Saturday 19 December 2015

The Creative Café Space

At the moment we seem to lack cafés, so any help in finding more will be greatly appreciated. I’ve also been a rather a little too busy recently to visit cafés. So maybe this gives me a little time to reflect on why these spaces are important to creative practitioners. Interestingly, I’m currently sitting in the Escape lounge at Manchester airport waiting for a flight to Malaga. I’m writing, so it becomes a Creative Café.  There are free newspapers. A bonus.

Interestingly, at home and in my study at the university I write facing a blank wall and any noise, even the birds twittering, can put me off. Yet I write happily here, on a Virgin Train to London from Manchester and in any sort of café. I still haven’t worked out quite why that is.
There’s piped music here and because of the time of year a lot of it is jolly and Christmassy. It’s not disturbing me. It would at home or in the office. 

Two very useful things happen here. The writing takes my mind off the wait for the plane. Writing here makes me feel part of the world.  I guess some full time writers may welcome the change of space.          

Thursday 29 October 2015

The Stables Café at Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre

I stumbled upon this café through Streetlife. This is therefore also a good recommendation for Streetlife as a really useful piece of social media. It puts you in touch with your neighbours and stops some of the isolation. 
This café is actually a ten minute drive from where I live.
I visited on a Friday afternoon. The knitting club, Knit and Natter, was in full swing. There was much laughter, lots of cups of tea and some brightly coloured woollen items emerging.  

I paid just £2.00 for a decent mug of tea and a wonderful slice of something very chocolaty.
There is most certainly plenty of Creative Café Project activity going on here. There is art work on the walls, artisan cards for sale and news of a reading group. The owner is looking to extend activities.

It helps if you like horses as you have to walk up through the stables to get to the café. That just adds to the atmosphere as far as I’m concerned. It can be a little draughty in the café as the door opens and shuts frequently as riders wait for lessons to start or for parents to collect them. However, it’s all part of the fun.    

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Elizabeth Gaskell House

84 Plymouth Grove
M13 9LW
0161 273 2215


Creative Café Project  Activities 

Book crossing 
Book groups
Literature workshops 
Live music 
Writing group  


Sunday 23 August 2015

The Urmston Bookshop Revisited

It’s that time of year again. I need to top up my supply of “further reading” for my second year undergraduate course “Intro to Children’s Literature”. To some extent I do this as I go along and meet new books throughout the year.  Yet a visit to a bookshop gives a real sense of what’s available and what is deemed to be popular. We’re always on the lookout for the next classic.  In children’s lit the boundary between the classic and the popular is a little less well defined as in adult literature. So, it’s good to see what people are buying and what the bookshop is risking. It’s particularly good to do this at an independent bookshop. That’s where true book lovers go.
The Urmston book shop, of course also has an excellent little café, providing good tea and coffee and locally sourced cake.
So, what better way to spend an afternoon: select a few books, then select a piece of cake and a pot of tea and settle down to start reading the books. I can really recommend the carrot cake. 
The café has changed since I was last there. It has moved into the events room so is a little bigger that the two tables set up in the corridor to the room. The cake display and kitchen is still there.
There are still plenty of events and book clubs.
Really worth a visit. I’m just looking for the next excuse. I’m very tempted by a couple of the events anyway.            

Thursday 2 July 2015

The Writeblend Cafe

124 South Road
L22 0ND 

0151 924 9616

The Writeblend Cafe

Creative Cafe Project Activities  

  • author events  
  • book events 
  • story time for children  



Sunday 31 May 2015

Betty's Coffee Dalston, London

510b Kingsland Road
E8 4AE

Betty's Coffee
Creative Cafe Activities:
  • gallery space
  • live music 
  • open mic
  • vynl music
  • live music

Monday 4 May 2015

The Stables Cafe at Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre

418 Manchester Rd

07979 982467

The Stables  


Creative  Café Project Activities: 


Tuesday 7 April 2015

Applying to a café to be a writer in residence

Here is a letter to café owners / managers I have found quite effective. Do adapt as appropriate:
I would love to come and spend a day at your café as a Writer in Residence.


The Creative Café Project which includes the publication of an e-zine and anthology CafeLit-  short stories to read while you enjoy a brew. Each story is linked to a particular drink.   

The Creative Café Project is all about finding cafes like yours that support the arts and provide a space where creative practitioners and their audiences can be in touch. 

During my day I would:
·         Occupy one of your tables for most of your opening hours
·         Buy three snacks / meals
o   Breakfast / mid-morning snack
o   Lunch
o   Afternoon snack
·          Sell some of my books – they could go through your till at rrp or a little less and I can invoice you back after the visit at 35% discount. Win win? Or I can sell directly or not at all if it is awkward.  (I’ll bring postcards anyway)     
·         Sit and write
·         Offer one-to-one critique or advice about writing / publishing sessions – this will bring you some more customers as part of the deal is that writers get a free critique only if they purchase something from the café.   
·         Collect stories for a possible Horsnea anthology
·         Invite customers to write bursts of flash fiction. Leaflets on the tables will offer this to people and prompt them through the process – they can deposit their efforts with me if they are brave enough

Before the event I would:
o   Advertise via social media
o   Design leaflets that can be printed and displayed on line

After the event I would:
o   Write a review of your café.  I only ever give good reviews because if I can’t give a good review I don’t review. However, to date, I’ve never had cause not to review! 
o   Pull together stories and examples of flash fiction and see if we have enough to work on an anthology or whether we might work further on this.
o   Arrange another similar event if we felt that this one was successful       
What I need you to do:
o   Agree to me coming and allow me my table for the day
o   Consider whether you’re happy for me to sell any of my books or not
o   Let people know I’m coming
Note the Creative Café Project never charges cafés or creative practitioners for being involved and both may be as involved as much or a little as they like.    

Is this of interest to you?
I’d love to come and work with you.