As the end of 2022 draws near, our team are reflecting on the work we have undertaken this past year. Though the last twelve months have flown by for us at The Charles Causley Trust, they have been full of activity. This year, we’ve hosted a range of events and workshops, held two competitions, our 2022 Festival of Arts and Literature, we developed a new creative programme – the Summer of Literature (SOL) – hosted several Author Tours in partnership with the North Cornwall Book Festival and have completed multiple funding bids. The work we do could not be possible without the support of our funders, members, volunteers and all of those who donate to us at our events. As we look to 2023, we hope to continue to support artists, writers and creatives in Launceston and more broadly, while also developing opportunities for young people to get involved with arts, culture, heritage and literature – including (but not exclusive to) the fantastic works of Charles Causley!
January and February:
We kickstarted 2022 with the deadline for our 2021 International Poetry Competition and the launch of our ‘Apocalypse Lit’ series via our online literary blog, The Maker. The series asked writers and authors which books one should read at key milestones throughout their lives. You can check out all of our interviews via our blog. Following this, Vahni Anthony Capildeo begun their artist residency at Cyprus Well, Charles Causley’s final home, and led a series of zoom workshops with local schools in Launceston. These were centred on the theme of home, which was later revealed to be the theme of our Young People’s Poetry competition.
At the start of March, we hosted our 3-day Mother’s Boy launch weekend in Launceston. Amongst the events were an interview with Patrick Gale and BBC’S Petroc Trelawny, a book signing at Launceston town hall, a coffee and cake morning at Cyprus Well, a student workshop and a performance from folksinger Jim Causley. Following this, Patrick Gale launched the 2022 Young People’s Poetry Competition.
In May we launched our Summer of Literature (SOL) programme, a 3-month celebration of literature. We began in June with Flash Fiction, then progressed to Poetry in July, and then finished with Film and the Arts in August. You can read all entries via our blog.
Then later on in the month, author Rachel Joyce visited Launceston as part of the North Cornwall Book Festival Author Tours. Interviewed by novelist and memoirist Cathy Rentzenbrink at the Eagle House Hotel, Rachel told us about Miss Benson’s Beetle, which was originally published in 2020. A book that transported people during the early months of the Covid-19 lockdown, the story explores a tropical voyage of an unlikely heroine, an unregarded schoolmistress, as she reconnects with her childhood passion for entomology.
In June we announced the winners of our 2021 International Poetry competition: Matthew Canavan, Molly Twomey, Emily Harrison and Juno Dunn.
July was a fabulous month for us here at the Trust, beginning with the royal visit of HRH King Charles III and HRH Queen Consort Camilla Parker-Bowles to Launceston. It was fantastic to tell the Queen consort about our Festival which – at the point – was just ten days away!
Our 2022 Festival of Arts and Literature – we were so lucky to engage such a fantastic group of writers, artists, performers and creatives as part of our 3-day programme. You can read a full write-up of our festival here.
In August, award-winning writer Seán Hewitt joined us in Launceston to tell us all about his latest prose memoir All Down Darkness Wide. An incredibly personal text for Seán, the book delves deep into his own history, enlisting the ghosts of queer figures and poets before him.
Image (right): Stuart Simpson
We kicked off the start of Autumn with author Clare Chambers’ (below) visit to Launceston as part of our third and final North Cornwall Book Festival author tour. Her latest novel Small Pleasures is loosely based on an article from The Sunday Times in 1955 about finding a virgin mother. At the time, several women came forward and were ruled out but one German woman, Emmimarie Jones and her daughter, were subjected to many tests and even the scientists involved could not entirely agree whether her case had been proved. Upon discovering the case, Clare thought it would make an interesting novel.
Later on in September we held our workshop weekend with memoir writers Sophie Pierce and Tanya Shadrick at the beautiful Trevadlock Manor near Launceston. The weekend focused on exploring surprising and powerful ways to bring places and people onto the page, tips for crafting a memoir for publication, and bringing memories into shape.
Then on the 28th of October we held our Causley Halloween event at Launceston Town Hall. We were joined by folksinger Jim Causley, Paranormal investigators Karin Beasant and Craig Williams, the Folklore Society’s Mark Norman and Simon Costin from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle and owner of Dockacre House. The evening explored the mythic roots in some of Causley’s poems and the history of Launceston and Halloween.
In November, creatives Jordan Scrase, Ryan Full and Daniel Holley began their residency at Cyprus Well, Charles Causley’s final home. Ahead of our Causley Christmas event, they travelled to Launceston’s local schools to prepare performances for our festive evening at St Thomas’s Church. They also visited and performed at the warm banks in the Orchard Centre.
We rounded off the year with our Causley Christmas event at St Thomas’ Church, where Charles Causley is laid to rest. Joined by fabulous perfomers from Coads Green School, St Joseph’s School, Warbstow Academy and North Petherwin School (in a virtual capacity) we heard a variety of renditions of Causley’s poems, underpinning his continued ability to inspire creativity today. The first section of the event was a culmination of workshops undertaken by Jordan Scrase, on behalf of the Causley Trust, with local schools. Having worked with Coads Green School, St Joseph’s School, Warbstow Academy and North Petherwin School as part of his creative residency in Launceston, the evening’s performances were choreographed predominantly by the children involved, as they explored ways to engage with and bring to life Causley’s children’s poems. Throughout the evening, Jim Causley performed a selection of Charles Causley’s poems put to music, as well as some traditional Christmas tunes. Then, after the interval, we returned to our seats to hear memories of Charles from Trustees, former pupils and friends.
The deadline for our International Poetry competition (1st January) will kickstart the new year. For more information about our rules of entry and how to submit, see our competition page.
Then in February we will host our Winter Warmer Poetry Retreat at Trevadlock Manor with poets Katrina Naomi and Fiona Benson. To join us, get in touch via email at email@example.com to check out our available packages.
Stay tuned for what else is to come in 2023! From all of us at the Causley Trust, we wish you a happy and healthy new year!