graduate LiamBates was awarded the NorthernWriters Award in Poetry winninga cash prize of between £2000and £3000 pounds to finance hisworks-in-progress.The Northern Writers Award is a prizeorganized by New Writing North,an organization funded by the ArtsCouncil England since 1996. Its aimis to identify and support the work ofwriters from across society, and theprize is focused on supporting writersin the North of England.This year, Lancaster University’s MAgraduate Liam Bates was awardedthe Northern Writers Award forPoetry, winning a hefty cash prize andgaining recognition for his craft.Whereas enteringinto most prizesand competitionsin literature requireentry fees, theNorthern WritersAward providesfree entry, allowinga range of peoplefrom all financialbackgrounds toenter.Other awards included in theNorthern Writing Awards involveawards for children’s novels, fiction,memoir, short fiction, and more,which can all be found on NewWriting North’s website.The organization also offers otherprizes, such as The Golden Burn Prizefor daring novels, and The DavidCohen Prize for Literature, which isan award based on a writer’s wholecareer.In an exclusive interview, I askedhim what the process of applyingfor the award was like. “It waspretty painless, as these things go,”he said. “Free, importantly.”As for Liam Bates,he is an inspirationto young writersstudying atLancaster University.His work hasappeared in a rangeof magazines suchas Ambit, Abridged,and Bath Magg justto name a few.Alongside this long list ofpublications, previous to winning theNorthern Writers Award, he has beencommended or shortlisted for a rangeof other competitions such as Magma,Bridport Prize and Creative Future,and was even longlisted for the elusiveNational poetry Competition in 2022.Last year, hereleased his fulllengthdebut, HumanTownsperson, ofwhich I was luckyenough to attendthe release of duringa launch and openmic event at TheGregson Center lastyear.Hearing Liam read out the poemsfrom his debut was a wonderfulexperience. The collection is athoughtfully crafted series of poemswhich explores the links between reallife and video games, with life eventsreflecting quests, with vivid imageryand a touch of humor.Liam has alsohad two poetrypamphlets,Working Animalsand Monomaniac,published, and allthree collectionsare available withBroken Sleep Books.As a creative writing student myself, Ihad a range of questions to ask Liamabout his success within the world ofwriting competitions.In an earlier interview with him whichcan be found on SCAN’s website, hegave a range of insight into his writingpractice and advice for aspiring poets.During this second interview, Liamgives further comprehension intoapplying for competitions.For the Northern Writers Award,those entering were given a brief andwere asked for a number of poemsfrom a new project alongside “somecommentary on how that projectwould go/be supported.”“There wasn’t muchof a thought process,beyond sending thepoems that I had,”Liam continued.“Coming off theback of my debutcollection, I only hadso much new stuffthat was workingso I sent all of that.I wasn’t sure it wasentirely there, butthe deadline forcedmy hand”.As writers, it’s hard to tell if what you’reworking on is good or succeeding inwhat you’re aiming to do, but Liam’stale is a depiction that we should runwith our doubt and have faith in ourown abilities.Liam amplifies this message, statingthat “Poetry is really wonderful andannoying. You have to follow eachpoem down the tunnel of itself.”“Bordes has ashort story aboutan empire whosecartographybecomes so exactthat maps haveto be life-sized;the inspirationfor a poem issomething likethat. Fortunately,the more you do it,somehow the betteryou get at it.”There’s a reason why LancasterUniversity is joint 6th in The SundayTimes’ 2023 rankings for CreativeWriting, for when asking Liam Bateswhat at Lancaster University hadreally inspired him, he mentioned oneof the plethora of talented teachersin the English and Creative Writingdepartment.“I’d only done PaulFarley’s MA moduleby the time I entered[the Northern WritersAward],” he stated,“but he definitelyknows what he’stalking about”.Paul Farley is one of the many talentedteachers within the Creative Writingdepartment, whose first poetrycollection The Boy from the Chemistis Here to See You won a ForwardPoetry Prize and The Sunday TimesYoung Writer of the Year.Although cash prizesare helpful, and “Anot insignificantportion of the moneywill go to otherpeople’s books”says Liam of theNorthern WritersAward, he statesthat there are morebenefits to winningcompetitions andprizes than a crashprize.“New Writing North have supportpackages for all; their winners that arereally helpful for industry knowhowand just a confidence boost.”