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Paris Lit Up Open Mic – World Book Night

Paris Lit Up Open Mic – World Book Night

Review by  Kate Noakes with photographs by Viola Manfra.

YES! This week we passed an historic milestone: a three-round evening of Open Mic. Perhaps it had something to do with the free books we were giving away to readers as part of (a belated) World Book Night, perhaps not, but there was something more in the spring air than the scent of May Day’s leftover lilies of the valley.

Freshly budded poets taking to the stage for the first time included Nina with her poem for Shakespeare and Company: ‘secret suitcase on the riverside’, Eleni and the spider in the basement, Tiana, who offered sage advice about remembering what we are doing, Thomas with tales of the sea and shore leave and Jim who reminded us of Corso: ‘Europe’s not half as enlightening as prison.’

Fully in leaf and thinking of love (it’s the season after all) were Tito, Kate, who was being honest with herself,  Jason reading Neruda like Neruda and Melissa reading Neruda’s Sonnet 17 without the spitting.

Mistaking the season for the death throws of winter: ‘the measureless black’, were Evan,  determined to kill off everything with ‘the blink of a yellow traffic light saying careful’, Remi: ‘the dark is a painter’, and Jason with his ‘two shots. drop in the desert.’ test drive. And composting nicely at the bottom of the garden was Emily’s underwear ‘one-size too small’.

Yann consumed a great number of opiates and developed new talents: ‘I speak rattlesnake’. Not needing support of any kind, Marie-Jeanne recited a version of Chaucer and Andreas, no trellis or pea-sticks required, gave a truly stunning performance of Dante.

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More next week with our special guest William Walrond Strangmeyer.

world-book-nightParis Lit Up is delighted to be officially participating in World Book Night 2013! This means that 20 lucky readers who participate at the event will receive a free copy of Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road.

We invite you celebrate World Book Night w1th us on Thursday, 2 May. Shakespeare and Cervantes won’t mind and, we hope, neither will you.

The first twenty people to read at Paris Lit Up Open Mic at Culture Rapide will receive a copy of the book and we will keep you entertained for the evening with a feast of poetry, prose, song, dance and whatever other random things might happen. Bring some Shakespeare or Cervantes to share if you like!

What is World Book Night?

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed World Book Night books in their communities to share their love of reading. Each year we recruit 20,000 volunteers to hand out 20 copies of their favourite book from our list to members of their community who don’t regularly read. By enlisting thousands of passionate book lovers around the country World Book Night reaches out to the millions of people in the UK who have yet to fall in love with reading in the hope that we can start them on their reading journey. In addition World Book Night distributes half a million books directly to the hardest to reach potential readers in prisons, care homes, hospitals, sheltered, supported and social housing, the homeless and through partner charities working throughout the UK. World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: it’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways, through the sharing of stories.

Why April 23rd?

April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is both the birth and death day of Shakespeare, as well as the death day of Cervantes, the great Spanish novelist. It is in their honour that UNESCO appointed it the international day of the book and that we choose it to celebrate World Book Night. April 23rd also marks the city of Barcelona’s celebration of St George’s Day. St George is the patron saint of Catalonia as well as England and traditionally, to celebrate this day, Spanish gentlemen gave their ladies roses and the ladies returned the favour with a book. Considering the rich literary history of this day, it seemed more than fitting that April 23rd should be chosen as the day of celebrating reading and the giving of books!

Red Dust Road

There is a moment when, as a little girl, Jackie Kay realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad. Later in life, and pregnant with her own son, she decides to trace her birth parents. On a journey full of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions she discovers that inheritance is about much more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells, and that what triumphs, ultimately, is love.
Continue reading here…

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