“Poetry is crumbs,realistically, in termsof both the moneyand readershipinvolved. Butanything that meansI can write somemore good poems,and a few peoplewill read them, I’mgrateful for.”I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:I can’t wait to see where Liam’s talentand dedication will take him in thefuture. He is an inspiration for all ofus Lancaster University students tokeep writing, keep finding inspiration,and to have faith in our writing even ifwe’re not quite sure it’s working.Photo: @liambatespoet onInstagramLancasterCouncilCancels£35kFireworkDisplayFinale onBonfireNightCaitlyn TaftEDITOR-IN-CHIEFAs part of the finale of the Light UpLancaster arts festival, LancasterCouncil have decided that thefirework display won’t go ahead for2023.Light up Lancaster has been goingon since 2012, with its purpose beingto create a multi-artform trail thenight before the fireworks finale. Thefestival’s finale was a firework displayshot and launched from LancasterCastle grounds.Thanks to funding from Arts CouncilEngland (ACE), Lancaster CityCouncil, Lancaster BID, and others,Lancaster Council have confirmedthat the festival will be extendedfrom two days to three instead of thefirework display.The reasoning for the axing of thefirework displays is due to the costbeing “difficult to justify”. CouncillorCatherine Potter, cabinet memberwith responsibility for tourism,explained:“At £35,000 for a 17-minute displaythe cost is difficult to justify andwe also know that people areincreasingly questioning theenvironmental impact of fireworksand the effect they have on domesticpets and wildlife.”However, she is confident that theextra evening will make up for theloss of the firework display. The extraevening grants the festival anotheropportunity to showcase local artand Lancaster’s history and culture.The festival will be held November2nd-4th, from 5pm to 9pm, doublethe hours of the previous year. Theevents will be all over the city centre,like the Market Square and DaltonSquare.
scan.lancastersu.co.uk SCANLU SCANLancasterA R T S & C U L T U R E 11Giacomo Leopardi: a Poetry Godtranslation by lyricstranslate.com, 2015)Valentina CaneschiMUSIC EDITORFor centuries and centuries, poetry hassaved lives. Poetry is the way many artistsget to express themselves. As a poet,I have the duty to speak out about themarvels of poetry, how it can change you,how it can turn your life upside down. Andwhat better way to do so if not by tellingyou of one of the most important poets ofall times?Giacomo Leopardi was an Italian poet andauthor who lived in the first half of thenineteenth century. While his life was very short(he died at 38), he certainly had an enormousimpact on poetry as well as on many people —he still does to this day.His works are studied in schools in Italy,mandatory as they shaped the way poetry wasgoing to be written in both the near and farfuture.His poems and otherworks have been viewedby many critics asrevolutionary, impactful,beautiful, and so muchmore.For his entire life, Giacomo Leopardi sufferedphysical and psychological pain, having to livewith physical impairments and depression.All that while also being raised in a horriblehousehold, in which he was never supported.However, the writermanaged to find a way toexpress himself and hispain, which was throughhis wonderful poetry andmore rare prose.While poets are known for usually not being verycheerful artists, Leopardi is on a whole differentlevel. As a matter of fact, the author and hispoems are famous for their deep and constantpessimism. For instance, part of a stanza in mypersonal favourite poem says:‘Man is given birth withlabour,/ and the samebirth is risk of death./ Hisfirst feelings are sadnessand suffering;/ in the veryfirst moment, mother andfather/ begin to soothe himfor being born/[…]/ But whyto give birth,/ why to keepalive,/ the one who needssoothing for life itself?’(‘Night Song of a Wandering Shepherd in Asia’,While translations never give poetry justice, byreading his thoughts and direct way to write, it’sno wonder why he is so famous in Italy as well asthe global poetry community.Leopardi shared with his readers a relatableexistential pain in such marvellous way thatmost people who have a tiny bit of love forpoetry will keep reading his works, over andover again.Despite his short life, this amazing humanmanaged to leave us a fairly big portfolio.He didn’t only write poetry: instead, he alsoexplored philosophy as he was writing hishybrid work Zibaldone (1898, published afterhis death).Here, for instance, heformulates the idea thatman is destined to beunhappy because it hasreason, a concept thenmore thoroughly delvedinto by other philosophersin the near future.Isolated and in pain, Leopardi was still able tochange people’s lives and culture with his works.His impact certainly isn’t limited to one country,but branches out to many others.Tips and Tricks From a BehindThe Scenes Film PhotographerMaria HillARTS ASSOCIATE EDITORPhotography had always beena hobby of mine, but it wasn’tuntil the last academic yearthat I first tried my hand withbehind-the-scenes photos withIt’s Just A Parcel (Turnbull,2022).Now, I’m working on my seventh set as abehind-the-scenes photographer and I amsoon to work on my eighth.It’s gotten to the point where the studentfilmmakers I know approach me ratherthan the other way round. This leads meto the most important tip for aspiring btsphotographers:You may haveall the bestequipment in theworld and takethe most beautifulpictures, but if youdon’t network, andhence build yourportfolio, it will bedifficult to landwork.One way to network is by talking to everyoneon set (you never know who will be the nextdirector or producer to hire you), to joinsocieties, and message filmmakers you know.Now, onto the funpart: the photos.The most important thing to rememberwhilst taking photos of a film crew is thatyou are there to show off their hard work anddedication to the project they are working on.Hence, look formoments wherethose around youare in control andconcentrated ontheir tasks. Theymay be gatheredaround a camera,or setting upequipment,but the mostessentialelement to thesephotos is theymust capture thecrew’s action.Just make sure to delete any unflatteringshots before sending them off. Peoplewant to see their best selves and, if youcan capture their best selves, they willvalue your work more highly and wantto work with you again.That being said, as I work on indie,usually student-run sets, I don’t just confinedmyself to bts photography. Go the extra mile.Recently, forCocoon (Harte,2023), I broughtalong a handheldcamcorderand conductedinterviews with thecrew in downtime,gathering btsfootage alongsidephotos, and editedthem together tocreate a video fortheir social media.Alongside this, I often keep an eye out forposter photos as, quite often, this is not highon the pre-production list so high-qualityphotos for marketing are often appreciated.Lastly, don’t beafraid to let yourcreativity shinethrough.The more memorable the photos, the morememorable you and your skills are, the morelikely you are to be approached. When filmingGaslighter, (Caneschi, 2023), I climbed on awall to get a high-angle photo of the actress,which turned out to be one of the director’sfavourite shots.So, look for interesting angles and framing,and don’t be afraid to take risks. Trust in yourphotography skills, let yourself be creative,and take some beautiful bts photos.Photo Credits: Maria HillTo conclude, I will leave you with a thoughtprovokingquote taken form Zibaldone:‘Children find everything innothing, men find nothingin everything’.(quoted in quotepark.com, translation by KathleenBaldwin et al. in the 2013 edition of Zibaldone.)SomeQueerAuthorsFor YouValentina CaneschiMUSIC EDITORSince every month is Pride Monthhere at Lancaster, it’s time for meto recommend some queer authors!Whilst you may be expecting theobvious, such as the eccentric OscarWilde or the ancient Greek poetessSappho, I have decided to focus onauthors who are not in the limelight asmuch as these two.The four authors I will show you are justa few of the incredibly talented membersof the literary queer community.James BaldwinThis late writer used his voice tospeak out about queer identities. Forinstance, in his novel Giovanni’s Room(1956), his representation of queernessis not superficial nor stereotypical, butwell-developed and complex.Jason PurcellThis Canadian author uses his poetrycollection Swollening (2022) to exploreboth internalised and externalisedhomophobia. His poems provide manyqueer readers with relatable reflectionsand emotions.June JordanThis American poet juggled issues ofrace and queerness in her poems toconnect with as wide an audience aspossible. She was also a keen social andpolitical activist involved in feminist,civil rights and gay and lesbianmovements.Meredith TalusanThis author uses her memoir Fairest(2020) to describe her queer journeyby offering her readers candid insightsinto difficulties surrounding topicssuch as disability, gender and race.As this selection of authors hasshown, we as human beings have theresponsibility to give one anotherthe opportunity to speak out aboutimportant topics in our society, one ofwhich is queerness. Queer authors havebeen around us since the dawn of time,and they serve as proof that us queersare not alone.